LIGA BWIN: PORTO 1-0 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense and Porto have enjoyed a close working relationship for several decades now and Sunday night’s annual ‘reunion’ in the Dragon’s lair saw a first start since serious injury in December 2021 for ex-Portimonense playmaker Wilson Manafá as well as a first-time place on the bench for former first choice Algarvean goalkeeper Samuel Portugal with further hugs exchanged between Porto manager Conceição’s sons Sérgio and Rodrigo, unused substitutes for either side.
Once the action switched to the pitch, the hosts imposed their by-now-customary superiority with 16 shots at goal and 10 corners, as opposed to Portimonense’s three attempts in each category, but failed to overrun their plucky visitors on this occasion.
In fact, manager Paulo Sérgio’s men could have taken an early lead but for Filipe Relvas failing to connect with a promising third-minute Moustapha Seck free kick at the far post.
Keeper Kosuke Nakamura, statistically the most prolific shot-stopper in the top division, then kept the Algarveans in the match until ‘that man’ Manafá set up Wendell to provide the cross which allowed Fábio Cardoso to head home from close range on the half-hour mark.
Welinton Júnior almost restored parity by return, but his shot from a tight angle having rounded keeper Ramos ended up in the side netting.
Porto thought they had doubled their lead not long after the restart when Galeno had the ball in the back of the net – however, the effort was ruled out by VAR for a preceding foul.
Portimonense were then reduced to 10 men for the remaining 20 minutes when Lucas Ventura was shown a second yellow card, yet still mustered a last attempt to take something from the encounter with a Moufi header which narrowly missed the target.
The latest setback sees Portimonense remain in 14th place, seven, nine and eleven points ahead of the relegation-threatened Marítimo, Paços Ferreira and Santa Clara, respectively, with ninth-placed Rio Ave next up at the Municipal Stadium on Saturday at 6pm.
By SKIP BANDELE