Following the two-week international break, Portimonense face a Portuguese FA Cup third round away tie against Académica this Saturday evening.
The ‘Students’ were relegated from the Liga NOS at the end of last season and currently occupy 11th place in the national second division. Interestingly, the Algarveans have never won an official match in Coimbra and will hope to improve on their record of three draws and 12 defeats, eight of which ended 1-0 in Académica’s favour.
Manager António Folha should have his full squad available for selection, but will probably want to rest Bruno Tabata, Gonda and Koki Anzai who have only just returned from international duty.
The last two mentioned were involved in both Japan’s Asia World Cup 2022 Group F qualifiers resulting in 6-0 and 3-0 wins over Mongolia and Tajikistan respectively, the latter away tie having taken place as recently as last Tuesday lunchtime. Japan top the group with three wins from as many games and 11 goals scored without reply.
Meanwhile, highly-rated midfielder Tabata turned out for Brazil’s U-23s against Venezuela and Japan U-23s, a 4-1 win over the fellow South Americans being followed by a surprise 2-3 defeat in Recife on Monday night.
By SKIP BANDELE