Portimonense – Yellow fever!

Portimonense endured a frustrating afternoon while maintaining their unbeaten start to the league season during an eventful 1-1 draw with Cova da Piedade last Saturday.

The visitors from Greater Lisbon’s Almada region displayed little of the flair associated with the locality’s most famous son, Luís Figo, as an almost successful ‘smash and grab’ game plan unfolded.

Two of the busiest men on the pitch were referee Tiago Martins and Piedade goalkeeper Pedro Alves. The FIFA-approved official ended up brandishing no less than nine individual yellow cards as well as a straight red to still unused substitute Irobiso on the Cova da Piedade side, while also cautioning two Portimonense players before being forced to add five and eight minutes respectively of injury time to each half.

The extension to the normal playing period was largely due to the antics of the aforementioned Alves who was writhing on the turf seeking medical assistance on two occasions within the opening minutes. Miraculously restored, the keeper then proceeded to make good saves from Ewerton either side of appearing to prevent a Ricardo Pessoa effort, which had struck the bar, from crossing the goal line.

Shortly before the half-hour mark, Alves was still up to saving a Paulinho penalty kick, Portimonense’s third failed attempt by as many players in seven games, but after pushing out a 37th-minute Jadson header Alves stayed down again. Eventually back on his feet, the ‘Lisbon Lazarus’ blocked a point blank Pires strike and kept Lumor at bay before half-time offered temporary respite.

Immediately after the restart, Robson managed Cova da Piedade’s first shot on target and promptly scored. Undeterred, Portimonense continued their hitherto fruitless assault with Alves continuing in the thick of the action – two more saves from Pires and the keeper had his medical team on the pitch once more.

Back up after lengthy treatment and Gustavo, Paulinho and Pires were still denied before the last named second division top scorer finally added to his tally with an acrobatically taken bicycle-kick equaliser deep into injury time – the miracle man had been overcome for a richly deserved share of the points.

Portimonense, who now trail 2-0 winners over Porto B, Santa Clara, by two points at the top of the table, were back on the promotion trail Wednesday afternoon at mid-division Fafe (played after the Resident went to press) ahead of Sunday’s away Portuguese FA Cup tie with third tier União de Leiria.


Photo: Portimonense player, Pires