by Chris Wright
Olhanense, seven league games without a win, were hoping to turn the tide when they entertained Nacional at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão on Sunday.
Having beaten the Madeira side in the Portugal Cup in November, Olhanense was looking for maximum points to re-establish their place in the top half of the league.
The TV cameras were present and the fans were in festive mood. Nacional could have taken a surprise lead as early as the seventh minute when centre-forward Orlando Sá had a free header but missed the target with Ricardo Batista at his mercy.
This was former Sporting keeper Batista’s first league game of the season. Moretto is out for at least a month with a knee injury. Yontcha, Vinicius, Delson, Djalma and Lulinha were also sidelined through injury.
Midway through the first period, Carlos Fernandes nearly gave the home side the lead when his header hit the post after a flick on from a corner.
With honours even at half-time it was the home side that was more positive after the break. It was mostly one way traffic towards the Nacional goal but the final ball left much to be desired much to the frustration of the passionate crowd.
Central defender Mauricio, back in the side after missing two games due to a family bereavement in Brazil, had two golden opportunities to score but on both occasions his headers sailed over the bar.
A six man move resulted in Jorge Gonçalves blazing his shot high and wide – he should have done better. Nacional could have taken all three points deep into stoppage time. Orlando Sá was played through but with only the keeper to beat he shot wide.
So, it ended 0-0 with the home side rueing wasted opportunities and hoping that a proven goal scorer can be found in the January transfer window.
There is now a break until January 2 when Olhanense travel to 2nd Division side Aves for a League Cup quarter-final group match.