Portimonense – Happy end to video game


Portimonense celebrated their already guaranteed continued top division status with a hard-fought win over equally safe Marítimo at the Municipal Stadium last Saturday afternoon.

This season’s last home match played in front of almost 3,000 fans basking in summer-like temperatures began in a rather tepid manner, typical of an encounter between two teams with nothing to lose, but soon heated up with no little help from particularly indecisive referee Cláudio Pereira.

The visitors from Madeira took the lead in the 26th minute when unmarked Joel Tagueu headed home from a corner kick, but Portimonense were level even before the half-hour was up. Henrique followed up on a Tormena effort only to see his strike initially ruled offside. Lengthy VAR (Video Assistant Referee) consultation later, Mr Pereira reversed his decision, ruling Jackson Martinez to have taken no active part in the build-up and allowed the goal to stand.

The replay facility was back in action soon after, the referee having awarded a penalty to Marítimo despite his linesman’s off-side flag. This time he stuck to his original decision, Tagueu converting from the spot to put the islanders 2-1 up.

VAR made its third appearance of the afternoon just before half-time, annulling Zainadine’s shot which would have left manager António Folha’s men with a mountain to climb.

As it was, Folha ‘hooked’ Paulinho in favour of Dener and brought Aylton Boa Morte for Henrique during the interval, the substitutions changing the complexion of the match during the second playing period.

Suddenly, Portimonense were in the ascendancy, Jackson flashing the ball across the Marítimo goal on two occasions before Dener rose to head the equaliser from a Tabata free kick. The scorer almost turned provider minutes later, Aylton just failing to convert a cross at the far post before Jackson and then Lucas Fernandes wasted good opportunities to grab the winner.

Perhaps feeling left out, the referee rejoined the action in the 77th minute, handing Portimonense a penalty before changing his VAR-assisted mind.

Undeterred, Folha’s men continued in search of all three points, Pedro Sá forcing a big save from Charles before the keeper proved helpless preventing a diving Jackson header from entering the back of the net to spark home celebrations.

Portimonense now have 39 points in 11th place with a relatively meaningless away trip to assured fourth-placed Braga on Sunday remaining.

Feirense and Nacional da Madeira have been relegated with the losers from the Tondela v Chaves fixture set to join them, while a home draw with Santa Clara will be enough for Benfica to pip Porto for the championship at the top end of the table regardless of the result between the title holders and third-placed Sporting Lisbon.

In the second division, Farense achieved a priceless 1-0 win at Mafra and are now in pole position to survive the five-club scramble to avoid the third relegation place.