Dominant Portimonense suffer loss of concentration


For more than an hour Portimonense gave Benfica plenty to think about as almost 61,000 spectators grew increasingly restless at Estádio da Luz – only to be undone by a handful of schoolboy defensive errors during the final phase of the encounter.

It is hard to judge what difference the presence of absent main striker Jackson Martínez would have made, but suffice it to say that last Saturday’s score line at the half-way stage could very well have had a different look to it had the Columbian international made the trip to the capital.

In the event the match remained goalless following 45 minutes of Algarvean dominance during which Dener missed two ‘sitters’ early on, Lucas Fernandes fired over and keeper Odysseas was fortunate to get a foot to a Tabata shot across the goalmouth.

Portimonense continued where they left off after the restart, Pedro Sá going close from a Paulinho free kick before a great interchange of passes between Henrique and Tabata saw the latter bury his shot to silence the packed ground.

Unfortunately the more than deserved lead appeared to stun manager António Folha’s men while galvanising the up to then headless title favourites, a static defence twice allowing Rafa to waltz through on goal in quick succession to turn the game on its head.

And the apparent paralysis did not end there, with Swiss hotshot Seferovic finding himself unmarked in the 84th and 88th minutes to put the result beyond Portimonense’s reach. Adding insult to injury, Jonas still found time to head home from the edge of the area for the fifth as the final whistle beckoned, leaving Benfica to run out the convincing winners.

The disappointment felt at the loss was subsequently tempered as results elsewhere ensured that Portimonense will continue to play in Portugal’s top division next season – a draw and a loss for Chaves and Tondela respectively, coupled with the fact that the two sides still have to play each other on the last day of the current campaign, signify that one or the other together with Nacional and Feirense are unable to overhaul Portimonense’s 36-point total. Hopefully proper celebrations will follow at this Saturday’s last home match, when out-of- sorts Marítimo are the visitors at the Municipal Stadium.

In the second division Farense drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Arouca and share the third relegation place with those opponents as well as Varzim ahead of Sunday’s trip to Mafra.

By Skip Bandele