LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 1-0 NACIONAL DE MADEIRA
On the eve of the Algarveans’ latest league encounter, Portuguese football in general, and Portimonense in particular, were shocked to learn of the sudden death from a heart attack of former player, manager and on several occasions ‘saviour’, Vítor Oliveira, at the age of 67.
The iconic coach, famed for achieving promotion to the top tier with 11 different clubs, hung up his playing boots in Portimão following the 1984/85 season before going on to take ‘his’ team into its to-date only UEFA Cup competition participation.
Twenty years later, he returned to the Algarve and ended Portimonense’s long wait for a return to the elite division, where they have remained ever since. Most recently, Oliveira retired from his last managerial engagement with Gil Vicente and was considering a return to his ‘second home’ in the south as Director of Football – sadly, that is now not to be.
On Sunday afternoon, every Portimonense player wore the name ‘Vítor Oliveira’ on the back of his shirt, and their former mentor would have been proud of the way the team ended their four-match losing run. Based on a tight defensive formation featuring Mauricio, Possignolo, Anzai and Moufi, which left keeper Samuel as good as redundant, the Algarveans cruised to their first home win of the season with a dominant display.
Impressive debutant Luquinha, Fabrício and Anderson Oliveira threatened early, the last-mentioned almost achieving the break-through when his deflected shot only just trickled past the wrong side of the post. Nacional showed no signs of improvement after the interval, and Portimonense continued in search of a winner.
Luquinha forced visiting keeper Daniel into a vital save just before the hour mark, but on this occasion now coach Paulo Sérgio’s well-disciplined eleven were not to be denied.
With the minutes ticking away, Nacional defender Júlio César’s use of his arm to stop an Aylton Boa Morte attempt at goal was picked up by the VAR monitor, persuading unsighted referee Gustavo Correia to eventually award a penalty. Fabrício made no mistake from the spot, sending Daniel the wrong way, and ‘victory for Vítor’ was assured.
Portimonense, who have moved three places off the bottom of the table with this win, are back in action away against Vitória de Guimarães on Saturday afternoon.
By SKIP BANDELE