Nine men hold on for fantastic victory

Olhanense travelled to Vila do Conde more in hope than expectation. Fifth placed Rio Ave had the previous week beaten Sporting Lisbon 3-0 in the League Cup and had on-loan €10 million Manchester United striker Bebé waiting to make his debut.

On the other hand, Olhanense, without an away win this season, had only 15 players to choose from. Babanco, David Silva and Djaniny are with the Cape Verde squad who unexpectedly qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations Finals taking place in South Africa this month. Luis Felipe and Mauricio are still recovering from injury while Rui Sampaio, Fernandez and Vítor Vinha have left the club at the start of the transfer window.

The home side pressed from the start but Olhanense held firm and keeper Bracali was in sparkling form.

Skipper Rui Duarte picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge midway through the first period which was to have serious implications later in the game.

The second half saw the home side continue to press and when striker Bebé joined the fray, the home side looked favourites to take all three points. But on 72 minutes Olhanense surprisingly took the lead. Abdi played the ball diagonally across field to Rui Duarte who whipped over a cross for Targino to head home.

Minutes later Rui Duarte was sent off following a second yellow and with nine minutes remaining Vasco Fernandes received a straight red.

Down to nine men, the visitors maintained a spirited defence to record their fourth successive away win at Rio Ave since promotion in 2009. A stunning result that lifted Olhanense into eighth place.