Portimonense overcame all the odds to qualify for the second round of the Portuguese League Cup last Sunday afternoon.
New coach João Bastos’ pre-match optimism based on the improvement his team had shown over the previous weeks proved well-founded as the Algarveans triumphed 3-2 over Freamunde in the last game of the initial group phase of the competition.
On the day of the club’s 97th anniversary Rafa opened the scoring with a powerful shot from outside the area to put the visitors ahead in the 23rd minute.
Freamunde responded well, Luciano grabbing the lead just after the interval following João Rodrigues’ first half equaliser.
Unable to find their way back into the contest, Bastos brought on Tristan Plummer and Jonas to bring about an amazing turnaround.
Suddenly the visitors were pressing forward again and Traore’s 68th minute equaliser came as no surprise.
With the match delicately balanced at 2-2, the stage was set for Plummer to grab the winner which allowed Portimão to qualify in second place and go into the hat against the likes of Olhão, Setubal and Maritimo.
The second round two-legged knock-out games involving 16 teams will be played between October 26 and November 9.
“I want to dedicate this victory to all our fans on our club’s birthday,” Bastos said afterwards.
“It was a difficult game, but the players’ determination to succeed produced the turn-around.”