LIGA NOS: TONDELA 1-2 PORTIMONENSE
The closing game of last weekend’s league fixtures saw Portimonense maintain their unbeaten start to the new season – their second-best ever in the top tier – with a convincing away win at Tondela on Monday evening.
Manager António Folha introduced recently-arrived midfielder Cevallos in place of the injured Paulinho, but otherwise stuck to his starting eleven from the previous home draw with Belenenses – back-in-training striker Jackson Martinez was sitting out a suspension while José Gomes and Luquinha, impressive during pre-season, were deemed not ready.
The match began with Tondela, generally lacking a game plan, creating some early pressure before the visitors from the Algarve took control of proceedings.
First warning was served in the 20th minute when home keeper Claudio Ramos was sent scrambling to just keep out a deflected Henrique free kick and was then sent racing off his line for a headed clearance from a Tabata cross outside his area. But there was little the Tondela captain could do to stop Aylton Boa Morte from burying his shot following an excellent Romulo pass shortly afterwards.
Portimonense then doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time with Aylton turning provider as Iury Castilho chested down his perfectly weighted cross and dispatching the ball in the bottom right-hand corner.
Last season the Algarveans also led 2-0 here at the interval but went on to lose 3-2 – the present team was not going to let that happen again. Although Tondela tried to get back into the match after the interval with some good work from Pite, Jonathan and Richard, the visitors’ defence stood firm and first Castilho and then Jadson could easily have killed the game off.
There were a couple of late scares, however, Ricardo Ferreira doing well to parry a Xavier pile-driver and the ever more influential Anzai clearing with Ricardo beaten, but when Tondela did finally get the ball in the back of the net with Richard allowed to pick his spot from just inside the area not long before the final whistle, Portimonense ‘shut up shop’ to see the result home.
António Folha will be hoping to build on this performance with a full squad available for selection for this Sunday evening’s reception of Sporting Lisbon. In addition to the previously mentioned players not seen in action against Tondela, the future of important midfielder Lucas Fernandes has finally been resolved – the 21-year-old Brazilian U-23 international has signed a four-year contract after Portimonense secured 50% of his transfer rights for €2.2 million from São Paulo.
Photo: Midfielder José Cevallos
By SKIP BANDELE