ricardo ferreira.jpg

Portimonense held

Despite a spirited performance from Leixões belying their lowly league position, Portimonense should really have returned to the Algarve with all three points in the bag last Sunday.

Both goalkeepers needed to be wide awake for the early kick-off, with Ricardo Ferreira (pictured) called into serious action on more than half-a-dozen occasions before Leixões’ Shiao Wei hit the post just before the interval, while his opposite number and namesake Ricardo Moura did particularly well to produce a fingertip-save to keep out the back-from-injury Paulinho.

Manager Vitor Oliveira’s men emerged more determined for the second half and, on any other day, first Manafa and then Pires would have buried absolute ‘sitters’ created by excellent work from Amilton – not on this Sunday as both chances went begging.

With 20 minutes remaining, Moura flew across his goalmouth, proving equal to another powerful Pires’ header, before holding a Lumor effort at the death to ensure that the match finished goalless.

The result allowed closest rivals Aves, comfortable 3-1 winners over União da Madeira on Saturday, to narrow the gap on Portimonense at the top of the table to four points – this weekend sees the Algarveans welcome third-from-bottom Freamunde to the municipal stadium (Saturday, 11.15am live on SportTV) whilst Aves travel to sixth-placed Penafiel on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, on-loan Portimonense favourite Mu Kanazaki has been living up to his J-League ‘Most Valuable Player’ accolade during the ongoing FIFA World Club Championships in Japan – the speedy winger scored the 88th-minute winner for Kashima Antlers against Auckland City before repeating the feat, again two minutes from time, in his current club’s latest success over African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

The host nation representatives went in search for more glory when contesting the prestigious competition’s first semi-final with top South American side Atletico Nacional on Wednesday.