By Skip Bandele
Portimonense’s great free-scoring pre-season run came to an end at last weekend’s AF Association Tournament in Albufeira.
Following 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Cardiff and Brighton, the ‘Alvi-negros’ thrashed Spanish third division side Ayamonte 4-0 but failed to break down last season’s Superliga draw specialists Olhão.
Manager Litos’ team, featuring recent reinforcements Calvin Kadi and André Pinto, enjoyed much the better start and should have taken the lead during the opening 20 minutes.
Accurate combinations and swift counter-attacking moves from the west Algarvians were met by resolute defending and uncompromising tackles from their neighbours. Thereafter an entertaining albeit goalless game had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out during which Olhão keeper Moretto’s experience helped in securing a 4-2 win on this occasion.
The two Algarve clubs have never met in Portugal’s top tier but will do so on September 19 when it is hoped that the Portimão ‘revolution’ will have been completed producing a different result. The team-building process continues, the above mentioned reinforcements apart, final ‘jigsaw’ pieces Sergio Junior and Carlos Valencia still have to click into place.
Experienced Brazilian forward Junior, a regular with Vitoria de Guimarães a decade ago, is expected to add more maturity to the attack while 21-year-old Colombian midfielder Valencia has gathered valuable European experience at Dijon and Rubin Kazan- both are great additions to a team expected to do more than just fight against relegation in the coming months.