LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 1-2 BOAVISTA
Portimonense allowed three important points to go begging against then bottom club Boavista last Saturday night.
The home side began well, controlling the encounter without creating any real danger, until a moment of magic in the 37th minute when Ewerton’s first-time volley on the edge of the area from a Fabrício long ball easily beat Leo Jardim in the Boavista goal. Unfortunately, manager Paulo Sérgio’s men were unable to build on that lead, stand-in keeper Ricardo Ferreira failing to hold on to a stinging Nuno Santos shot to allow Elis to slot home the equaliser just before the interval.
Redeeming himself, Ferreira produced a spectacular save from Angel Gomes after the restart, but his teammates managed little of a similar nature, bar a Bruno Moreira effort which was cleared off the line, during the ensuing 45 minutes. Instead, Boavista’s Gomes hit the crossbar shortly after that incident, Paulinho converting the rebound.
Sérgio introduced five substitutes in quick succession without managing to change the course of the game during the remaining 20 minutes, and the visitors comfortably saw out their first away win of the present campaign.
The loss leaves Portimonense, who must travel to third-placed Braga on Thursday, on 15 points along with Rio Ave and Belenenses, one ahead of Famalicão and Boavista, with Gil Vicente and Farense, who have played a game less, bringing up the rear.
Given their largely disappointing form so far this season, Portimonense have been forced to look further afield for improvement, and transactions concluded prior to last Monday’s 11pm closure of the January transfer window promise some hope.
Very experienced 34-year-old playmaker Keisuke Honda, veteran of three World Cup finals and capped by Japan on 98 occasions during his time with the likes of CSKA Moscow, AC Milan and most recently Botafogo, finally put pen to paper and should prove a valuable addition.
He has been joined in the Algarve by 23-year-old South Korean international winger Lee Seung-Woo from Belgian side Sint-Truiden, as well as French Vitória de Guimarães loan offering, central midfielder Denis-Will Poha, also 23.
In addition, Portimonense have turned down two offers, the latest topping €3.5 million, from Dubai’s Al Nasr for current captain Dener, but predecessor in that role, Jadson, who only just cut short his loan spell in Brazil with Vasco da Gama, has left again, this time for Wuhan Three Towns, who will have to pay €5 million should the defender make sufficient appearances or the club achieves promotion to China’s top tier.
By SKIP BANDELE