Portimonense: testing times

Portimonense took their first steps towards preparing for the new season as well as assimilating a host of new squad members with two practice games over the past seven days.

Last Friday morning, visiting Chelsea U-23s provided the opposition behind closed doors at the Municipal Stadium with manager António Folha’s experimental side emerging the 5-2 winners, the hosts’ goals coming from recent signings Iury Castilho (ex-Al-Fahya) and Willyan (ex-Cova da Piedade), first team regular Lucas Possignolo and a brace from reserve forward Ruster.

On Tuesday evening, it was the turn of National League (England’s fifth tier) club Wrexham to test the Algarveans – Jadson made it 1-0 early on and Folha used the occasion to give his entire squad a run-out resulting in a predictable lack of cohesion as well as further goals.

Next up will be practice matches against Sporting Braga this Saturday in Portimão followed by Marítimo in Vila Real de Santo António on Tuesday ahead of next weekend’s inaugural ‘Copa Ibérica’- see next Thursday’s Resident for details.

Also announced this week was the 2019/20 league calendar, with Portimonense kicking off the new campaign at home against Belenenses on the weekend of August 11.

Stand-out fixtures for your diary at the Municipal Stadium during the early part of the season include visits from Sporting Lisbon in late August and both Porto and Braga during the second half of September.

Prior to these encounters, the second phase of the Allianz League Cup could produce an early August Algarve derby should Farense overcome Académica in the competition’s opening round.

Meanwhile, off the pitch, Portimonense are still busy on the transfer market, latest arrivals featuring 24-year-old Japanese international left back Koki Anzai from Kashima Antlers as well as young Brazilian central defenders Igor Neves and Everson via São Paulo and Bahia, respectively. At this moment likely to stay in Portimão are Paulinho, Tabata and Jackson Martinez, but on-loan Lucas Fernandes should be on his way back to South America, Portimonense and potential suitors Porto, Braga and Guimarães having failed to meet São Paulo’s financial demands for a permanent move.