LIGA NOS: NACIONAL 1-5 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense travelled to Madeira last Friday and came away with the biggest away win of this, or any other topflight season, after thrashing Nacional 5-1.
Leading goal scorer Beto made the visitors’ intentions clear from the start, shooting on sight before almost catching out desperately back-pedalling stand-in keeper Piscitelli with a 14th-minute looping deflection.
Just past the half-hour mark, Beto was again at hand to steer in a Moufi cross at the far post to give the Algarveans an early advantage. As half time approached, Luquinha took matters into his own hands, carrying an interception from the centre circle to the edge of the opposition area before unleashing an unstoppable shot.
2-0 down at the break, new Nacional coach Manuel Machado made a triple substitution, albeit with little reward. Aylton Boa Morte should have put Portimonense further ahead shortly after the restart, something which the Moufi-Beto combination succeeded in doing 10 minutes later.
Now three goals to the good, Paulo Sérgio brought on Fali Cande, who had only just returned from helping Guinea-Bissau qualify for the African Cup of Nations, and the 23-year-old instantly repaid his manager’s faith by converting a free kick to make it four on the night.
Nacional’s Rochez then copied that feat when pulling one back with his first touch after coming on, but, on this occasion, Portimonense were not to be denied and another two late replacements, Poha and Fabrício, linked up deep into injury time for the latter to add icing to the cake with the fifth and final strike of the night.
As it turned out, the victory was much needed, not only in terms of improving this season’s potentially decisive goal difference, but also as three of the Algarveans’ closest rivals, Boavista, Tondela and Famalicão, pulled off unlikely wins over much higher-placed clubs.
Thus, at the close of last weekend’s latest round of matches, Portimonense find themselves in 12th place, level on 26 points with Belenenses and Famalicão, two and four points ahead of Boavista and Farense respectively, with the two Madeira clubs, Marítimo and Nacional, bringing up the rear on 21.
Next up for Paulo Sérgio’s improving young team is tomorrow’s (Friday) visit at the Municipal Stadium from sixth-placed Vitória de Guimarães. Used to qualifying for European football on a regular basis, Vitória SC are currently in difficulties having won only one of their last 10 games whilst losing the last four on the trot – that record has cost manager João Henriques his job and former B-team coach Bino Maçães will be in charge for the first time in Portimão.
By SKIP BANDELE