Portimonense – Big in Japan

On-loan Portimonense midfielder Fabrício (pictured) scored both goals during Kashima Antlers’ latest 2-1 Emperor Cup win over Vissel Kobe. The Japanese outfit, who are now in the quarter-finals of the knock-out competition, also feature fellow still ‘Algarvean’ Mu Kanazaki – 10 goals in 30 matches – but threw their title chances away with a four-game end-of-season losing streak finishing in third.

Back at home, manager Vítor Oliveira could well do with the two émigrés following a spate of injuries ahead of this Sunday’s home encounter with Sporting Braga B. The midfield looks likely to be bereft of regular starters with Marcel and Ewerton suffering recurring problems and joining the still recovering Gustavo and Dener on the sick list whilst increasingly influential Pedro Sá is sitting out a ban. That leaves the somewhat volatile Fidelis Irhene with a mere 70 minutes of first team football under his belt to lead the creative sector alongside Theo Ryuki and Paulinho.

Also lacking full fitness is Captain Ricardo Pessoa whose place should be retained by the improving Arrondel. It is hoped that Oliveira can field a more comprehensive squad for his starting 11 next Sunday when Portimonense travel to Aves for the televised 11.15am kick-off top-of-the-table clash with their closest pursuers.