LIGA NOS: MOREIRENSE 2-2 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense blew hot and cold before ending their five-match losing away run to take home a more than deserved, and potentially valuable, away point from Moreira de Cónegos last Sunday evening.
Manager Paulo Sérgio’s men began the match with great intent, both Fabrício and Bruno Moreira forcing opposition keeper Pasinato into good saves early on before Lucas Possignolo followed up a Dener header against the post to give the visitors a 16th-minute lead.
However, as on several occasions previously this season, the Algarveans then sat back, and a Rafael Martins shot from distance followed by a Steven Vitoria header had the hosts in front not long after the half-hour mark.
Not best pleased at 2-1 down, Sérgio made a triple substitution at half time, replacing Moufi, Willyan and Fabrício with Fali Cande, Anderson and Luquinha respectively, the last-named making an immediate impact after the re-start when sending Pasinato diving to his left.
Moreira and Ewerton continued to make sure the keeper remained busy, VAR denied Portimonense a strong penalty claim for hand ball, but then the new-found impetus finally paid off as Dener rose highest in the area to head home the equaliser in the 83rd minute.
But more drama was to follow, Dener blotting his copybook with a hasty challenge on Galego already in injury time, leaving excellent referee Gustavo Correia with no option but to point to the penalty spot. Alas, ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’- Ricardo Ferreira, reinstated since regular No1 Samuel tested positive for Covid-19 last week, guessed correctly to punch Steven Vitoria’s strike clear and the draw was secured.
The lower two thirds of the league table remains very closely grouped, Portimonense’s result taking them into joint 10th place on 15 points alongside Rio Ave, Tondela and Belenense, one counter ahead of Nacional da Madeira and Famalicão on 14 with Gil Vicente (13), Farense (12) and Boavista (11) bringing up the rear.
The latter will provide the opposition at Portimonense’s Municipal Stadium this Saturday evening, and a win against the bottom side would take the Algarveans clear of the current relegation dogfight.
Off the pitch, and with the January transfer window about to close, classy veteran midfielder Honda is yet to commit his short-term future to the club, Argentine forward Barcos’ excessive wage demands mean that he won’t be making a move from Italy, but useful 27-year-old left back Luís Rocha could be making a late dash south from Polish championship leaders Legia Warsaw.
By SKIP BANDELE