LIGA NOS: TONDELA 1-0 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense failed to turn up for what looked, on paper, to be one of the easier games of the present campaign last Friday night. Three points went begging as their hitherto winless opponents, missing seven regulars due to injury, suspension and Covid-19 infections, ran out the narrow winners thanks to an excellent opening half-hour performance.
In front of an experimental 132-strong live audience, man-of-the-match Rafael Barbosa also contributed to an element of pathos, the 24-year-old, who had left the Algarve under a cloud following a physical altercation with Portimonense president Rodiney Sampaio only two years ago, scoring the winning goal in between hitting the crossbar and post.
Manager Paulo Sérgio’s men made a very lethargic start to the encounter, allowing Tondela to dominate play. Two corners were followed by Barbosa’s first strike against the woodwork before the ‘prodigal son’ latched on to a Strkaij through ball to easily beat Samuel in the Portimonense goal.
The set-back galvanized the visitors, Anderson shooting over and then joining Anzai in troubling home keeper Trigueira as the interval approached.
Unfortunately, the re-start coincided with what must be the miss of the season so far, Vaz Tê finding Welinton Junior in the area in front of an open goal with the keeper already committed, but the Brazilian somehow managing to scoop the ball against the bar from six yards out.
The at-that-moment stranded Trigueira then redeemed himself with a spectacular save from Fabrício only a minute before Barbosa struck the woodwork for a second time at the other end. A penalty awarded against Tondela by referee Vítor Ferreira following a foul on Welinton in the 71st-minute was then overturned by VAR for off-side and the match slowly petered out to Portimonense’s detriment.
“We deserved something from this game but cannot afford to be half-asleep,” Sérgio said afterwards. “They scored and we reacted, and went in search of the equaliser,” goalkeeper Samuel added. “But the ball wouldn’t go in – that’s football.”
Portimonense will hope to be fully awake and blessed with better fortune when Santa Clara travel from the Azores to the Algarve next Sunday for a 3pm kick-off at the Municipal Stadium.
By SKIP BANDELE