LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 2-3 FC PORTO
Porto emerged the last-gasp winners of a controversial encounter at the Municipal Stadium last Sunday evening during, and after which, match officials, managers, players, club directors and the pitch itself were called into question.
Referee Rui Costa and his team have certainly enjoyed better days at the office, the VAR system proving to be more of a hindrance than a help; Porto coach Sergio Conceição admitted to making two ill-advised second half changes before appearing to publicly vent his self-inflicted frustration on late-substitute Shoya Nakajima; the completely outflanked home team only managed to get its first shot in the direction of the opposition goalmouth away in the 73rd minute; and Portimonense majority shareholder Theodoro Fonseca, apart from threatening to lodge a general complaint with the league, went as far as suggesting that ‘sabotage’ was to blame for the rapidly deteriorating, fungi-affected playing surface in a subsequent radio interview. For the record, here are the facts of the actual football match itself…
The 5,500-strong crowd was treated to a dominant Porto first half display during which Portimonense struggled to break out of their own half. Marega and Uribe gave early warning of intent followed by a Luis Diaz effort which hit the post just before the quarter hour mark. The under-siege hosts still managed to block further attempts from Uribe and then Otavio before the referee awarded the visitors a penalty for a supposed Jadson hand ball. Despite television replays showing that the Portimonense captain had used his chest, the VAR system confirmed the decision, and Alex Telles duly slotted home from the spot.
Porto should have been two up shortly afterwards, but Danilo was only able to divert a pin-point cross against the post. Keeper Ricardo Ferreira then produced a good save from Ze Luis but was powerless to prevent the same player from heading in an Uribe cross, unmarked, at the far post as half time beckoned.
After the interval it was Marega’s turn to continue testing Ferreira and it was only after Conceição had taken off two of his most effective players in Luis Diaz and Ze Luis that Portimonense managed to get into the game. In the 74th minute Dener out-jumped the Porto defence to head home a Aylton Boa Morte cross, and it only took another three minutes for Anzai to curl in a perfect strike from outside the area, thus turning the match on its head. The previously most unlikely-looking 2-2 score line shocked the visitors as Portimonense suddenly went in search of the winner.
Jackson Martinez should have done better when put through on goal in the 87th minute, but his weak shot was easily saved by Marchesin in the Porto goal. Next, Marlos, on for Tabata, went close before bearing down on goal again, leaving Telles no option but to bring the young Colombian forward down in full flow in return for a straight red card. Marlos continued to threaten, but as the match entered its eighth (!) minute of time added on, Marcano, with the Portimonense defence appearing to be waiting for the final whistle, headed in the decider from a corner with the last touch of the game.
Portimonense, with just four points from five matches and only one point above the two relegation places, must now hope for a change of fortune, the next opportunity for which will come on Sunday when Setubal provide the away opposition. That match is followed by another trip, this time to Gil Vicente, for next Wednesday’s first League Cup third round group stage tie.
By SKIP BANDELE