Promotion joy in the Azores and in Madeira

Santa Clara and Nacional up, Marítimo still fighting

The Primeira Liga was without any island clubs for the first time in 39 years in 2023/24, but the situation has been rectified in double quick time.

In the penultimate round of matches in the Segunda Liga this Sunday, Azorean outfit Santa Clara won to confirm they bounce straight back up to Portugal’s top flight, Nacional da Madeira joined them, and Marítimo are still in with a shout of making it a trio of island promotions. 

Carlos Daniel double clinches promotion for Nacional 

Nacional da Madeira travelled to Tondela hoping to maintain their promotion push but things started badly as the home side took a first-half lead through a João Costinha own goal.

However, the islanders turned it around in the second period, running out 3-2 victors with the winning goal scored in the 5th minute of stoppage time by Carlos Daniel, his second goal of the game.

News that AVS had drawn at Leixões sparked wild celebrations among the entire Nacional delegation and their sizeable following that had travelled to the mainland as a return to the Primeira Liga was confirmed after a three-year absence.

 

Santa Clara stay top

That 0-0 draw between AVS and Leixões also confirmed promotion for Santa Clara, who are back among the elite after relegation last season.

The Azorean team celebrated in their afternoon kickoff by beating Mafra 2-0 to stay on course to win the Segunda Liga.

 

AVS and Marítimo battle goes down to the wire 

There could yet be a third island team earning promotion this season. Marítimo and AVS are battling it out to finish third to qualify for the relegation/promotion playoff against the team that finishes third from bottom in the Primeira Liga (Portimonense, Estrela da Amadora or Boavista).

AVS are currently third, one point ahead of Marítimo, but are going through a rough patch of form at end to the season with just two wins in their last eight matches.

In contrast, Marítimo made it four consecutive wins with a comeback victory against UD Oliveirense in Funchal.

In the final round of matches next weekend AVS host Tondela while Marítimo travel to Académico de Viseu. For Marítimo to snatch 3rd spot from AVS the Madeira outfit have to beat Académico and hope AVS draw or lose against Tondela.

By Tom Kundert