LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 0-1 RIO AVE
Portimonense narrowly lost a third successive league match under controversial circumstances last weekend as referee Helder Malheiro, not for the first time in his career, came in for some heavy criticism.
The Algarveans announced half-price tickets for the next home game against Aves after Mr Malheiro blew his whistle on no less than 53 occasions while issuing five yellow cards to Portimonense players during 15 second half minutes including two to Paulinho, thus reducing any meaningful action in terms of actual football being played to an absolute minimum. In addition, the official sent two members of the Portimonense bench to the stands.
The opening exchanges were dominated by the visitors, but manager António Folha’s men soon found their feet with Wellington testing keeper Leo Jardim before Jackson Martinez crashed his header against the bar for the hitherto best scoring chance of the first 20 minutes.
Another corner saw Ruben Fernandes go close as Rio Ave came under constant pressure. However, on the half-hour mark, the referee first caused consternation by dismissing assistant coach Rui Sá Lemos and, shortly afterwards, Bruno Moreira put the visitors ahead from a Matheus cross. Portimonense almost drew level before the interval, Leo doing extremely well to beat away a rising Tabata shot having already dealt with another Jackson header.
Unfortunately, the second half never really got going – innocuous bookings for Lucas Possignolo (’52), Pedro Sá (’54), Paulinho (’66 and ’73), Wellington (’68) followed a further assistant coach, Fabio Moura, being given his marching orders in the 83rd minute, brought the encounter to a virtual standstill.
When some football was permitted, a Portimonense attack was stopped in full flow for a ‘forwards’ foul’ and when Ruben Fernandes was brought down during the closing minutes, the referee awarded a free kick in the opposite direction.
Portimonense now travel to sixth-placed Vitória de Guimarães on Saturday shorn of almost the entire regular midfield line-up due to bans and injury, with only the return of Jadson providing any respite – any result achieved there over 90 minutes will be a bonus.