LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 0-3 PORTO
Portimonense failed to make it a hat-trick of home upsets against the ‘big three’ – 4-2 and 2-0 successes against Sporting Lisbon and Benfica respectively earlier in the season – as Porto cruised to a comfortable win at the Portimão Municipal Stadium last Saturday evening.
The ‘Dragons’, featuring Portimonense ‘old boy’ Manafá on the wing, had an early penalty claim turned down by referee Fábio Veríssimo after a VAR review, but did not take long to establish a 15th-minute lead with Brahimi finding the back of the net from a Marega cross.
To their credit, manager António Folha’s men did not fold in the face of that setback, Lucas Fernandes, Aylton Boa Morte and Tabata all making sure that Spanish international keeper Casillas was kept on his toes until the interval.
At the restart, Ricardo Ferreira did well to keep out a Marega shot at the other end before Porto survived a spell of sustained home pressure in their own area. But Portimonense’s failure to score from half-chances was soon punished as Marega refused to be denied again following good work from Alex Telles.
Substitute Ruster came close to pulling a goal back with a rasping shot over the bar, but it was the irresistible Marega who ran through on target once more only to see his effort ruled off side. With injury time ticking away, Ricardo Ferreira could then only block a Militão header, allowing Herrera to follow up for a somewhat flattering 3-0 final score line.
Although on the face of it another blow to the Algarveans’ top division survival chances, no real damage was done as closest rivals outside the relegation zone Aves, Tondela and Vitória de Setúbal are also losing, the last-mentioned providing the opposition this Friday afternoon.
Unfortunately, Dener, Lucas Fernandes and Aylton Boa Morte will not be making the trip north after accumulating five bookings, but Paulinho should be back in the starting 11 having sat out his suspension against Porto.
By SKIP BANDELE