Guadiana ‘mystery’

The 13th Guadiana Tournament, one of Portugal’s most prestigious pre-season tournaments, took place earlier this week, although many people may not have known about it.

Traditionally staged in Vila Real de Santo António, the three-way invitational event usually featuring one English club moved to the Stadium of the Algarve in recent times. Earlier this year, the same venue was muted with first Norwich and then Sunderland given as the opponents for Sporting Lisboa and Braga.

Last Monday evening at 9.15 the opening fixture was played in Portimão! And the 3-2 winners over Sporting were … West Ham. No information concerning venue or third participant were ‘leaked’ by the Hammers’ website or Portimonense stadium staff before full page colour ads suddenly appeared in the national press on the Friday prior to the fixture.

The East London side staged a second-half comeback with goals from skipper Kevin Nolan and a brace from youngster Ravel Morrison. It was not looking good for Sam Allardyce’s side at half-time after Matt Taylor handled in the box, allowing Diego Capel to slot home a penalty for Sporting. Morrison’s first goal was a spectacular long range effort that left keeper Marcelo Boeck stranded.

The Lisbon side pulled it back to 3-2 with a late goal from William Carvalho after a flick on by Wilson Eduardo. Particularly impressive for West Ham was new signing Romanian international Răzvan Raț who created two of their three goals. Skip Bandele & Chris Wright