Länk Vilaverdense narrowly missed out on a historic promotion to the Segunda Liga despite thrashing Amora 5-0 at Campo Cruz do Reguengo.
Edmilson Santos saw his early penalty saved before the Brazilian striker opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. André Soares extended the advantage after break with João Batista making it 3-0 in the 75th minute.
The rout was confirmed in the closing stages when Zé Pedro won and converted a penalty, Batista scoring his second goal in added time to complete a convincing victory.
Vilaverdense needed Sanjoanense to beat CF Os Belenenses to gain automatic promotion, a feat they were unable to achieve in Belém where the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Ricardo Silva’s side can still create history if they reach the Segunda Liga through the promotion play-offs.
Edmilson makes amends
Länk Vilaverdense got off to a great start and were awarded an early penalty. Brian Cipenga used his speed to get down the left wing, sending the ball into the box where César Sousa took down Edmilson Santos.
The big Brazilian put the ball on the spot and stepped up with confidence, Júlio Neiva diving to his left and diverting the ball wide.
Amora responded well with Diogo Martins missing the target and Gui Magalhães heading Vitinha’s corner over the bar.
Vilaverdense weathered the storm and took the lead in the 22nd minute after going straight through the middle of the pitch. Ericson fed André Soares who released Edmilson, the striker running onto the ball and firing it past Neiva for his 14th goal of the season.
Neiva was becoming increasingly busy, saving Carlos Freitas’ low drive as Amora finished the first half strong, a great chance falling to André Vieira who saw his shot blocked by João Batista.
Vilaverdense double their advantage
The visitors were unable to maintain the momentum after break and found themselves 2-0 down in the 48th minute when they conceded from a corner. Gonçalo Teixeira rolled the ball to the edge of the area where André Soares measured a left footed effort into the bottom corner.
Diogo Martins continued to be the Amora’s most creative and dangerous player, the attacking midfielder forcing a fine save from Gonçalves.
Teixeira’s involvement came to an end in the 61st minute when he made way for Bruno Silva.
Ghost goals being celebrated
The crowd celebrated reports of a Sanjoanense goal that never was before Vilaverdense extended their lead. The goal came from another set piece, this time a free kick that was met by João Batista, his volley deflected past Neiva.
The crowd went crazy once more after being informed of a goal in Belém that hadn't happened, Ricardo Silva making two changes in the 74th minute when Nor Maviram and Edmilson Santos made way for Armando Lopes and Zé Pedro.
Vilaverdense complete the rout
It was one way traffic with Vilaverdense awarded a penalty in the 85th minute. Zé Pedro ran onto a through ball, Neiva coming off his line and appearing to get to the ball first, referee Humberto Teixeira awarding a penalty which he later confirmed after watching replays on the touchline.
Pedro’s penalty wasn’t hit with much conviction, Neiva getting a strong hand to the ball that rebounded off the post and into the net.
There was still time for a fifth goal when a corner wasn’t cleared by Neiva, João Batista heading into the net for his second goal of the game.
Second chance saloon
Länk Vilaverdense knew the only way they could achieve automatic promotion was defeating Amora and hoping that Sanjoanense beat CF Os Belenenses at Estádio do Restelo.
The 5-0 victory took them level on points with Belenenses who secured a 0-0 draw, the Belém club reaching the Segunda Liga on head to head record. They beat Vilaverdense 2-0 in Lisbon before a fortunate 0-0 draw in Vila Verde where they were largely outplayed.
Vilaverdense wait to see if they will face Alverca or Sporting Braga II in the first stage of the promotion play-off. The victor will take on the team that finishes 16th in the Segunda Liga which is likely be B-SAD, Nacional, Trofense or Sporting Covilhã.
O momento em que o Belenenses garantiu a subida à 2ª Liga 🔵⚪ #Canal11 #FutebolEmPortuguês pic.twitter.com/vE4BjBplIC— Canal 11 (@Canal_11Oficial) May 6, 2023
Brutal end for Amora
Amora were the best team in Liga 3, ending the regular season with 48 points after winning 15 of their 22 matches.
João Pereira’s side came into the promotion group with plenty of confidence after winning their previous five games, scoring 13 goals in the process. They chose the wrong time to go cold.
Amora lost their opening four promotion group games with just one goal scored. They beat CF Os Belenenses 3-0 before the trip to Vila Verde, but their shocking start meant they couldn't climb off the bottom of the table.
It was the very definition of a nothing game for the Seixal club who will lick their wounds and return for another crack at promotion next season.
By Matthew Marshall at Campo Cruz do Reguengo