By CHRIS RIGHT [email protected]
Two narrow defeats at the hands of Sporting and Sp. Braga and now the really big game against FC Porto in Olhão on Sunday.
The passionate football fans of the Algarve have certainly had an exciting month of Super Liga football. They will be relishing the battle with FC Porto, where manager Jorge Costa received national and world fame as he led them to the UEFA Champions League title in 2004.
On Friday, Olhanense were in action five days after their sterling performance against Sporting in Lisbon.
They were again unlucky not to claim a point against league leaders Sp. Braga, who travelled south full of confidence having beaten Porto the previous week to remain top of Liga Sagres with a 100 per cent record.
A crowd of more than 7,000 witnessed a game that was evenly balanced until the final minute of the first half. Both teams played open attacking football with Ukra again demonstrating his array of skills.
Olhanense were without central defenders Carlos Fernandes and Rui Baião, serving the second of their two match suspensions, but the defence looked comfortable.
Then disaster struck when a poor back pass by Stephane resulted in goalkeeper Ventura rushing out to dive at the feet of Mossoro.
In the process, he conceded a penalty and received a straight red card.
The home side brought on Tavira-born keeper Bruno Verissimo, making his first appearance of the season, who was relieved to see Meyong’s spot kick sail over the bar.
In the second period, Bruno was to make several fine saves as his beleaguered colleagues fought to keep out a rampant Braga attack.
Olhanense defended with great commitment until the 95th minute, when the Brazilian Alan scored from an acute angle. The fourth official had indicated four minutes of added time.
The heartbroken team were given a rousing ovation by their fans, who felt their team deserved more from two great performances against the elite of Portuguese football.
Jorge Costa, speaking after the game, said: “I must praise the team who have adapted so well to football at this high level. They are young and learning more every game. We will make our supporters proud of us.”
Porto in town
Tickets are priced from €10 to €20 for the visit of FC Porto on Sunday, kick-off 8.15pm. The Ticket Office in front of the ground is open today (Friday) from 10am and on Sunday three hours before the game. Supporters are urged to arrive early to avoid congestion.