Portimonense’s Bruno Tabata

Portimonense: Madeira cakewalk

LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 3-2 MARÍTIMO

Portimonense came through last Monday night’s must-win match against Marítimo at the Municipal Stadium with flying colours, two goals before the interval laying the groundwork for a thereafter never-in-danger win.

The first opportunity following a lively opening spell fell to Ricardo Vaz Tê, the 33-year-old slipping when well positioned to meet an 11th-minute cross into the opposition area. The former Bolton, Hull, Barnsley and West Ham forward almost made amends six minutes later, Lucas Fernandes the provider for a powerful header which Marítimo keeper Charles just managed to scrape away from under his crossbar.

The respite was short-lived, Charles cutting a less impressive figure when getting involved in a mix-up with defender Rene which allowed Tabata to dart in and score from a tight angle. The lead was doubled shortly before the break, Aylton Boa Morte stretching well to take advantage of more poor defending.

The visitors were able to pull a goal back not long after the re-start, Rodrigo Pinho finding himself in the right place to finish from close range after a hopeful ball into the area had been deflected into his path. On the hour mark, a Tabata cross from the by-line was headed on by Vaz Tê and Hackman had plenty of space to turn and volley home to make it 3-1 on the night.

Portimonense keeper Gonda subsequently made his only serious save of the game by diving low to his right to keep the Islanders at bay and Jadson was inches away from another for the home side before Pinho grabbed a late, late consolation by running between two defenders for his second in the 94th minute.

“A very important victory against quality opposition,” manager Paulo Sérgio commented afterwards. The situation at the bottom of the table is taking on an intriguing constellation with six matches remaining: Portimonense are now 10 points clear of beaten-off last Aves and four behind both Marítimo and Paços de Ferreira, who in turn trail Tondela by one. The two last-mentioned played each other on Wednesday night (after the Resident went to press) while Portimonense must travel to fifth-placed Famalicão next Tuesday.

By SKIP BANDELE