LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 0-0 BRAGA
SANTA CLARA 4-0 FARENSE
For the two Algarve top tier representatives from Portimão and Faro a long and often fraught 2020/21 season came down to 90 minutes of football last night (Wednesday) with starkly contrasting results.
After appearing to have secured a safe mid-table position in March, Portimonense subsequently failed to win any of their last six matches and needed at least a draw against Braga in order to avoid getting involved in the relegation quagmire.
In the event, the visitors from the north of Portugal, who had already their fourth-placed finish confirmed, proved to be passive opponents and willing participants in an uneventful game which saw neither keeper seriously troubled.
Experienced Ricardo Ferreira, in goal for the recently accident-prone Samuel, made two good catches while his opposite number, Tiago Sá, kept out a Beto shot just after the hour mark.
Meanwhile on the Azores, local rivals Farense, in desperate need of a win, hit the crossbar early on before allowing European competition bound Santa Clara at regular intervals to seal a convincing 4-0 home victory.
The two results coupled with wins for fellow strugglers Boavista and Rio Ave condemned the club from the Algarve capital to an immediate return to second division football alongside already doomed Nacional da Madeira.
Rio Ave, who finished third from bottom, go into a play-off with either Arouca, Vizela or Académica, either of which can still end the season behind already promoted Estoril.
Thus, a great virtual sigh of relief could be heard in Portimão around 10pm last night, and the Algarve can look forward to having at least one representative at the top level in Portugal next season. Força Portimonense!
By SKIP BANDELE