by Chris Wright
SC Olhanense travelled to third placed Gil Vicente full of confidence for their Liga Vitalis top-of-the-table clash on Sunday.
Unbeaten in the league since November 23 and fresh from their exploits at Benfica and
V. Guimarães, the team were hoping to impress the live television audience but it was not to be a good day for the Olhão-based team, who not only lost 3-0 but had two players sent off.
Gil Vicente were demoted from the Premier Liga in 2007 for playing an unregistered Angolan international. The Mateus Affair could have torn apart Portuguese football and only when FIFA threatened to suspend Portugal from all international competitions was the situation resolved.
A heavy downpour early in the match made conditions difficult and it was the home side who posed more of a threat.
In the 35th minute Olhanense might have taken the lead when a rare attack saw Ukra go past three defenders but his shot lacked power. Three minutes later Gil Vicente took the lead when defender Pedro’s free-kick curled into the top right-hand corner.
Early in the second period the home side made it 2-0 when a defensive lapse by Stephane allowed the lively Monteiro to score with an angled cross shot. Olhanense were being outplayed in all departments and Jorge Costa brought on Toy, Castro and Guga to replace Bruno Mestre, Rui Balão and Messi but within ten minutes matters got worse.
Guga was penalised for diving, when replays showed he was tripped, and with Lucillo Baptista showing a straight red card one can only assume that the Brazilian forward had said something to the referee.
Stephane was next to have an early bath when he collected two yellow cards within three minutes. It was therefore no surprise when Gil Vicente scored with virtually the last kick of the game through Zequinha to complete a comprehensive victory.
Olhanense, who have had three players sent off in their last two league matches, must act with more discipline if they are to maintain top spot in the league.
They travel to fifth placed Estoril on Sunday for an 11.15am kick-off. The match is being televised on Sport TV 1.