LIGA NOS: SPORTING LISBON 2-1 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense confirmed Paulo Sérgio as the permanent successor to former manager António Folha on Monday evening, after having initially brought in fully qualified veteran Rolão Preto to assist interim coach Bruno Lopes prior to last weekend’s trip to Sporting.
The appointment represents something of a ‘homecoming’ for Sérgio, the now almost 52-year-old having both ended his playing days and begun his coaching career at Olhanense in the Algarve. Over the past 17 years, the man charged with keeping Portimonense in the topflight has enjoyed mixed success, ending up in charge of Sporting Lisbon for six months during the 2010/11 season following spells with Paços de Ferreira, Beira Mar, Santa Clara and Vitória de Guimarães.
He then moved to Scotland, where he won the SFA Cup with Hearts, before decamping for CFR Cluj and APOEL in Romania and Cyprus, respectively. A brief return to Portugal with Académica then preceded various stations in the Middle East, ending with his most recent engagement with Saudi club Al Taawon.
Sérgio will be on the bench for the first time this Saturday afternoon when Portimonense welcome Moreirense to the Municipal Stadium.
In the meantime, the new manager will have gleaned some hope from last Sunday’s performance against Sporting. The Algarveans showed more enterprise than during recent outings, taking the lead through Jackson Martinez after 26 minutes.
Jeremy Mathieu then delivered a perfect free kick just after the half-hour mark to level the scores, but the visitors continued to create the better chances until an under-pressure Jadson diverted the ball past his own keeper half-way through the second half. If that momentum can be maintained and newly-arrived forward Ricardo Vaz Te is able to take some of the pressure from Jackson, there is still some hope of escaping the relegation places.
By SKIP BANDELE