Super signings and away-day blues

Portimonense were the busiest club in Portugal last Friday amassing a total of eight on-loan transfer deadline signings including that of Colombian super star Jackson Martinez from top Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

Jackson, also known as ‘Cha Cha Cha’ for his dance-like dribbling skills, was one of the most sought-after strikers in the world as recently as three seasons ago and has been described as “an out-and-out goal scorer who can finish with both feet”. The now 31-year-old first attracted the attention of Porto who paid €8.8 million for his services in 2012 and went on to score 92 goals for the Portuguese champions during the following three seasons. He then switched to Atlético Madrid for €35 million before another €42 million at-the-time-Chinese-record move to Guangzhou in 2016. Unfortunately, Jackson injured his left ankle in October of the same year and has not played since. If fully recovered, he would represent the perfect solution to Portimonense’s well documented striking problems while rebuilding his career in the Algarve.

The other seven last-minute arrivals are all Brazilians for whom Portimonense have the option to buy after their initial one-season loan period. They are central defenders Jubal (25 years old, ex-Arouca) and Vitor Tormena (22, Gil Vicente), midfielders Lucas Fernandes (20, São Paulo) and Matheus de Jesus (21, Gamba Osaka), winger Paulo Henrique (20, São Paulo) and strikers Luís Henrique (20, Ferroviária) and João Carlos (23, Fluminense).

Manager António Folha now has the two-week international break to assess and integrate the prolific intake before the next home league match against Vitória de Guimarães on September 23.

Meanwhile, on the pitch, Portimonense suffered another somewhat unfortunate defeat on the road at Rio Ave. The Algarveans once again dominated from the start with Shoya Nakajima orchestrating proceedings before Dener headed home a Tabata cross in the 24th minute to give the visitors a deserved lead. Wellington should have extended the advantage before the interval, but his failure to do so was punished immediately after the re-start when a first-time Gabrielzinho shot gave Ricardo Ferreira no chance in the Portimonense goal.

Another Wellington miss later, referee Artur Soares Dias showed a straight red card to Lucas but converted his initial penalty decision into a direct free kick on the edge of the area after consulting the VAR video replay. Despite being down to 10 men, Portimonense were still pushing for the winner during the remaining half-hour until a second yellow card for Manafá five minutes from the end put paid to those efforts. Instead, Gelson Dala produced an inspired shot from outside the area in the sixth minute of added time to hand Rio Ave victory.

“It wasn’t easy to lose this game,” Folha said afterwards. “We were clearly the better team during the first half and should have scored more – later the two dismissals made matters more difficult, but congratulations to my team for putting up such a good fight.”


Photo: Jackson Martinez could represent the perfect solution to Portimonense’s striking problems