By CHRIS WRIGHT
Portimonense originally qualified for the finals stages of the Carlsberg League Cup through the bizarre rule that when all teams finished level in a group, the team with the lowest average age would proceed.
The Portimão side made three late substitutions to enable them to qualify. Opponents Academica subsequently appealed to the Football Court of Justice and Portimonense were expelled.
Consequently Olhanense and Portimonense had no interest in the League Cup last weekend so took the opportunity to play a friendly game, with the Liga Sagres team running out 5-2 winners.
New signing Yazalde found the net whilst Paulo Sérgio, Djalmir, Rui Duarte and Castro also scored for Olhanense. João Pedro and Garavano replied for Portimonense.
Yazalde will be remembered for scoring a fine goal for Portugal Under 21s in their impressive 2-1 victory over Greece at the José Arcanjo Stadium back in November.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Olhanense travel to sixth placed U.Leiria, who were trounced 4-1 in their League Cup game at Sp.Braga last Sunday.
U.Leiria, managed by former Portimonense boss Lito Vidigal, have sold their promising right-back Hugo Gomes to Inter Baku, leaders of the Azerbaijan championship, for 100,000 euros. Last season U.Leiria made a late surge to secure the second promotion spot from Liga Vitalis with a win on the last day of the season. Olhanense will be hoping to improve on last season’s 5-1 defeat at Leiria. Centre-forward Djalmir returns to the squad following his three-match suspension after being sent off against Benfica.
New boys Lionn, Delson and Yazalde will also be vying for a place in the starting line-up.
Olhanense’s next home game is on Sunday, February 7, kick-off 3pm, against Nacional from Madeira.
Yesterday’s (Thursday’s) televised (SportTV1, 8.15pm) top Liga de Honra clash between Portimão and Beira-Mar in Aveiro was preceded by a less than perfect rehearsal for the Algarvean promotion candidates.
In a practice match against top-tier neighbours Olhao, coach Litos’ men were overrun 5-2 but it is hoped that 18-year-old on-loan Porto striker Yero, the third winter transfer window signing, will have made an immediate impact.
Meanwhile, one division lower both Loule and Lagoa are making steady progress following an indifferent start to the season.
The two Algarve clubs are currently in fifth and sixth place but have it all to do to catch runaway leaders Uniao da Madeira. S.B.