LIGA BWIN: PORTIMONENSE 0-2 AROUCA
Portimonense ended the present campaign with a whimper to finish in 15th place, having once again done just enough to maintain their top division status.
Saturday evening’s home match, scheduled at the same time as the Benfica-Porto title deciders, provided little first-half entertainment for the 867 die-hard supporters that did attend.
In contrast, the restart began with a flurry as European Conference League-bound Arouca scored twice in quick succession, playmaker Alan Ruiz setting up Antony for the first before seeing his own effort deflected past Nakamura and into the back of the net by Park for an own goal two minutes later.
Portimonense did react, but Bryan Rochez shot straight at the keeper whilst Bruno Reis shaved the post as the two best chances of the half went begging.
The Algarveans’ sporting hierarchy now have just over two months to strengthen the team and may have already sent out a signal by turning down an €8 million offer for 23-year-old central defender Filipe Relvas from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
However, two other mainstays, Fahd Moufi (Burnley) and Welinton Júnior, look almost certain to leave and will have to be replaced whilst contract rebel Anderson – who has not played since November – is already on his way to Brazilian Serie A club Goiás.
Meanwhile, at the top of the table, Benfica were confirmed champions following a facile 3-0 win over already relegated Santa Clara.
Rivals and defending champions Porto finished runners-up with the same result against Vitória de Guimarães (Conference League) as Braga took the third Champions League spot (qualifying round) after beating Paços Ferreira 3-0, leaving Sporting Lisbon to contest the Europa League.
Farense celebrated their return to the top tier with a 3-1 home win over Tondela and are no doubt looking forward to the prospect of two Algarve ‘derbies’ with Portimonense next season.
By SKIP BANDELE