Last Monday closing league fixture between bottom-of-the-table Estoril and visiting Portimonense turned out to be a dour goalless stalemate attended by a top division seasonal record low of 942 spectators on a freezing night.
Manager Vítor Oliveira was hard-pushed to take positives from the Algarveans’ “worst away game so far”, although the 64-year-old stressed the importance for a newly-promoted team to extend its current unbeaten run to six matches while keeping a second successive clean sheet.
On the pitch, Estoril threatened during the opening 20 minutes but a lack of confidence stemming from having gone six previous games without scoring told as several good chances to take the lead went begging.
Portimonense finally shook off some of their lethargy just before the half-hour mark with Shoya Nakajima testing Moreira in the Estoril goal. The Japanese forward saw two further attempts either side of a good André Claro chance at the other end go narrowly wide as half-time was reached.
Portimonense returned with more determination and the second half was only 10 minutes old when Wellington hit the side netting. The same Brazilian was then involved in the only talking point of the match as he finished off a great move involving several Portimonense players.
However, the ‘goal’ was only allowed to stand for a minute or so before referee Bruno Paixão returned from watching the video replay and decided to rule it out for what appeared to be a passive off-side position from defender Ruben Fernandes.
The closing 30 minutes proved largely uneventful other than a goal-bound Andrade effort from the home side being deflected wide and unsuccessful penalty appeals for hand ball at the death from Portimonense players preceded the final whistle.
“We were on top until the questionable decision to disallow our goal,” Oliveira commented, “but after that we couldn’t string three passes together”.
Hopefully, Portimonense will return to winning ways this Sunday afternoon when Chaves, one point behind the Algarveans in 11th place in the league table, come to visit the municipal stadium for a 4pm kick-off.
By SKIP BANDELE
Photo by: OCTÁVIO PASSOS/LUSA