Portimonense: down but not out


Last week’s celebrations marking Portimonense’s ‘escape’ from the two relegation places proved to be short-lived as defeat in Paços de Ferreira coupled with entirely unfavourable results elsewhere during this season’s penultimate round of matches left the Algarveans’ top division future hanging in the balance.

Belenenses guaranteed their survival with a 1-0 home win over Gil Vicente, with Tondela achieving an identical result against Braga to hand them virtual safety.

To make matters worse, Setúbal managed to gain an invaluable point following a goalless draw with Sporting in Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Those results leave the bottom of the table looking as follows ahead of Sunday’s final set of matches: Belenenses have 35 points and will stay up; Tondela have 33 points and a superior goal difference (-15) to Setúbal (-18) on 31 points and Portimonense (-17) on 30; Aves are on 17 points and already relegated.

As relative league positions unravelled earlier this week, fixtures have been rescheduled for this weekend from Friday onwards with Setúbal v Belenenses, Moreirense v Tondela and Portimonense v Aves all kicking off at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Although manager Paulo Sérgio’s men face the easiest task against the bottom club, in serious financial trouble which has already seen eight players leave, the latest constellation means that they must win while hoping that Setúbal either draw or lose against Belenenses – or Tondela suffer a heavy defeat at Moreirense.

And yet the present predicament could have been avoided had the team played with a little more composure last Monday afternoon. As it was, the usually outstanding Gonda abandoned his goalmouth for an attempted clearance as early as the eighth minute, allowing Bruno Santos to nod home for the softest of leads.

Paços de Ferreira’s Marcelo then levelled the scores by directing a Tabata cross past his own keeper, but the Portimonense defence was in trouble again shortly before the interval with Willyan’s attempted clearance falling to Denilson for what turned out to be the decisive strike.

Cool heads were needed for the second half, but numerous attempts by the likes of Jackson Martinez, Dener and Lucas Fernandes all proved hopeful at best, without seriously troubling home keeper Ricardo Ribeiro.