Portimonense: head over heels!


Last Saturday afternoon, Portimonense gained three valuable points – and some breathing room in the Liga NOS fight for survival – with a dominant victory over Tondela ahead of this weekend’s trip to the Azores where eighth-placed Santa Clara will provide the opposition.

Norberto Bercique Gomes Betoncal – otherwise known as ‘Beto’ – stood out in what was probably the best first-half performance of the current campaign for the Algarveans.

The 23-year-old, who was scouted after scoring 21 goals in 36 games for third division Olímpico Montijo during the 2018/19 season, proved a constant threat, testing Pedro Trigueira on no less than four occasions early on, before beating the Tondela keeper with a sublime ‘goal-of-the-season’ contender 14th-minute overhead bicycle-kick.

Manager Paulo Sérgio’s men were again queuing up on the edge of the area just after the half-hour mark, Aylton Boa Morte finally putting the ball away to make it 2-0 and double the advantage before the interval.

Meanwhile, Samuel quelled all attempts at the other end by the visitors to gain a foothold in the encounter with some excellent goalkeeping, allowing that man Beto to kill off the match with another good finish following more good work from the always equally impressive Anderson Oliveira.

The win takes Portimonense into 11th place on 23 points, one ahead of Belenenses and two clear of Nacional and Boavista, both on 21. That grouping is followed by Farense, Gil Vicente and Famalicão, all on 19 points, with Marítimo still trailing the field on 18.

Off the pitch, Portimonense have been joined by Congolese ex-Porto and Stoke City €20-million-club-record-signing Giannelli Imbula. The once highly rated, now 28-year-old defensive midfielder, a free agent since leaving Russian side Sochi last year, will, however, not be eligible to play until next season as all out-of-contract new arrivals have had to be registered with the Portuguese league by the end of February.

Imbula could be joined for the 2021/22 campaign by January signing Keisuke Honda, also not on the books on time, who has failed to find another club and remains in the Algarve since rescinding his short-lived contract.

In other news, Portimonense’s long-standing dealings with FC Porto, more often than not a puzzle to independent observers and fans alike, are being investigated for financial irregularities by authorities.