Portimonense: Sucker punches

Portimonense completely dominated their Allianz League Cup second phase home tie against Rio Ave last Sunday afternoon only to be beaten by injury-time goals at the end of each half.

Literally dozens of chances went begging during the opening 45 minutes with Hackman, Nakajima, Dener, Lucas, Tabata, Pires and Pedro Sá failing to hit the target while Rio Ave keeper Leo Jardim was always at hand when a breakthrough threatened. In contrast, the visitors’ first and only meaningful foray into the Portimonense half was immediately rewarded as Gabrielzinho converted a Gelson Dala through-ball on the half-time whistle.

More of the same followed after the interval, although the leg-weary hosts afforded Rio Ave more space to come forward and Dala could easily have doubled the score. At the other end, Pires might have been given a penalty when brought down in the area, Nakajima shot wide when through on goal and Ruben Fernandes should have done better with his 92nd-minute header at the far post. Instead, it was Furtado who found the net deep into injury time to confirm Portimonense’s unlikely-looking 2-0 defeat.

Given the obvious lack of fire power up front shown in this match as previously against Lille, Tuesday’s news that the club’s only out-and-out striker, Pires, had gone on a season-long loan to Penafiel came as a big surprise. It can only be hoped that an immediate solution in the form of Diego Cardoso (Santos), Yuma Suzuki (Kashima Antlers) or Paulinho (Porto) is in the pipeline or else scoring goals will become a serious issue. Pires’ departure was preceded earlier this week by additional loan moves for Gustavo (Estoril) and Fernandinho (also Penafiel).

Portimonense will play their opening league match of the season against Boavista at the municipal stadium on Monday evening (August 13) at 8.15pm.


Photo: Top Portimonense scorer Pires has gone on a season-long loan to Penafiel