FA CUP THIRD ROUND: UNIÃO DE LEIRIA 1-0 PORTIMONENSE
Last Friday night, Portimonense produced their most lacklustre ‘performance’ of the season to date when merely going through the motions during a tame 1-0 third round Portuguese Cup defeat at third division Leiria.
Despite fielding a full-strength starting eleven, manager Paulo Sérgio rarely saw his lethargic if not apathetic players live up to their top tier status. A succession of first-half corners proved to be inoffensive at best, while occasional pot-shots from the likes of Beto and Anderson Oliveira were all woefully wide of the target.
Any pep-talk that may have taken place during the interval showed to have been fruitless as the well-organised host grew in confidence in the face of Algarvean incompetence. As a result, it was stand-in keeper Ricardo Ferreira who was forced to produce the save of the tie when denying Badará’s 57th-minute effort from close range, but there was nothing Portimonense’s former number one could do to stop the outstanding Rui Gomes shortly afterwards – Dener gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Iddriss to race fully 30 yards towards the opposition goal, the Ghanaian then producing the perfect pass for an easy finish. Game over.
The Cup exit at the first hurdle – first division clubs only join the knock-out competition at the third round stage – only served to compound Portimonense’s wretched start to the current season which has them anchored at the foot of the table after taking four points from seven matches so far.
The next two league games, at home against Nacional de Madeira on Sunday followed by a visit to Guimarães on December 5, should prove pivotal as to the future of Paulo Sérgio.
By SKIP BANDELE