By CHRIS WRIGHT firstname.lastname@example.org
SC Olhanense, without the influential João Gonçalves (suspended) and Rui Baião (injured), would probably have settled for a point before the game, but will have been disappointed not to have collected all three by the end of the match which was shown live on Sport TV on Sunday.
Both sides started tentatively but it was Beira-Mar who had a purple patch midway through the first half. Lourenço’s thunderbolt from 35 metres cannoned off the crossbar with Bruno Verissimo well beaten and then Kanu should have done better with a clear header.
Two minutes later the visitors goal was under siege again, but Bruno Verissimo made a double save which seemed to lift Olhanense who started to show some cohesion. Top goalscorer Djalmir should have pulled the ball back after rounding the home keeper and five minutes later another of his efforts hit the post.
With half-time fast approaching it was Olhanense who took the lead when defender Kanu headed into his own net under pressure from Djalmir, who with only seconds remaining nearly added to the score but saw his shot headed off the line. It would have been hard on Beira-Mar if they had gone in 2-0 down at the break.
The Olhanense fans, who made the 500 kms trip, were in good voice and their heroes nearly increased their lead midway through the second period only to see the ball skid off the wrong side of the post. Beira-Mar were pumping high balls into the penalty which the Olhanense defence found difficult to cope with. With seven minutes to go an unnecessary foul by Rui Durante gave Beira-Mar a free-kick out on the right and the resulting cross was missed by everyone except captain Cristiano who was on his knees when he headed home to rescue a point for the home side. Djalmir had a wonderful opportunity to win the game for Olhanense in the 92nd minute but he hit his shot well wide. With Santa Clara winning at home against Varzim, SC Olhanense slipped to second while Leiria closed the gap to four points with a 2-0 victory over lowly Boavista.
Olhanense at home on sunday
With only five matches remaining, the battle for the two automatic promotion places is hotting up. Olhanense entertain Freamunde on Sunday at the Estádio José Arcanjo, Olhão (rear of McDonalds on the EN125) kick-off 4pm when another large crowd is anticipated. Over 5000 fans created a tremendous atmosphere at the last home game and a noisy reception awaits the visitors from Paços de Ferreira in northern Portugal. Chelsea’s José Boswinga started his career with Freamunde. The following week the team travel to 3rd placed U.Leiria while a massive game at home to Santa Clara on the 10th May is sure to attract a full house.
97th Birthday celebrations
Next Thursday April 30, SC Olhanense celebrate the anniversary of their formation in 1912 with a Dinner and Music in Olhão. Tickets are 20 euros for members and 25 euros for non-members. Contact: Chris Wright 916 504 903 or Brian Evans 913 595 868