Marítimo player Beltrame (centre) vies for the ball with Portimonense players Pedrão (right) and Pedro Sá last Saturday, August 27 at Estádio do Marítimo, Funchal
Marítimo player Beltrame (centre) vies for the ball with Portimonense players Pedrão (right) and Pedro Sá last Saturday, August 27 at Estádio do Marítimo, Funchal Photo: HOMEM DE GOUVEIA/LUSA

Portimonense: lofty heights

LIGA PORTUGAL BWIN: MARÍTIMO 0-1 PORTIMONENSE

Portimonense are currently sitting one point behind surprise league leaders Braga in the table following a third consecutive victory on Madeira last Saturday afternoon.

The match, which marked Willyan’s last appearance for the Algarveans before leaving for CSKA Moscow, began well for the visitors who had the ball in the back of the Marítimo net after a dominant opening 20 minutes, only for ‘scorer’ Yago Cariello to be called offside.

Manager Paulo Sérgio’s men continued undaunted just before half-time Moufi’s cross was met with a spectacular Welinton Junior volley for the lead. Ewerton almost doubled the lead immediately after the goal, but his powerful strike was parried by keeper Trmal whilst Zainadine cleared the follow-up off the line.

The second half featured excellent work from Pedrão in marshalling the Portimonense defence as well as the long-awaited debut of Honduran international Bryan Rochez. The ex-Nacional centre forward was only denied by a miraculous close-range Trmal reflex save close to the end before steering a last-minute header inches wide but, on the evidence of that cameo appearance, the 27-year-old should soon be scoring regularly.

Portimonense will be hoping to continue their good early season form on Sunday afternoon when lowly Famalicão provide the opposition at the Municipal Stadium – 4pm kick-off.

Champions League: Group stage

Portugal’s three representatives in Europe’s elite club competition were not handed easy passages to the knock-out phase at last Thursday’s draw held in Istanbul.

Domestic title-holders Porto should have the best chance of progressing from Group B after being paired with Atlético Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Club Brugge FC, all of which are beatable.

A more difficult task awaits Sporting Lisbon in Group D with last season’s Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham Hotspur and Marseille providing the opposition. Hardest hit have been Benfica who will face Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Maccabi Haifa in Group H.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the next round whilst the third-placed clubs drop into the secondary Europa League competition.

All six group ties will be played before the start of the World Cup later this year with the first set of fixtures scheduled for September 6 and 7.

By SKIP BANDELE