By SKIP BANDELE
Portimonense had not beaten Vitoria Guimarães since 1989 and were looking for their first taste of victory in a competitive match since the 2-0 October success over Cifães when turning out for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at the Stadium of the Algarve.
The majority of the paltry 694 spectators in the 25,000-seater arena had cause to celebrate as early as the fifth minute when Renatinho slotted home a Nilson cross to put the home side ahead.
Portimão continued to dominate proceedings thereafter with the excellent Candeias hitting the bar but 1-0 it remained until the interval.
The second half had only just begun when João Paulo managed to beat Ventura in the Portimão goal at the second time of asking following a Bruno Teles free kick to restore parity. Undaunted, the hosts pressed forward at every opportunity with Lito and Ivanildo only being denied by the heroics of Nilson in the visitor’s goal. None the less the match appeared to be all set to go to extra time when Edgar popped up in the dying seconds to put Guimarães 2-1 up and establish the somewhat flattering final score line.
“We did everything to ensure victory but were unfortunately unable to achieve it,” Portimão manager Litos said afterwards. “It is a shame that we could not leave the pitch with what we deserved- a win.”
The uncertain future of the former Euro’2004 venue seems to have affected its current upkeep. The few spectators present reported refuse accumulating on the stands interspersed by dead birds rendering it in a sorry state.
Both in terms of support and facilities a return to Portimão appears to be imperative. Unfortunately the ongoing construction work observed at first hand in the city centre raises serious doubts as to the club’s new, old home ground’s readiness in January as promised.
Perhaps a further mandate for Fernado Rocha, in charge since 2006, at the forthcoming Presidential elections, will give the long drawn out rejuvenation process renewed impetous.
Meanwhile, Portimonense are set to welcome Leiria on Sunday at 4pm prior to their big televised match (December 5, 8.15pm on Sport TV1) the following Sunday against Sporting who will also be travelling south.