LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 3-2 TONDELA
Portimonense recovered brilliantly from the earliest of setbacks to run out the deserved winners of an exciting encounter with Tondela at the municipal stadium last Sunday afternoon.
The almost 2,400 spectators reacted with stunned silence as António Xavier latched on to a Murillo through ball straight from the kick-off to put the visitors one up with only 14 seconds on the clock – the fastest goal in Portugal’s top tier history.
Strangely, the lightning strike appeared to paralyse Tondela while catapulting manager António Folha’s men into action, and it took Portimonense a mere 12 minutes to draw level.
Paulinho had only just failed to steer home a Shoya Nakajima cross when the Japan international was brought down by David Bruno on another foray into the opposition area. Referee Vitor Ferreira confirmed his penalty decision after consulting the VAR video replay and Paulinho stepped up to convert.
Allowed plenty of space, the home side were in full flow now and Jadson again had the ball in the back of the net before being ruled off side. Undeterred, the increasingly influential Ewerton set up Jackson Martinez only moments later for the Colombian to finish with aplomb for the 2-1 just before the half-hour mark.
Jackson had two more opportunities to increase the advantage, just failing to lob keeper Cláudio Ramos following another Ewerton pass and then shooting wide from a Nakajima cross.
As the half-time whistle approached, a quick Nakajima-Ewerton exchange culminated in a great Nakajima left-footed effort into the top right-hand corner of the Tondela goal to leave the score at 3-1 as fans were allowed to catch their breath.
Paulinho began the second playing period with a shot deflected onto the bar, but lack of Algarvean match fitness was beginning to tell as Tondela clawed their way back into the match. On the hour-mark, Ricardo Ferreira, in goal for the still injured Leo, pulled off a great one-handed save from a Pena free-kick, but, following three corners in succession, the keeper was powerless from stopping Tomané reducing arrears.
Despite the lack of any further goals, there was still plenty of action during the closing 30 minutes, Ramos keeping out Nakajima on two occasions, most notably when pushing the winger’s effort onto the post in the 85th, while Jadson cleared off his line at the other end.
Less pleasing was to see Jackson leave the pitch with a recurring ankle injury 20 minutes from the end, while a second yellow card brought on Tomané’s premature departure on the other side for a different reason – but the score line remained and three important points gained lifted Portimonense clear of the relegation zone ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday) difficult trip to league leaders Porto.
By SKIP BANDELE