ALLIANZ LEAGUE CUP: PORTIMONENSE 1-1 RIO AVE
Despite fielding a full-strength side and dominating the majority of last Saturday’s home League Cup tie with Rio Ave, Portimonense only came away with a draw, which, in all probability, will require manager António Folha’s men to beat Sporting Lisbon in December’s concluding group encounter in order to reach the competition’s semi-finals.
The visitors were under pressure from the word go as Lucas Fernandes, Rômulo, Aylton Boa Morte and Bruno Tabata gave opposition keeper Paulo Vitor and his defence no end of anxious moments during the opening 30 minutes. Ironically, and completely against the run of play, Rio Ave then went ahead from their only attempt at goal of the half, when a Bruno Moreira header beat a hesitant Gonda.
However, Portimonense were level soon after the break as Mehdi Taremi turned a Henrique (on for Junior Tavares) corner into his own net. The home side continued pressing forward in search of a winner with Tabata, Anzai and the fit-again Paulinho all going close until Fernandes collected a straight red card for a professional foul on Taremi 10 minutes from the end. Rio Ave mustered two more shots on target during the remainder of the match, but it will have been Portimonense who may come to rue a missed opportunity.
The Algarveans will return to Cup action during the present international break, this time in the third round of the more prestigious FA knock-out version, away to second division Académica next Saturday, October 19. Missing for that match will be Gonda, Anzai and Tabata, who have been called up by the Japanese and Brazilian (U-23) national teams, respectively. In contrast, Boa Morte is remaining in Portugal after turning down the offer to represent São Tomé e Príncipe, while Paulinho’s recovery from injury should provide additional firing power.
By SKIP BANDELE