LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 1-1 SPORTING BRAGA
Having already beaten both Benfica and Sporting at the municipal stadium, Portimonense came close to adding a further ‘big four’ scalp to this season’s tally last Thursday evening before accepting a share of the points with at that time second-placed Sporting Braga.
The visitors were subjected to a rude awakening as Wellington slotted home a third-minute Dener cross at the near post for an opening strike which left Braga keeper Tiago Sá looking anything but competent. The remainder of the first playing period produced a series of half-chances with Braga midfielder Paulinho coming closest when put through on goal before being thwarted by a good save from Ricardo Ferreira.
The same keeper made his only mistake of the match immediately after the re-start, however, coming off his line to meet a corner only to leave Dyego Sousa with a simple header into an open goal.
To their credit, both teams went in search of a winner thereafter, referee Fábio Veríssimo turning down strong Portimonense penalty appeals before ruling out a Sousa second for off side.
At the death, manager António Folha’s men were somewhat fortunate to survive a goalmouth scramble, but the draw was a fair result as the final whistle was blown.
At the half-way stage of the season, Portimonense have gathered a respectable 24 points from 17 matches and next travel to Boavista on Sunday afternoon.
One player unlikely to feature in that encounter is Ewerton – the 26-year-old Brazilian, who signed for Porto in summer before being loaned back to Portimonense, is on his way to re-join former team mates Maurício and Fabrício at J-League side Urawa Reds in another loan move. His place in midfield is likely to be taken by ex-Portimonense player Mu Kanazaki who is currently negotiating a return from Japan’s Sagan Tosu.
Meanwhile, Shoya Nakajima is continuing to receive treatment for his injury in the Algarve and Bruno Tabata, who has attracted several suitors, signed a new contract valid until 2023 with a hopefully prohibitive €40 million release clause.
By SKIP BANDELE