U-23 coach Bruno Lopes is interim manager while a permanent replacement is sought

Portimonense: The final straw


The previous weekend’s insipid goalless home draw with then third-from-bottom Paços de Ferreira was followed by a heavy defeat at last-placed Aves last Saturday afternoon, finally prompting manager António Folha to throw in the towel.

The 48-year-old former Porto B coach, who took charge of Portimonense in June 2018, appeared to have lost the dressing room completely as his team showed little sign of resistance during a three-goal second half drubbing – and resigned immediately in its aftermath.

To put the result in perspective, Aves had previously managed to ‘amass’ a total of six points from 16 matches and are still firmly anchored at the foot of the table.

Portimonense president Rodiney Sampaio claimed the club had been taken by surprise by Folha’s abrupt decision and have promoted U-23 coach Bruno Lopes as interim manager while a permanent replacement is sought. The 35-year-old, who will be assisted by present first team coaching staff members Ricardo Pessoa and Pedro Silva, previously gained experience in the American minor leagues before taking up his current position last season.

His first task will be to motivate the obviously dispirited squad ahead of this Sunday’s crucial away match with Belenenses, one point ahead of Portimonense in the standings.

Meanwhile, Mário Silva, successful with Porto in the UEFA Youth League last season and currently football co-ordinator at Spanish side Almeria, and ex-Rio Ave, Varzim and Mafra coach Nuno Capucho, are being put forward as possible Folha successors, but regardless of who eventually takes on the job, he will have to receive the full backing of the board in the form of immediate player reinforcements in order to negotiate an escape from the club’s current predicament.

In other news, Wellington Carvalho, out of favour in Portimão since last season, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with second division Chaves.