Liga Portugal Bwin: Portimonense 1-1 Arouca
FA Cup: Famalicão 1-1 (3-5 after penalties) Portimonense
A combination of the woodwork and poor finishing denied Portimonense the opportunity to leapfrog Estoril into fifth place last Saturday afternoon.
Without the injured-again Nakajima, manager Paulo Sérgio’s initial game plan did not pan out allowing the visitors to dominate the opening half. Samuel did well to deny Bassio before Campi’s 20th-minute header struck the post while a corner following a Lucas Fernandes effort resulted in Aponza being equally unfortunate with the upright for Portimonense’s only real chance before the break.
Sérgio brought on Pedro Sá and Luquinha for Fernandes and Willyan, but before the new formation could take shape, Arouca took the lead through André Silva. Keeper Victor Braga held on to the advantage with a good stop from Pedrão as Sérgio introduced Anderson and Fabrício for Angulo and Aponza.
This time, the additional changes produced tangible results, Fabrício driving forward from midfield before seeing his powerful drive rebound off the post for Luquinha to slot home. It was then Samuel’s turn to secure the draw with a vital save from Bukia, although Portimonense could have stolen all three points at the death when Moufi’s first time volley was only inches wide of the target.
The Algarveans were back in action as soon as Tuesday night for their Portuguese FA Cup last 16 tie at Famalicão. A largely uneventful initial 45 minutes saw Banza and Fabrício go close at either end before a moment of individual brilliance on the stroke of half time saw Aylton Boa Morte smash the ball home from just inside the area.
Unfortunately, the hero turned villain not long after the restart, trigger-happy referee Manuel Oliveira brandishing the second of a match total of 11 yellow cards – nine for Portimonense – to the unfortunate scorer, thus reducing the visitors to 10 men.
Iranian national keeper Payam Niazmand, preferred to Samuel on this occasion, then turned into the man of the remaining hour or more, producing a string of good saves from the likes of Pepe, Marin and Bruno Rodrigues before proving powerless from preventing a powerful header from the last-mentioned nestling in the back of the net 10 minutes before the end of normal time.
With the game tied at one a piece, extra time failed to provide a winner. The subsequent penalty shoot-out then saw Luquinha, Lucas Fernandes, Carlinhos and Pedro Sá all successfully convert from the spot while dead ball specialist Payam kept out Banza and Charles Pickel’s efforts for a famous victory and Portimonense’s first quarter-final place in the competition for 20 years.
Following the Christmas weekend, Sérgio’s men return to the pitch in Lisbon next Wednesday when champions Sporting will be hard to beat ahead of the next home match with Marítimo on January 8.
By SKIP BANDELE