LIGA NOS: SANTA CLARA 2-0 PORTIMONENSE
Unfortunately, Portimonense failed to carry over the aggressive, attacking football previously shown at home against Tondela to the Azores, a very poor opening half contributing much to the Algarveans’ ultimate demise.
In front of 774 fans (!), including a lone but vocal away supporter, manager Paulo Sérgio’s starting eleven found itself under pressure from the word go, a series of corner kicks culminating in an easy tap-in for ex-Portimonense player Rui Costa after a 13th-minute Allano strike rebounded off the post.
By the time Willyan almost embarrassed his own keeper following a Lincoln corner, Allano and Costa had come close to scoring again, Sérgio had seen enough and made a rare double substitution before the break, followed by another one during it.
With Custódio, Fali and Luquinha on the pitch for Anzai, Anderson and Poha, Portimonense began to chase the deficit during the second period of play. Either side of Maurício scraping a Santa Clara effort off the line, Beto headed wide, Willyan forced home keeper Marco into a great save, and Moufi failed to get his shot away when looking likely to score. However, some fruitless Algarvean penalty appeals later, it was Santa Clara who made sure of maximum points when Ukra set up Carlos Júnior for the simplest of injury time winners.
The setback combined with wins for Gil Vicente, Belenenses and Marítimo has resulted in a renewed bunching-up of the bottom half of the Liga NOS, only seven points separating ninth-placed Rio Ave from once again bottom-of-the-table Farense. The prospects for improvement over the coming weekend are not bright with Porto providing the opposition in the Municipal Stadium on Saturday whilst no less than eight of Portimonense’s closest rivals take each other on in so-called ‘six-point’ matches.
By SKIP BANDELE