Portimonense

Portimonense: Winning streak

LIGA PORTUGAL BWIN: PORTIMONENSE 1-0 FAMALICÃO

Portimonense extended their run of victories to four with a 1-0 home success over Famalicão last Sunday evening.

Kosuke replaced Samuel in goal (see below) and Bryan Rochez gave his full debut in place of the injured Yago Cariello. Both players saw action during an otherwise largely uneventful opening half, the Japanese international keeper doing well to keep out a powerful Ruben Lima drive early on whilst the Honduran striker came close to opening the scoring on three occasions, heading wide twice before losing the ball when through on goal.

As Portimonense began to gather momentum following the restart, Rochez managed to hit the post before his own defenders finally showed him how to do it properly. Seck crossed a short corner to the far post where Relvas’ header back in was met powerfully by Pedrão for the all-important strike. During the remaining 25 minutes, Welinton Junior could easily have doubled the lead but was also denied by the woodwork.

The further three points gained see manager Paulo Sérgio’s men remain level with Porto in joint third place, but a different calibre of performance will be required on Saturday evening if a new record of five wins in a row is to be established as Sporting provide the opposition in their own Alvalade Lisbon backyard.

Earlier last week, the summer transfer window slammed shut with much less than satisfactory results for the Algarveans. Having denied accusations of being no more than a feeder club for Porto over the past decades, the current league champions once again stepped in at the last minute to deprive Portimonense of an invaluable mainstay in the shape of outstanding goalkeeper Samuel Portugal.

To add insult to injury, the initially reported €5 million fee turned out to be a mere €1 million for 20% of the player’s economic rights. Worse, the 26-year-old Brazilian will probably never be able to show what he is capable of again as he is now third choice behind national keeper Diogo Costa and experienced number two Cláudio Ramos.

Meanwhile, Portimonense had already sent out previous second choice Payam on loan leaving Japan’s Kosuke between the sticks with only 22-year-old free Turkish signing Berke Ozer, previously on loan from Fenerbahçe at Belgium’s Westerlo, as an alternative.

Porto were also in the spotlight regarding the strange case of Shoya Nakajima. A star for Portimonense after his arrival five years ago, the Japanese winger was then sold for a reported €35 million to Qatari side Al-Duhail in February 2019. Following seven appearances on the Arab peninsular, Porto paid €12 million for 50% of the player’s rights on a five-year contract although hardly ever including him in their first team subsequently. In January 2021 Nakajima left on loan for the UAE and on his return re-joined Portimonense on another season-long temporary arrangement. Negotiations to extend that term for 2022/23 have since failed and the by now 28-year-old finds himself in limbo back in Porto, unloved and unwanted by coach Sergio Conceição, sitting out the remaining two years of his contract unless another buyer can be found.

Portimonense also failed to find a much sought-after replacement for departed (CSKA Moscow) central defender Willyan.

By SKIP BANDELE