No pity for Portimonense

Portuguese Cup: Cova da Piedade 2-1 Portimonense

Portimonense are no longer represented in either national knock-out competition following a tame third round Portuguese FA Cup exit at Cova da Piedade last Saturday afternoon.

The second division strugglers belied their lowly position with a positive and combative display while the visitors from the Algarve, shorn of their principal creative players in Shoya Nakajima and Paulinho due to travel fatigue and injury, only managed six shots, three of those on target, all game.

Manager António Folha’s men failed to heed early warnings as Hugo Firmino and Miguel Rosa went close in the opening exchanges, and it was Firmino who subsequently latched onto a loose ball in the area to give the home side the lead in the ninth minute.

Portimonense’s best opportunity of the half came just after the half-hour mark with Dener providing a dangerous cross for Jackson Martinez, but the Columbian’s best efforts were thwarted by a double save from veteran keeper Moreira. Those misses were almost immediately punished at the other end as Rosa’s speculative ball was helped past the stranded Ricardo Ferreira by Ruben Fernandes to make it 2-0.

The visitors showed more determination after the interval, and a period of sustained pressure finally bore fruit as Dener headed home from a João Carlos overhead cross to reduce arrears.

Unfortunately, there was little to follow, a flurry of nine yellow cards – six to Cova da Piedade players – frequently interrupting the flow of the match as a still off-colour Jackson spurned several half-chances.

The defeat left Folha questioning the attitude of his team and demanding major improvements as soon as this Friday, when Portimonense open the weekend’s league programme against Nacional in Madeira. Ironically, Nacional da Madeira were the only other top tier club to be eliminated at the third round stage of the FA Cup – lost 4-3 to non-league Lusitano – and it will be interesting to see which side recovers better from the latest set-backs.