There is an air of optimism at Olhanense as the newly-remodelled team pushes to close the gap on a play-off place in the Campeonato de Portugal. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the second-half of the away game against Sacavenense in Lisbon last Sunday.
Two goals down after 50 minutes, the team responded with passion and commitment under new manager Vasco Faísca who made a double substitution on 54 minutes with Elisson and Stevy Okitokandjo replacing Dongwook Lee and Hassan.
Just three minutes later, Stevy Okitokandjo reduced the arrears with his eighth goal of the season.
With time running out, Olhanense were dealt a further blow when Muscat received a straight red card, but the team continued to press forward and, with five minutes to go, Sacavenense’s Elvis Fernandes turned the ball into his own net to level the score. In the past, Olhanense would have shut-up shop and been happy with a point but the 10 men knew three points were vital in the promotion push.
Deep into stoppage time, their positivity produced dividends when bustling centre-forward Reider Rodriguez slotted home the winner.
Top promotion battle
Olhanense entertain second place Oriental (Lisbon) at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão on Sunday at 3pm. The Lisbon side are eight points ahead of Olhanense who must win if they are to have any chance of closing the gap on a play-off place. A larger-than-normal crowd is expected so it is advisable to arrive early.
Two young Senegalese players have joined Olhanense to gain experience and further their careers. Teenagers Mouhamed Keita and Ibrahima Yade, both approaching their 20th birthdays, have joined from the SPES Academy, Thiés, Senegal.
By CHRIS WRIGHT
Photo: Dutchman Stevy Okitokandjo scored three minutes after joining the fray