By CHRIS WRIGHT
Intrepid Olhanense fans set off from Olhão before daybreak last Saturday for the 600kms journey to Braga to watch their team take on Sporting Braga at the impressive AXA Stadium.
This season Sp.Braga entered the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time after impressive wins over Celtic and Sevilha. Having lost heavily to Arsenal 6-0 and 3-0 to Shaktar (Ukraine), a 2-0 home win over Partizan (Serbia) gave them extra confidence going into their match with SC Olhanense.
Braga, who owe their Sporting Club tag to the better known Sporting Clube de Portugal, changed their kits from green-and-white hoops to their Arsenal-style red in 1920 when their then-coach József Szabó, following a trip to England and Highbury, ordered the club to adopt new colours to establish their own identity. Braga even renamed their youth team Arsenal do Braga.
Olhanense, with ever mounting injury problems, started with Toy up front and Mexer making his first start of the season as an extra defender. The home side showed their intentions by forcing three corners in the first five minutes. On 35 minutes, Olhanense keeper Moretto made a superb save from Luis Agular’s deceptive cross. It was constant pressure from os arsenalistas but five minutes later it was the Algarveans who took an unexpected lead.
A free-kick out on the left was whipped in by Paulo Sérgio and centre-back Mauricio rose above the Braga defence to head the ball home past Felipe. The home supporters fell silent while the 200 visiting fans went wild.
At half-time, Olhanense were forced to replace the influential but injured Vinicius with Rui Duarte. Within a few minutes of the restart, the scores were level when Massoró scored from a cleverly worked corner with the Olhanense defence half asleep! The home side were now totally in command and deservedly took the lead through Lima, although Moretto will be disappointed with his attempt to save the angled shot.
Chaos ensued on the hour when Jardel lost his boot while making a goal line clearance with the keeper well beaten. Referee Artur Soares Dias awarded Braga an indirect free-kick six metres from goal. Technically, the referee was correct but certainly not within the spirit of the law.
Elderson rolled the ball to Lima who smashed home his second goal to put the result (3-1) beyond doubt. Olhanense will not be too despondent as this was only their second defeat of the season but manager Daúto Faquirá will be concerned with his ever increasing injury list. The win lifts Braga above Olhanense who slipped to sixth place in Liga Zon Sagres.
As the paper went to print (Wednesday), Olhanense were playing 2nd Division Oliveirense away in the second phase, first leg, of the League Cup. The second leg takes place at home on Wednesday November 10 kick-off 4pm.
Olhanense ‘Os Gorilas’ group enjoy tranquility of Bom Jesus
Following the excitement and glamour surrounding the televised game between Sp.Braga and Olhanense, the Os Gorilas supporters group enjoyed the peace and beautiful surroundings of the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary high above the city
The Sanctuary is a notable example of a pilgrimage site with a monumental, Baroque stairway that climbs 116 metres (381 feet).
The present Sanctuary was started in 1722, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Braga, Rodrigo de Moura Telles.