Victory made in Japan

Shoya Nakajima scored both goals as Portimonense extended their unbeaten league run to five games by beating Tondela 2-0 at the municipal stadium last Saturday afternoon – the match also marked the first occasion this season that Ricardo Ferreira has kept a clean sheet in the Algarveans’ goal.

The home side took charge from the start with Paulinho and Fabrício exerting early pressure. Ruben Fernandes, Dener, Rosell and Pedro Sá all went close approaching the half-hour mark before Nakajima left Tondela keeper Cláudio Ramos rooted to the spot with a stunning solo effort from outside the area.

One goal to the good, manager Vítor Oliveira’s men continued on the front foot after the interval with the best chance falling to Lumor who blasted over from close range. The 61st-minute introduction of Heliardo temporarily changed the balance of play in Tondela’s favour, the Brazilian forcing Ferreira into the save of the match before getting off two more shots in close succession albeit without visible results. Portimonense responded well, a great build up culminating in Ewerton teeing up Fabrício whose cross was met perfectly by that man Nakajima to make the game safe at 2-0.

As the clock ticked down the final 10 minutes, there was still time for Ramos to save well from Wellington, and Ewerton should really have made it three without reply at the death instead of shooting straight at the keeper when clean through on goal.

The impressive win sees Portimonense climb the table into ninth place, one point behind Belenenses and Boavista, while a reassuring eight points clear of the relegation places currently occupied by Moreirense and Estoril, the last mentioned providing the away opposition on Monday evening for the closing fixture of the coming weekend’s league programme.

On a closing note, unfortunately the exploits of explosive Japanese forward Shoya Nakajima, already with six goals this season, has attracted the attention of several bigger European clubs ahead of the January transfer window.

On Saturday, scouts representing French top division sides Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux as well as Greece’s PAOK Salonika and Spain’s Valladolid were present in Portimão who also had eyes on Paulinho.

At this moment, the Algarveans own 20% of Nakajima’s transfer rights with an option to acquire the remaining 80% by the end of his season-long loan agreement next June, but it will prove difficult to hold the 23-year-old if he continues to produce match-winning performances of this calibre.