By CHRIS WRIGHT [email protected]
The ignominy of losing to a non-league team in the Portugal Millennium Cup was further compounded when Olhanense lost to Estoril in the Carlsberg League Cup.
The lowly 2nd Division side gave the Algarve side a lesson in finishing as they eased to a 2-0 victory.
Back to league action last Sunday and Olhanense entertained high flying Rio Ave at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão. Despite having two gilt-edged opportunities in the opening few minutes, the home side found themselves behind after only 10 minutes.
Rio Ave’s first attack resulted in a corner, taken by Vitor Gomes and headed home by João Tomas. Sloppy defending from the usually reliable defence now had them chasing the game. Miguel Garcia, suspended, was sorely missed as some fine build-up play went to waste as cross after cross was either too long or easily picked off by the Rio Ave defence. Skipper Rui Duarte was the pick of the home side as he worked tirelessly in midfield. Under-21 international João Gonçlaves, making his first start of the season following a lengthy absence through injury, was replaced by the lively Greg Nwokolo at half-time.
In the second period Olhanense pressed forward but Rio Ave were getting all eleven players behind the ball with central defender Fabio Faria by far the most impressive player on the park. The home side, who have now gone 432 minutes without scoring a league goal, played some delightful football at times but never looked confident in the final third of the pitch. In a late flourish Greg Nwokolo and Zéquinha had chances to level the score but their efforts were well off target.
How Jorge Costa must wish that his top goal scorer, Djalmir, was fit for action but it may well be several more weeks before he is match fit.
Tomorrow (Saturday) Olhanense travel to V.Setúbal for a vital game. Both teams languish near the bottom of the league and Olhanense are desperate for a win to restore confidence to the young squad that last won in mid September.
Tasca do Zé André Café near the riverside in Tavira must contain one of the best displays of football scarves in the Algarve.
More than 80 scarves from Aldershot Town, Barnsley and WBA to the more illustrious teams of Inter Milan, Porto, Chelsea and Manchester United adorn the walls of this small friendly café.
Last week Philip Shaw and his sons Keelan and Malin from Enfield, Middlesex met up with Olhanense fans to watch the game against Estoril on Sport TV.
The Shaws, who have a holiday home near Moncarpacho, are season ticket holders at Chelsea but love their visits to watch Olhanense.
Philip said, “We now organise our trips to coincide with home games. On our first visit to watch them last season we were introduced to the President Isodoro Sousa and everyone made us so welcome.”
Keelan and Malin think the atmosphere is ‘wicked’ and keep abreast of team news via the internet, even featuring Olhanense on their Nintendo Football Championship game.