Portimonense celebrations on hold

A full house saw Portimonense draw their top-of-the-table clash with Chaves 1-1 last Sunday morning.

The point was enough for the visitors to secure top division status next season but manager José Augusto, back on the bench following a 57-day ban, will have mixed feelings about the weekend’s events should his team miss out on promotion come Saturday afternoon.

First of all to the match played at 11.15am to suit television. A nervous start developed into a very physical contest with very few real scoring opportunities at either end until the unfortunate Mamadu headed a Perdigão cross past his own keeper to hand Chaves the lead just before the interval.

Undeterred by the setback, Portimonense came out fighting for the second period of play and were duly rewarded when Ricardo Pessoa equalised from the spot after 65 minutes. Thereafter, Chaves closed ranks determined to hold on to the draw but were only able to avoid defeat thanks to a combination of the superb reflexes of their goalkeeper and the referee’s leniency.

In the 79th minute, Mamadu unleashed a powerful first-time drive destined for the top left-hand corner of the Chaves goal until António Filipe somehow managed to fly across his goalmouth and tip the ball over the bar. Shortly afterwards, Luís Silva went unpunished when wrestled the always dangerous-looking Jadson to the ground in the area and the 1-1 scoreline stood.

Later that day, immediate promotion rivals Feirense, in need of a win to stay in contention, kicked off against Gil Vicente and almost immediately fell behind to a Simy strike. That lead was cancelled out when referee Rui Oliveira awarded a penalty after 20 minutes, but Gil Vicente were back in front just after the interval. With time running out and Portimonense’s promotion almost assured, Mr Oliveira sent off Gil Vicente’s Fatai, and Feirense’s Kizito made it 2-2 in the first minute of injury time.

A further four minutes later, Mr Oliveira sent off both Gil Vicente’s Renan and Goba, reducing the visitors to eight men. And play went on until Kukula scored a 99th-minute winner and Mr Oliveira finally blew the whistle.

That result leaves Portimonense’s chances on Saturday afternoon very much hanging in the balance with the final outcome beyond their control. The Algarveans have the same number of points as Feirense and play Varzim away while their rivals travel to Chaves. They must achieve a better result – win, draw or lose – to succeed because Feirense have the better head-to-head record this season. Força Portimonense!


Photo: Chaves’ João Mário (left) fights for the ball with Portimonense’s Ricardo Pessoa in Sunday’s match in Portimão