Portimonense enjoyed a comfortable 3-1 League Cup win over fellow top division side Chaves last Saturday afternoon to take their place in the draw for the third round group phase of the competition.
The Algarveans had already drawn level through a 16th-minute Ricardo Pessoa free kick, his 50th goal for the club, after a rash Lucas foul on Davidson in the area had handed the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot, when a straight red card for dangerous play resulted in the 19th-minute dismissal of Chaves playmaker Matheus Pereira.
The immediate decision by match official Bruno Esteves, although absolutely justified, was probably helped along by a preceding mid-week referee national council meeting which highlighted several similar such incidents which had gone unpunished during the previous weekend’s league fixtures.
In numerical superiority, Portimonense upped the pace and could have easily taken the lead before the interval but for some poor finishing. The second half introduction of new signing Nakajima, a player with similar qualities to those of the departed Kanazaki, added an extra dimension to the hosts’ attacking options and Paulinho duly rounded keeper António Felipe to make it 2-1.
Manager Vítor Oliveira’s team’s wastefulness in front of goal thereafter was almost punished when William beat Carlos, who had a rare outing in the Portimonense goal, only to be adjudged to have been off-side, before a first-time effort fully 20 metres out from Fabrício made the game safe.
Matters will not be as straight forward this Friday (September 8) when Portimonense face champions Benfica in Lisbon for a fifth match day 9pm kick-off. A doubtful starter for that league fixture is Lumor who is only due to return from international duty with Ghana in the Congo on the same day.
Lastly, Portimonense were able to add one more player to their squad before the transfer window closed last Thursday in the shape of Gustavo Hebling. The 21-year-old Brazilian defensive midfielder joined Paris Saint-Germaine from São Paulo but spent the last two seasons on loan with Zwolle in Holland.
On the same day, the Algarveans turned down last-minute offers from Nice and PSV Eindhoven for Lumor as well as repulsing attempts to secure the services of Fabrício, Tabata, Lucas and Ewerton from Braga, Guimarães, Nantes and Italian side Crotone respectively.
By SKIP BANDELE
Photo: Portimonense’s new signing Nakajima