Manager Vitor Oliveira’s decision to rest his first choice team during the most recent Portuguese Cup defeat and concentrate on promotion this season was more than vindicated as Portimonense took maximum points from their two league matches against Porto B and Famalicão last week.
On Wednesday evening, the Algarveans delivered one of their best performances to date in humbling reigning second division champions Porto B 3-0 in front of their own fans.
After weathering an early storm from the visitors, Portimonense quickly took control of the game with Amilton, Tabata and Ewerton, on his 100th appearance for the club, combining well to threaten the Porto goal.
That pressure finally paid off shortly before the interval when Porto’s Mexican 1.5 million Dollar youth international keeper Gudino could only parry a powerful Lumor shot. Amilton crossed the loose ball back into the area and the in-form Pires headed home to make it 1-0.
After the re-start, the excellent Paulinho (pictured) gave immediate notice that there was more to come from Oliveira’s side when crashing his free kick against the cross bar. Six minutes into the second half, Gudino attempted to thwart another Portimonense attack but only succeeded in bringing down Ewerton – Captain Ricardo Pessoa stepped up and converted the resulting penalty to double the score.
The home side remained very much in the ascendancy thereafter and, although Gudino more than redeemed himself on several occasions with outstanding saves from Ewerton and Paulinho in particular, the young Mexican was ultimately powerless from stopping late substitute Stanley adding a third just before the final whistle.
Sunday’s road trip to Famalicão, although equally gainful, proved to be somewhat more combative. The first half, featuring plenty of chances at either end, culminated in a 39th-minute Paulinho corner which Pires nodded home for his 10th of the season after Jadson’s initial header had rebounded off the post.
Half time and two tactical home side substitutions were followed by four goals in a fast and furious quarter of an hour. First Daniel equalised for Famalicão before Portimonense went ahead again in a role reversal of the opening strike: this time Pires headed against the post and Jadson followed up.
Five minutes later and Daniel restored parity with his second of the afternoon, but Portimonense were not to be denied as Paulinho struck the ball sweetly to make it 3-2.
That final score line was threatened throughout the final half hour but the Algarveans, aided by the woodwork, some good work from keeper Ricardo Ferreira and a glaring Medeiros miss at the death, clung on for a precious win.
The six points, and rivals Santa Clara’s first defeat of the season at the hands of Benfica B, leave Portimonense four points clear at the head of the table going into the international fortnight. When league action returns on Wednesday, October 19 it will be Benfica who visit the Algarve before the weekend’s away game at Varzim.
By SKIP BANDELE