“We didn’t have a hope,” Portimonense manager Lázaro Oliveira said after last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Moreirense. “They are a strong team and we had difficulties. A game with a deserved winner …”
Top second league marksman Pires concluded a dominant opening half-hour with his 18th goal of the season before Diogo Cunha doubled the home side’s advantage five minutes after the interval.
Any chance of a Portimonense revival quickly disappeared as Vitor Moreno received his marching orders and man-of-the-match Arsenio made it three on the afternoon.
With only seven matches remaining, Moreirense look favourites to be crowned champions in May, with Portimonense left to dispute the second automatic promotion spot with Penafiel.
The club from the Douro region currently has three more points than the Algarveans but only managed a goalless draw with Marítimo B last weekend and must face Moreirense this Sunday while Portimonense entertain lowly Braga.
The two clubs’ remaining fixtures should make for an exciting long-distance duel with Lázaro Oliveira’s men boasting the better head-to-head record in case both are level on points at the death.
Meanwhile, the Algarve’s other second league team, Farense, lost 2-0 at Oliveirense and look likely for a mid-table finish this season. SKIP BANDELE