Portimonense missed a golden opportunity to reach the final of Portugal’s League Cup after losing 3-1 to first division team Marítimo in Madeira yesterday (February 10).
The Algarve club was nonetheless a history maker, being the first second division team to reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Manager José Augusto said before the match that it would be “the most important of his career,” and he certainly passed on the competitive spirit to his players as Portimonense scored a well-placed shot outside the penalty area by Pires within the first five minutes.
But Marítimo did not let the goal affect them and Edgar Costa leveled the scoreboard at the 17th minute after an incomplete save by goalkeeper Carlos Henriques.
The Funchal-based team kept on the offensive pressure until Éber Bessa headed in a winning shot 31 minutes into the game following a cross from former Portimonense striker Dyego Sousa.
Marítimo could have gone into halftime with a 3-1 lead but the goal post said no to a violent Patrick shot a few metres outside the box.
The second half brought a renewed Portimonense team, which played more confidently in the first 20 minutes and had some good opportunities to score through Mu Kanazaki, Pires and Ryuki.
But as anxiety started to build up as the final whistle approached, a more experienced Marítimo team knew how to defend their advantage and wait for a sure chance to score.
It was in injury time that a quick counterattack shattered Portimonense’s dream, with Baba stroking in a pass from Edgar Costa.
This means Marítimo qualifies for the League Cup final where they will face either Benfica or Braga.
For Portimonense, the defeat marked the end of a historic campaign that fans won’t forget anytime soon, with three wins over first division teams: Arouca (4-1), Sporting (2-0) and Paços de Ferreira (3-2).