Chaves 2-1 Portimonense
Portimonense lost out by the odd goal in an open encounter last Sunday afternoon which could have easily ended up much more high-scoring but for excellent performances from both keepers.
The visitors from the Algarve got off to the better start with four shots at goal during the opening quarter-of-an-hour before Chaves began to assert themselves. From that point onward, stand-in keeper Leo, giving his league debut in place of the injured Ricardo Ferreira, had his hands full and pulled off a string of top saves including two in quick succession from Djavan and Bressan before the interval.
Chances continued to go begging at either end following the restart until Pedro Tiba finally broke the deadlock with a fine solo effort from the edge of the area just after the hour mark. Ruben Fernandes could have levelled the score five minutes later, but his header only struck the crossbar, and instead it was Tiba again who made it 2-0 with a shot which went in off the inside post.
As the momentum swung, Leo returned to centre stage, the 25-year-old Brazilian denying Chaves on three separate occasions allowing a Fabrício header from a Rafa Soares free kick to narrow what would otherwise have been a much bigger gap.
However, with the score still only 2-1, Portimonense found themselves fighting for a previously unlikely-looking draw during the final 15 minutes and Galeno was most unfortunate to see his strike diverted by António Filipe in the Chaves goal. Approaching the final whistle, Pires just failed to connect with a cross when in a scoring position and Portimonense’s last opportunity to get something from this match had passed.
Manager Vítor Oliveira, who received a standing ovation from the home crowd having enjoyed a successful season with Chaves in 2015/16, did not see his side at their best, commenting that “the contest had been a very open one with the majority of chances having gone to the home team”.
Despite the 14th defeat of the current playing period, Portimonense are still virtually assured safety, eight points clear of a relegation place with only three games remaining. The first of these brings Sporting Lisbon to the municipal stadium this Saturday evening with away and home encounters with Belenenses and Paços de Ferreira respectively to come.
Off the pitch, long-serving club President Fernando Rocha was re-elected by an increased majority for another three-year term.
By SKIP BANDELE