A great run of form towards the end of the season coupled with some final day drama saw Tondela secure Primeira Liga survival in stunning circumstances.
Tondela, who secured promotion by winning the Segunda Liga in 2014-15, were rock bottom with four games left in the season and a whole nine points from safety.
However, the club from a town with a population of no more than 30,000 then went three games unbeaten, including two wins, to have a chance of survival going into the final round.
Two wins and a draw had seen the side move up to 17th, two points behind 16th-placed Uniao Madeira and safety, but a final-day win may have not be enough, with other results having to go their way.
Tondela managed to secure a 2-0 victory at home to bottom-placed Academica thanks to goals from Pica and Luis Alberto, with a keen eye on what was happening in the other game.
Madeira were 1-0 up at the break, with Vitoria Setubal’s stalemate against Pacos de Ferreira keeping Tondela in the drop zone, but the home side fell apart after the break.
A second yellow card to Paulo Monteiro gave Rio Ave the chance to get back into the contest, and two goals in the space of eight minutes from Renan Bressan and Helder Postiga saw Madeira condemned to relegation, sealing Tondela’s survival in Portugal’s top-flight in the most dramatic of fashions.
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