Fighting fit

Following Portimonense’s latest battling 1-1 away draw with close rivals Freamunde, manager José Augusto called his players “authentic warriors”.

The hosts took the lead from the penalty spot only nine minutes into the match but then came under increasing pressure with goalkeeper Marco excelling to keep out shots from Fabrício and Dener.

The Algarvean onslaught finally bore fruit when Fidelis buried the ball in the back of the Freamunde net to restore parity just after the half-hour mark. Unfortunately the heat of the moment got to Irhene, who was dismissed for a reckless tackle only a moment later, forcing his comrades to play out the remainder of the game with 10 men.

Freamunde’s efforts to convert their numerical superiority into goals were thwarted by great reflex save from Ricardo Ferreira shortly before the break, and Portimonense’s switch to counter attacks following the restart was almost rewarded when Ewerton hit the post in the 77th minute. There was still time for home defender Eridson to receive his marching orders before the encounter reached its satisfactory conclusion.

Next up is this Friday’s 8.30pm Portuguese Cup fourth round clash with top tier Belenenses at the municipal stadium which should provide the ideal preparation for next Saturday’s Algarve derby with visiting Olhanense.

On a more disappointing note, news from Japan indicates that on-loan star midfielder Mu Kanazaki looks increasingly unlikely to return to his home club as a string of impressive performances in the J-League this season has attracted the interest of several of the bigger European sides.