Liga Bwin: Portimonense 2-1 Santa Clara
Portimonense added to their best away start to a top tier league season by finally recording a first home win of the 2021/22 campaign.
The frustrating lack of finishing since Beto’s departure was rectified, at least during the opening 45 minutes, by the Lucas Fernandes-Aponza ‘show’, the Brazilian-Colombian duo combining well to convert Portimonense’s only two shots on goal of the half.
Not long after the match got under way, Lucas squared a Carlinhos long ball forward for Aponza to crash past Santa Clara keeper Marco from distance. The roles were reversed as the interval approached, Lucas finding the back of the net after some neat interplay with his Colombian partner.
In between the two strikes, the visitors from the Azores had briefly restored parity when the otherwise excellent Samuel proved powerless from preventing a Rui Costa follow-up when Ricardinho’s initial effort rebounded off the post.
Manager Paulo Sérgio bolstered the midfield ahead of the restart, and Portimonense’s game gained more composure as Angulo and Fali Cande came close to increasing the advantage before Anderson managed to miss the goal from close range, hitting the side netting instead.
Marco then produced a great double save from Aponza and Moufi, giving Bouldini the opportunity to almost snatch a hitherto unlikely-looking point in time added on, the Moroccan Santa Clara forward forcing Samuel to produce the save of the match when through on goal.
The victory sees Portimonense in sixth place in the table, only one point behind Sporting Braga, a lofty position which can still be improved upon this Sunday evening when newly promoted Vizela visit the Municipal Stadium.
Meanwhile, both Fabrício and Nakajima are continuing their recovery from injury, and it is hoped that the two star players can reach full match fitness by the time Paulo Sérgio’s men take on Benfica in Lisbon on October 3.
By SKIP BANDELE