Portimonense – Touch of class

LIGA NOS: PORTIMONENSE 3-1 Vitória Setúbal

Portimonense manager António Folha described his team’s Friday evening first half performance against Vitória Setúbal as “fantastic” as Portimonense ran out the convincing 3-1 winners at the municipal stadium.

A tenth-minute Jadson header following a Paulinho corner set the tone for an opening 45 minutes during which the visitors were left struggling to make any impact on the match. The early lead did wonders for the home side’s confidence, and both Paulinho and Manafá went close to doubling the advantage before the half-hour mark.

Jackson Martinez then rattled the woodwork before Joel Perreira excelled in the Setúbal goal by deflecting a first-time Ewerton shot onto the crossbar. The respite proved to be short-lived, however, Jackson cushioning a Manafá cross with his chest before volleying home past the helpless Perreira as the interval beckoned.

Setúbal saw a bit more of the ball as the second period of play unfolded, but any hope of a comeback was quickly snuffed out as a Jackson header from a Nakajima cross made it 3-0 on the night. Mikel did grab a consolation goal from a similar move shortly afterwards, Jadson was forced into a goal line clearance and Éber Bessa hit the post late on, but ultimately there was no way back for the well-beaten visitors.

Now comfortably placed in mid-table and seven points clear of the relegation places, Portimonense can further consolidate their position with a win at lowly Feirense this Saturday afternoon ahead of the Christmas break. Sadly that fixture could also see Shoya Nakajima’s last appearance in a Portimonense shirt- the influential winger was again watched by scouts representing Leicester, Southampton, West Ham and Seville as negotiations with Wolverhampton Wanderers stalled, and the Japan international looks likely to be on his way in the near future.

Whatever the case, Nakajima will not face Benfica on January 2 as he will be representing his country at the month-long Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates at that time.