LIGA NOS: BENFICA 4-0 PORTIMONENSE
PORTIMONENSE 1-1 SANTA CLARA
One point from two matches did little to alleviate Portimonense’s current predicament, the club’s second worst start to a top division season seeing manager António Folha’s team threatening to get involved in a very early relegation dog-fight with fellow strugglers Paços de Ferreira and Aves.
Last Wednesday’s outing against Benfica was always going to be difficult and so it proved. Following André Almeida’s first-half opener, the Algarveans’ defence appeared to melt away, Ruben Dias and Carlos Vinicius (2) scoring almost at will to wrap up a comprehensive 4-0 victory.
Four days later, back on home turf against less illustrious opposition in the shape of Santa Clara, better things were expected. The Monday night crowd of 2,266 must have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief as Portimonense completely dominated proceedings for the best part of an hour.
Jackson Martinez served early warning with a third-minute shot which had Santa Clara keeper Marco Pereira at full stretch before Tabata narrowly failed to connect with an Aylton Boa Morte cross at the far post.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the hosts finally took the lead, Jadson pouncing on a Tabata free kick headed on by a resurgent Hackman. The Ghanaian, who had been told to find another club earlier this season, almost made it two before the half-hour mark, but couldn’t get his shot away from point blank range.
Boa Morte and Jackson both went close again while a Tabata pile driver was deflected just wide as Portimonense went into the break well on top.
There was no let-up after the restart until a double substitution from the Azoreans changed the complexion of the game, the home side coming under increasing pressure during the remaining half an hour.
Lincoln, having just come on, suddenly caused all sorts of problems as António Folha’s men struggled to adapt to the opposition’s revised formation. The 20-year-old Brazilian tested Ricardo Ferreira in the Portimonense goal straight away, the keeper then doing well to keep out Zé Manuel before Lucas Possignolo managed to block Thiago Santana’s follow-up.
Two Santa Clara corners, a Ricardo save, and a timely Jadson clearance later, Portimonense thought they had drawn a ‘get out of jail’ card, only for referee Manuel Oliveira to reverse his penalty decision for a preceding foul after consulting VAR.
Seven minutes of time added on brought about a dramatic climax to the turbulent encounter, Lincoln and fellow substitute Carlos Junior both hitting the bar before a Santa Clara goal was ruled out for off-side.
The final act then saw the visitors’ onslaught finally pay off, unfortunate Portimonense defender Rodrigo Freitas deflecting a hopeful Lincoln shot past his own keeper with the last touch of the match.
Afterwards, António Folha said he had seen the best first half of the season from his side, but suggested that a discussion of his future with the board of directors was on the cards. That future may be decided as soon as this Sunday when Marítimo, currently three points above Portimonense in 15th place, provide the opposition in Madeira.
By SKIP BANDELE