LIGA BWIN: PORTIMONENSE 0-1 SPORTING LISBON
The meagre score line did not reflect the action on the pitch as Portimonense displayed a remarkable lack of ambition, managing only six shots at goal without seriously troubling keeper Adán as opposed to the visitors’ 21 often dangerous efforts.
Manager Paulo Sérgio’s defence found itself all at sea following a 17th-minute Sporting corner and were finally able to clear the ball before Maurício mustered the only scoring attempt of the half at the other end by means of a free kick.
Thereafter, it was all one-way traffic, culminating in a VAR-assisted penalty award for an Ouattara foul on Nuno Santos just before the interval, which Pedro “Pote” Gonçalves blasted over the crossbar.
The pressure on the Algarveans intensified immediately following the restart, an attempted Park interception coming back off his own woodwork as Nakamura excelled in keeping out Esgaio and “Pote” twice more, who, in addition, smacked another shot against the upright.
Inevitably, something had to give, and it was substitute Paulinho who finally broke Portimonense’s resistance three minutes after coming on when latching on to a great “Pote” through ball. Yony and Rui Gomes almost snatched a draw at the death, but Adán dealt with both efforts comfortably.
Fortunately, all five teams below Portimonense in the league table, Chaves, Estoril, Marítimo, Santa Clara and Paços Ferreira, also lost maintaining the 10-point cushion to the relegation places with most immediate rivals Chaves – both clubs have 26 points – providing the away opposition this Saturday afternoon.
By SKIP BANDELE