Liga Portugal Bwin: Arouca 1-0 Portimonense
Having secured their top division status last weekend, high spirits were dampened as Portimonense lost out by the odd goal to lowly Arouca whilst still smarting from the news that the league has launched an official investigation into a possible breach of fair-play rules in the context of their recent 7-0 drubbing in Porto.
Last Saturday afternoon’s trip north saw midfield dynamo Shoya Nakajima and first choice keeper Samuel Portugal missing through illness and suspension respectively, stand-in Iranian international Payam doing well initially with several good saves from Alan Ruiz and André Silva whilst an otherwise uneventful opening half ended with Luquinha and Relvas going close at the other end for the visitors.
A brace of corners for Arouca immediately after the restart then culminated in a rasping shot from David Simão, which ended up in the back of the Portimonense net through the legs of the unfortunate Payam to give the home side the lead.
Thereafter, the keeper’s opposite number, Victor Braga, quelled all attempts at a comeback, denying Welinton Junior, Carlinhos and Fabrício in quick succession.
Before the final whistle, relegation-threatened Arouca almost made it two only to see Pité’s effort rebound off the crossbar.
Manager Paulo Sérgio, who has been very vocal in defence of his team selection against Porto, will now be very conscious of avoiding a similar debacle when Sporting Lisbon visit the Algarve this Saturday evening.
Off the pitch, Portimonense have secured their first signing for the 2022/23 season in the shape of 22-year-old Brazilian centre forward Yago Cariello from third division UD Santarém on a three-year contract.
By SKIP BANDELE