Portimonense

Portimonense: Damage limitation

LIGA BWIN: BENFICA 1-0 PORTIMONENSE

Portimonense acquitted themselves relatively well without ever looking likely to repeat last season’s shock win at the Stadium of Light against runaway league leaders Benfica last Friday evening.

Despite the flattering score line, the hosts accumulated 27 shots on goal and 12 corners as opposed to Portimonense’s inoffensive singular effort and two corners.

The ‘bombardment’ began early with man-of-the-match keeper Kosuke Nakamura forced into a seventh-minute foul on World Cup hattrick hero Gonçalo Ramos, João Mário confidently converting the resulting spot-kick for the lead.

Not long after the visitors conceded another penalty, Klismahn bringing down Bah, but this time Nakamura was able to block Norwegian newcomer Aursnes’ well-struck attempt.

António Silva then headed against the crossbar before Nakamura again did well to keep João Mário out. As the interval approached, referee Vítor Ferreira incredibly pointed to the penalty spot for a third time only to see his decision overturned by a VAR review.

Nakamura’s heroics continued following the restart with a string of good saves, denying Ramos on three occasions as well as nullifying clear-cut chances from Silva and Chiquinho whilst manager Paulo Sérgio’s men could muster very little at the other end.

The defeat sees the Algarveans slip to 11th place in the table on 19 points ahead of this Friday’s visit from fourth-from-bottom Santa Clara – 8.15pm kick-off.

Meanwhile, new Brazilian signings Matheus Nogueira, a 25-year-old ex-Grêmio goalkeeper, and 23-year-old ex-Santos central defender Wagner Leonardo have arrived in Portimão ahead of hopefully further January transfer window reinforcements.

By SKIP BANDELE