LIGA NOS: RIO AVE 3-0 PORTIMONENSE
Consistently sports press top-rated goalkeeper Samuel Portugal apart, Portimonense did not really turn up last Friday night.
On the front foot from the word go, Rio Ave were prevented from scoring almost single-handedly by Samuel before the interval, the 26-year-old Brazilian pulling off a succession of stunning saves from Gelson, Ivo Pinto and Meshino.
But even his best efforts proved to be in vain as Maurício gave the ball away immediately after the re-start, forcing Lucas Possignolo to stop the advancing Gelson by illegal means.
Pele stepped up to sink the resulting spot kick with conviction, and it only took a further three minutes for Meshino to double the score from the edge of the area as the Portimonense defence stood back.
Opposition keeper Kieszek then made his only meaningful contribution to the match in keeping out Aylton Boa Morte before Carlos Mané made it three at the other end of the pitch.
Portimonense’s biggest defeat of the season so far drops the Algarveans back into joint bottom, but the combination of results elsewhere means that only four points separate Santa Clara in seventh place from last. Thus, a positive outcome from next Monday’s home encounter with equally struggling Belenenses would immediately alter the current complexion of the league table.
Away from the pitch, the January transfer window is in full swing, forwards Barcos (ex-Messina), Bruno Moreira (ex-Rio Ave), midfielders Jafar Salmani (ex-Sanat Naft), Keisuke Honda (ex-Botafogo), keeper Nakamura (ex-Kashiwa Reysol) and former player Ewerton, previously on loan to Urawa Reds from Porto, already having arrived in Portimão.
Away are both Gonda and Welinton Junior, on €1 million loans with options to buy to Japanese clubs Shimru S-Pulse and Shonan Bellmare respectively, while Dener and Lucas Possignolo have suitors in Saudi Arabia and China.
By SKIP BANDELE