League and Cup action

Portimonense’s opening competitive match of the 2016/17 campaign will kick off next Sunday, July 31 when Santa Clara visit the municipal stadium for the two clubs’ Taça CTT (Portuguese League Cup) first round tie.

The winners will travel to Vitória de Setúbal during the competition’s second phase in late October before last season’s top four top tier finishers – Benfica, Sporting, Porto and Braga – head up the ‘quarter-final’ group stage. In an effort to avoid past fixture congestion, the League Cup’s semi-finals and final will then all be played at Estádio do Algarve as early as January 25, 26 and 29, surely a huge incentive for Portimonense to at least equal last season’s superb League Cup run.

Meanwhile, the latest second division promotion dog fight gets underway on August 6 with Portimonense taking on Sporting B in Lisbon. The first home fixtures then follow on August 14 and 20 when Penafiel and União de Madeira respectively provide the opposition in the Algarve. Two other dates for fans’ diaries are December 21 and May 14, noteworthy for the only Algarve derbies of the season, Portimonense first playing Olhanense away before hosting their neighbours on the penultimate match day.

By pure coincidence – the games were already played or arranged prior to the release of the fixture calendar – new manager Vítor Oliveira’s charges have already faced three of their most immediate opponents this pre-season: Santa Clara were the 1-0 winners and Penafiel were beaten by the same score line during last week’s pre-season friendlies while Sporting B’s visit to Portimão on Tuesday evening resulted in a 1-0 success for the team from the capital.

Portimonense will play their last warm-up match against visiting Sheffield Wednesday, managed in the English Championship by Portuguese coach Carlos Carvalhal, this coming Monday, with kick-off due at 6pm.