Portimonense shaping up

Portimonense concluded their pre-season preparation ahead of this Friday’s League Cup first round tie versus second division Académica with three draws against Sporting (2-2), Braga (1-1) and Farense (0-0).

New loan signing (option to buy) Renato Júnior made an immediate impact, the 19-year-old Brazilian forward grabbing both goals during 45 second-half minutes against the Portuguese champions, while Fabrício was successful from the penalty spot after Beto had been brought down early on during the subsequent encounter with Braga. The ‘A’ team then took on Farense last Sunday, neither team finding the back of the net, as the U-23s travelled north to fulfil the return fixture with Covilhã (1-1).

Renato has been joined in the Algarve by experienced 27-year-old midfielder Carlinhos, previously with Estoril, Setúbal in addition to a host of German, Dutch and Belgian clubs, as well as Bruno Paz, a promising 23-year-old Sporting B regular who can play in the same position or on the wing. There are still ongoing negotiations for Recife’s proven striker Mikael who is being viewed as an ideal replacement for Beto, should last season’s top scorer leave.

Unfortunately no longer part of manager Paulo Sérgio’s plans are defensive pillars Dener and Anzai – the first mentioned former Portimonense captain has joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Tai while the Japanese right back signed a five-year deal with Kashima Antlers back in his home country.