Representatives of Wisla Krakow (Poland), Blackburn Rovers (England), Marseille and Brest (France), Atlanta (USA), Recreativo de Huelva (Spain) and Cologne (Germany) were in Olhão on Monday night to cast their eyes over some of Olhanense’s young football stars. Brazilian goalkeeper Fabiano Freitas, one of the revelations of the season, plus Cauê and Salvador Agra may well be on their way in the transfer window, while Yontche can also leave in January.
With the lowest playing budget (€1.4m) in the league, the continued presence of the Algarve side in the top flight relies on generating income from shrewd transfer deals.
Sixth placed Olhanense were in confident mood as they faced Academica, who had never won in sixteen visits.
In a below par performance the home side had opportunities to take the lead and Salvador Agra’s exquisite through ball found Yontcha with only the goalkeeper to beat but the Cameroon striker put his shot straight at Peiser.
The final few minutes of the first-half were to be decisive. Figueroa got caught in possession in the penalty area and then brought down Eder. Adrien Silva converted the penalty to put Academica one up.
Minutes later and centre-back Mexer was dismissed for a second yellow card. The home side were down to ten men with a mountain to climb and with centre-back Mauricio also missing, having amassed five yellow cards, manager Daúto Faquirá had few options. Academica, despite their poor form this season, recently had a comprehensive 3-0 win over Porto in the Portugal Cup and were determined to record only their second away win of the season.
Rui Duarte replaced Yontcha but five minutes into the second period a wonder goal from Adrien Silva put the result beyond doubt. His long range effort flew in off the underside of the bar giving Fabiano Freitas no chance.
Veteran strikers Djalmir and Toy came on for the last twenty minutes as Olhanense pushed forward. It was only in the last ten minutes that the ten men made any impression but once again Olhanense were unable to take their chances.
Olhanense drop to seventh place with only three points separating the nine teams below them.
BRAGA NEXT IN TOWN
Next week will be decisive in moulding Olhanense’s season. On Monday night, UEFA Europa League runners-up SC Braga are the visitors to the Jose Arcanjo Stadium; kick-off 8.15pm.
UP FOR THE CUP!
On Thursday (December 22) Olhanense travel to 2nd Division Oliveirense (Porto region) for the quarter-final of the Taça de Portugal.
The last and only time Olhanense has reached the semi-finals of the Portugal Cup was in 1944-5 when they went on to lose the final 1-0 against Sporting.
Last season Olhanense knocked Oliveirense out of the League Cup, losing 0-1 away but winning 4-1 at home.
The other three ties are Sporting v. Marítimo (Madeira), Académica v. Aves and Moreirense v. Nacional (Madeira).