Olhanense continue to climb


Twenty years ago, a young clarinet player, João Paulo Ferreira, did his military service in Coimbra and was a prominent member of the Portuguese army band.

On Sunday, Ferreira the Gorilla, as the gentle giant is affectionately known to his friends, returned to the university city.

With his family and a coach load of football fans, the mission was to support Olhanense as they tackled Académica in an important Liga Sagres match.

Ferreira, who is with the GNR in Olhão and a passionate Olhanense fan, has organised many away trips including the memorable visit to Madeira last December.

Vicky and Larry Bawden, celebrating 44 years of marriage, had never been to a football match before joining Olhanense last year.

Vicky said: “We travelled the world before settling in Tavira several years ago but the friendship and camaraderie we have enjoyed with the wonderful fans of Olhanense is beyond comparison.”

Leaving Olhão in the early hours of the morning, the six-hour coach journey flew by as the Portuguese and English fans attempted many football songs accompanied by Ferreira on the clarinet.

An enthralling match at the Coimbra Stadium disappointingly attracted a crowd of only 3,152, which was poor considering that Académica had beaten Sporting 2-1 in Lisbon the previous weekend.

Olhanense were forced to make several changes. Anselmo, Stephane and skipper Rui Duarte were absent through injury, whilst central defender Tengarrinha was suspended having amassed five yellow cards. Delson was drafted into midfield and Sandro slotted into the back four.

The first ten minutes saw the home side camped in the Olhanense half as the Algarveans struggled to create some cohesion. Gradually the visitors took control and on twenty minutes the competitive Delson won the ball in midfield and played it out to Ukra on the left who was illegally impeded.

A quickly taken free-kick and Ukra’s superb cross found the head of the unmarked Djalmir to give Olhanense a deserved lead. Ten minutes later and all the good work was undone when a sloppy challenge by Paulo Sérgio handed the home side a penalty. The resulting spot kick was duly despatched by Tiero despite a valiant effort by keeper Ventura.

The second period saw both teams playing attractive football but then the home side lost goalscorer Tiero, dismissed in the 66th minute for a two-footed challenge.

It now looked as if Olhanense might go on to secure their first double of the season having beaten ‘Os Estudantes’ 2-1 in Olhão in September. Jorge Costa introduced forwards Toy, Rabiola and Yazalde as the visitors endeavoured to record their first away win of the season.

But it was not to be and Académica nearly snatched victory when Nuno Coelho’s close range effort was spectacularly saved by Ventura with only minutes remaining. This 1-1 draw lifted Olhanense to 12th place in the league table, above V. Setúbal and Naval.

The travel-weary but happy fans returned home in the early hours of Monday morning already planning their weekend visit to Braga at the end of the month.

The trip including travel, 3-star accommodation on the Saturday night, three meals, coach tours of Porto (Saturday), Bom Jesus de Braga and Guimarães/Barcelos (Sunday) is 80 euros per head.

Contact Emily Richardson 939 486 870 for further information.

SPORTING IN TOWN: Tomorrow (Saturday) Sporting visit the José Arcanjo Stadium with a 9.15pm kick-off. Olhanense, with only one defeat in their last seven games, will be eager to avenge their 3-2 defeat in Lisbon last September.