The League leaders, hoping to record their thirteenth consecutive home win, were held by lowly Olhanense who stole into the Dragon’s lair and nicked a point.
Targino’s early opener for the visitors was cancelled out by Jackson Martínez ten minutes into the second-half, but unlike on numerous other occasions this season, Porto were unable to kick on and Olhanense more than earned their point. Once again Olhanense had patched together a side that was still without Abdi, Ivanildo, Yontcha, Fernando Alexandre and Djaniny. Babanco and David Silva made a welcome return from the Africa Cup of Nations and new signing Lucas Souza was on the bench.
Porto were boosted by Benfica’s dropped points in Madeira, and with the Dragões at virtually full-strength, the task looked an intimidating one for Manuel Cajuda’s side. But after a succession of early corners for Porto, a rapid counter-attack from Olhanense stunned the crowd into silence.
Rui Duarte won the ball in midfield and slipped it to Babanco who opened up Porto with a defence splitting pass. Wide man Tiago Targino left Alex Sandro trailing in his wake as he bore down on goal and then showed impressive composure by rifling the ball beyond Helton from a narrowing angle. With Lucho, Izmailov and Moutinho combining in increasingly fluent fashion, the home side continued to pin their opponents back. Porto enjoyed the majority of possession either side of a short, heavy hailstorm that stopped play for several minutes. Porto also reckoned without a top class display from Rafael Bracali, on loan at Olhanense from Porto. The Brazilian showed a near-total command of his penalty area and also produced a magnificent one-handed save to deny Jackson Martínez on forty minutes.
That was as close as Porto came to an equaliser before the interval but the Dragões came out for the second half with the clear intention of turning the screw on their stubborn opponents. An equaliser resulted but in a very fortuitous fashion. Moutinho’s corner – replays show that as keeper Bracali went for the cross he was impeded by Jackson Martínez – bounced off Varela, then the post, and finally into Jackson Martínez’s path and Porto were level.
The Colombian has been little short of lethal since arriving in Portugal and when Jander was harshly adjudged to have deliberately blocked Danilo’s cross with his arm, he stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick – but blasted his shot over the bar. A near-fatal lapse in judgement from Helton almost gifted Olhanense a second shortly afterwards. Despite plenty of chances to kill the game off, Porto continued to be frustrated by the sheer tenacity and ‘never-say-die’ attitude of their opponents. Second-half substitutes Nuno Piloto, David Silva and new boy Lucas Souza replaced Evandro, Babanco and Luis Felipe.
Olhanense were clearly tiring, and the further back they retreated, the closer Porto came to finding a second goal. Mangala’s bullet header flashed inches wide of Bracali’s post as the final fifteen minutes began, and an incredible sequence saw Jackson Martínez, Danilo and Jackson Martínez again spurn presentable opportunities. Bracali pulled off yet another acrobatic double save to deny Porto and Olhanense had more than earned a third successive draw.
This was the first time Porto had failed to win a league game at home for eleven months and it was only the second goal conceded at home all season. Back in September, Porto were rather fortunate to win the reverse fixture 3-2 in Olhão which now means that, of the nine goals Porto have let in this campaign a third have been scored by Olhanense. Chris Wright
|| History repeats itself 50 years on
In 1963, Olhanense travelled to Lisbon to take on, the then, league leaders Benfica with their 100% record and star studied team. The Benfica team included Coluna, António Simões, José Augusto, José Torres and the great Eusébio. Olhanense defied the odds on that occasion and returned to the Algarve with a memorable point after a 1-1 draw. It was in that game that a young Olhanense player, Luciano, was spotted by Benfica. A year later he signed for the Eagles but was to lose his life in a tragic accident in December 1966 when he was electrocuted in the club’s hydro-massage pool. The 1960s were the best period of Benfica’s history in which they won eight Portuguese Championships, three Portuguese Cups and two European Club Champions Cup.
|| Party time in Olhão
On Sunday V.Setúbal are the visitors to the José Arcanjo Stadium with kick-off at 4.00pm. Apart from being Olhanense’s closest Premier League rivals, a mere 190kms away, there is an historic link between the two fishing communities. Prior to the game supporters of both clubs will be meeting for a BBQ on the waterfront opposite the PSP Police Station from 11.00am until 3.15pm. On the pitch both teams, separated only by goal difference near the foot of the table, will be striving to continue their recent good form.