Portimonense came back strongly after conceding an early penalty to beat Sporting B in Lisbon much more comfortably than the 2-1 final score line might suggest.
Bilel’s 17th-minute spot kick following a Sarpong foul turned out to be the only time Portimonense keeper Ricardo Ferreira was asked a serious question during the entire game, something that cannot be said about his opposite number Pedro Silva.
The man between the Sporting posts had his hands full and earned top marks for making at least half a dozen outstanding saves – but even his heroics could not prevent Pires finding the back of the net on two occasions during the second half to seal a more-than-deserved Algarvean victory in the opening league match of the season.
On this evidence, manager Vitor Oliveira has done a great job of putting together a well-oiled team capable of mounting a serious promotion challenge. One of eight clubs on maximum points, Portimonense now have two home matches on successive weekends, the first of which sees them welcome Penafiel – 1-0 winners over Sporting Covilhã – this Sunday afternoon.
União da Madeira are then the next visitors to the Algarve before a mid-week trip to Coimbra and recently relegated Académica is on the agenda.