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Posted by nelson on August 09, 2017
Portimonense player Manafá (left) fights for possession of the ball with Boavista player Tiago Mesquita during a Primeira Liga match at the Portimão Municipal Stadium on Monday, August 7

Portimonense made the best start to a campaign in the top tier since seeing off Farense in 1987 by beating Boavista 2-1 late on Monday afternoon.

The first Liga NOS match of the new season, which also marked the official inauguration of the re-laid pitch, video review installations and increased seating capacity, kicked off at 5pm with thermometers still hovering around 32ºC and many potential supporters unable to attend during normal weekday working hours.

Nonetheless the 3,000-strong crowd was treated to a bright start from the home side which dominated proceedings during the opening 20 minutes albeit without creating any real scoring opportunities.

In contrast, Boavista’s first meaningful attack saw the Portimonense defence stand back and fail to deal with Rochinha’s determined solo run into the area, allowing the midfielder to finish with aplomb. Buoyed by the early lead against the run of play, the visitors went on to whip in a series of dangerous corners approaching the interval which keeper Ricardo Ferreira and his back four always struggled to clear.

However, having regrouped, manager Vítor Oliveira’s men returned with renewed determination for the start of the second half and, after Fabrício, Wellington and Ewerton had all gone close, new signing Ruben Fernandes connected with a loose ball in the area to level the score.

A more open exchange then saw both Ferreira and his opposite number, Vagner, drawn increasingly into the action, culminating in the Portimonense winner five minutes from the end. Two corners in quick succession had already served to underline late Algarvean domination before a Manafá pass, helped along by a Fabrício dummy, found Bruno Tabata unmarked on the edge of the Boavista area, and the 20-year-old Brazilian midfielder stroked the ball home past the helpless Vagner.

“I think it was a deserved win,” Oliveira said afterwards, “we were better than Boavista during both halves.”

Portimonense will be hoping that at least some of the still absent quartet of Marcel, Jadson, Stanley or Pires will return from injury come Sunday when Braga is the venue for the first away fixture scheduled to kick off at 6pm (live on SportTV1). One man who definitely won't be there is Rui Costa, bought to provide more attacking options. The forward has been loaned back to Varzim ‘in order to gain more experience’, explaining his somewhat mysterious absence on Monday afternoon.

By SKIP BANDELE

Photo: LUÍS FORRA/LUSA

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