The Portuguese love their football (as do I). They are passionate and fanatical. And their celebrations are loud!
There are predominantly three (big) teams in Portugal, and a fourth not too far behind. Benfica Lisbon, Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, and Braga.
In the village I live, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon are the most supported. Probably because most villagers gravitate towards, or have connections with, Lisbon as opposed to Porto. However, I prefer Porto as a city (and their airport is so much better) so you can guess which club I feel a greater connection to out of the “big four”.
This week has seen the conclusion of the Portugal Primeira Liga and the Taca de Portugal final (the equivalent of the FA Cup in England). Benfica had to win their final game of the season to clinch the title. The 3-0 win was celebrated with a chorus of car horns, fireworks and singing in the street. Parabéns Benfica.
The Taça de Portugal though was an all-northern affair with Porto taking on Braga. I watched the game in a local taberna. Outside a very passionate Braga supporter, I think most people there were neutral supporters. Porto were 2-0 winners. I contained any celebration but gave a wry smile. Parabéns Porto.
Proença-a-Nova are champions!
But the most significant game, in my opinion, last week was the Taça de Honra José Farromba da Associação de Futebol de Castelo Branco [Castelo Branco Football Association’s José Farromba Honour Cup]. The cup final of all the clubs in the Castelo Branco District of Portugal.
My local team, ADC Proença-a-Nova was playing Fundão in this final. I’ve watched Proença a few times this season and it’s been good fun. They have a loyal supporter base who, like all Portuguese football supporters, are incredibly passionate at matches.
The final was on Sunday morning, starting at 11 am. I arrived ten minutes before kick-off at the Desportivo do Valongo stadium in Castelo Branco. Walked up the steps to what I thought were the turnstiles but there were none. To my astonishment, entry was free. Zero Euro. Portugal continues to amaze me with their generosity to their communities and residents.
So, back to the football. Proença took the lead. Fundão equalised and then took the lead themselves. The fourth official raised the board showing four minutes of additional time. Due to injuries, this was extended and Proença scored in the 98th minute to send the game to extra time.
Once again, Proença took the lead in extra time only for Fundão to equalise. As the Fundão players raced across to their supporters, one of the safety barriers gave way and several supporters fell from the stand and required medical attention. Passionate celebrations!
As the match entered the final minutes of extra time, it was destined for penalties. But digging deep, Proença managed to score, bringing it to 4-3 and only had to see out the final minute.
ADC Proença-a-Nova were champions of the Taça de Honra José Farromba da Associação de Futebol de Castelo Branco.
Throughout the game, the Proença supporters were singing and playing instruments and it was a carnival atmosphere. In the UK I’ve gone to a lot of “non-league” matches and never have I experienced so much passion from supporters.
Within hours of the final, the Proença team were back in the town and being driven through the town on the back of a flatbed lorry, followed by a procession of cars all tooting their horns and waving flags and scarves.
Parabéns ADC Proença-a-Nova!
Not yet footballed out…
Hang on, there is an even bigger football match this week when the massive West Ham takes on Florentina in the Europa Conference League Final.
Come On You Irons!
Festa da Cereja e do Limão
The Festa season has started in Portugal and my neighbouring village was holding the Festa da Cereja e do Limão [Festival of Cherries and Lemons].
While I didn’t need any more cherries or lemons, I visited the festival between rain showers to support the local community. There were lots of stalls selling a variety of items in addition to cherries and lemons, some rides and games for children, live music and, as what is typical for these types of Festa, lots of food and drink to be consumed.
It was enjoyable, albeit a little damp. But that never deters the Portuguese from having a fun time.
I’m looking forward to the festivals in our village over the coming months, I just hope I can keep up with my fellow villagers.
Quinta and friends
There continue to be lots of work on the quinta. There has been rapid growth due to the rain showers and warm weather. Every day I am now harvesting food and it is a delight to walk around the land and just pick fruit and eat it. It’s brought a whole new meaning to picking at food!
I’ve finished picking the cherries and I’ve dug up the early potatoes. The peach trees are bursting with fruit, and I think only a matter of days away from harvesting.
As for the grapes, I have never seen so many bunches of grapes. Everyone seems to be saying it is looking like a bumper harvest this year. And it certainly looks like it.
Finally, I was humbled to be invited to a meal to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Fantastic company, great food and genuine friendship. Thank you.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Thank you, your continued support is much appreciated, and I am grateful for your interest in my adventure in Portugal!
Melhores cumprimentos. Até logo.