Nine man Olhanense record famous victory


Fans started arriving at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão three hours before kick-off on Sunday to soak up the atmosphere on this historic occasion.

Olhanense was entertaining Académica from Coimbra in the first game to be played at the newly refurbished stadium and there was a buzz of expectation in the packed cafes around the ground.

Little did they know what drama was to unfold during the afternoon. Many supporters were still queuing to enter the ground when midfield dynamo Castro latched on to a defensive mistake to tap home the ball. 1-0 up with less than 60 seconds on the clock, this was the dream start the home supporters hoped for.

Eight minutes later their joy turned to despair as the home side was reduced to 10 men when Carlos Fernandes was sent-off for a rash challenge. Jorge Costa immediately withdrew centre-forward Rabiola to be replaced by central defender Tengarrinha.

Olhanense continued to work hard with Rui Duarte and Castro constantly breaking from midfield but it was Académica who drew level midway through the first half. Hand-ball by Sandro in the box and Lito duly despatched the penalty.

Ukra, the star of Portugal’s recent Under 21 European Championship victory over Lithuania, was having a quiet game but midway through the first half his jinxing run set-up Toy to give Olhanense a 2-1 lead.

Anselmo, Rui Baião and Sandro were solid at the back while wing back Miguel Garcia continues to impress.

On the hour mark there was further disaster for Olhanense. Penalty scorer Lito bent to head the ball whilst Rui Baião had his foot up. Definitely a free-kick which warranted a caution but Porto referee, Artur Soares Dias flourished the red card and the home side were down to nine men.

The crowd of over 5,000 was rightly incensed but the cacophony of sound spurred on the home side.

Costa again got it right as he took off Ukra and brought on the experienced Éder Baiano. The Olhanense team worked tirelessly as they repelled the many Académica attacks. Rafaels glancing header did clip the post whilst keeper Ventura made two great saves but the visitors were generally bereft of ideas.

They conceded numerous free-kicks as Toy continued to cause problems for their defence yet the referee failed to take any other action.

With the final whistle fast approaching the ground reverberated to a frenzy of singing and chanting that would not have been out of place at the ‘Last Night of the Proms’!

Olhanense moved up to 7th in Liga Sagres but the true test comes on Monday (September 21) when they travel to Lisbon to play Sporting.

The game is live on Sport TV. The next home game in Olhão is on Friday, September 25, kick-off 8.15pm when league leaders Braga are the visitors.