Seventy-five years ago, SC Olhanense became the first team from the Algarve to appear in a Portugal Cup final when they narrowly lost 1-0 to Sporting Lisbon.
On Sunday they started out on this season’s Taça de Portugal campaign with a first round game against Armacenenses at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão. Manager Vasco Faísca made five changes from the team that won 3-2 against Real SC the previous week and gave a first start to experienced Angolan international defender Carlitos.
Armacenenses were fresh from an impressive 4-3 away win at Oriental (Lisbon) and keen to overturn their league defeat in Olhão on the opening day of the season. The early exchanges were mostly in the visitors half as Armacenenses defended in numbers hoping for the occasional breakaway.
Tommy Batista looked lively for Armacenenses but Joshua Silva and Carlitos snuffed out any promising attacks. The deadlock was broken four minutes before the interval when Hassan rose like a salmon to head home Leleco’s corner to give Olhanense the lead.
Almost immediately the visitors surged forward and could have equalised but for the woodwork and some astute defending. The second period was virtually one way traffic with Olhanense pressing forward to kill off the game but Hassan’s goal proved to be enough to ensure Olhanense were the hat for the draw for second round today (Thursday) when Segunda Liga teams, including SC Farense, join the fray.
On Saturday, Olhanense return to league action with a top-of-the-table clash against local rivals Louletano at the Algarve Stadium, Faro at 4pm. Both teams have won their first three league games with Louletano having scored four but yet to concede a goal whilst Olhanense have scored eight but conceded four. Game on.
Olhanense players meet the fans
SC Olhanense, who had to play their first two league games either behind closed doors or at the Municipal Stadium, threw open their training session to the public last Saturday.
Young fans were delighted to have their photograph taken with the players and staff, plus team photos were given out and autographs collected.
This was the first event in a series of planned visits to markets, schools and leisure facilities. In the EURO qualifiers Olhanense defender Zach Muscat played for Malta against Norway and Romania.
By Chris Wright