LIGA NOS: SANTA CLARA 2-1 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense were unlucky to be beaten 2-1 in the Azores after having been reduced to 10 men under somewhat controversial circumstances just before the half-hour mark.
Manager António Folha considered the opening 25 minutes as “one of the best periods of play” he had seen from his team, with Jádson, Lucas Fernandes and Jackson Martinez all going close before man-of-the-match keeper Marco Pereira pulled off a great save from a Dener header.
However, a rare Santa Clara attack following relentless Portimonense pressure saw Jádson use his arm to stop a goal-bound through ball, resulting in an initial yellow card. Referee Vitor Ferreira then reviewed his decision on the VAR video replay and changed yellow to red, dismissing the Portimonense captain.
Despite the setback, a pinpoint Tormena cross five minutes later found Jackson whose unstoppable header put the visitors in front. The lead proved short-lived, though, Zé Manuel following up a blocked shot after a corner levelling the score as the interval approached.
After the restart, Guilherme should have done better when shooting over with only Ricardo Ferreira to beat, the miss almost proving costly but for Marco excelling once more at the other end in denying Jackson a second.
Portimonense legs were growing tired as the match took its course and Jádson’s absence was painfully felt with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining as a Pineda cross was converted successfully by an unmarked Fábio Cardoso for the winner.
Portimonense did almost rescue a point during the closing minutes, but Marco was again at hand to block Hackman at the near post.
Portimonense played well in defeat, showing marked improvement in relation to last week’s performance against Chaves, and should be ready to welcome Rio Ave on Saturday evening.
In the meantime, António Folha will do well to integrate his new players, three previous signings having been joined by two experienced transfer deadline acquisitions, wingers Aylton Boa Morte (ex-Estoril) and Ruster (ex-Varzim).
By SKIP BANDELE
Caption: Portimonense captain Jádson was shown the red card