Portimonense: fight for survival

Ahead of last night’s (Wednesday) opening match of the delayed remainder of the first division fixture list between Portimonense and Gil Vicente (played after the Resident went to print), manager Paulo Sérgio shared his thoughts in the presence of the only journalist allowed at the press conference due to covid-19 restrictions.

“We want to put an end to the negative image created by our lowly position in the table,” the 52-year-old said. “This is a chance to demonstrate team spirit, show our fighting qualities, without repeating stupid mistakes, all of which are needed to gain the points required to fulfil the dream of top-level football in Portimão next season.”

The first game following a three-month stoppage against former coach Vitor Oliveira’s side at the Municipal Stadium marks the beginning of a 10-week marathon set to test the players’ fitness-levels to the limit.

By July 26, a further nine ‘mini-finals’ will have been played with results vis-a-vis Benfica (h), Santa Clara (a), Marítimo (h), Famalicão (a), Guimarães (h), Rio Ave (a), Boavista (h), Paços de Ferreira (a) and Aves (h) deciding the Algarve club’s future. At the time of writing, Portimonense were in penultimate place, six points adrift of Paços de Ferreira and three ahead of bottom side Aves.

Yesterday’s match was played behind closed doors after all players and staff had successfully passed a third covid-19 test mandatory under DSG health ministry rules. All remaining league matches, now allowing for five substitutions to each side, are shown by SportTV and are staggered over several days of the week.

By SKIP BANDELE