By CHRIS WRIGHT
A penalty, converted by the ever improving Mateus, was enough to lift Olhanense into sixth place behind Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Braga and Marítimo in Liga ZON Sagres.
The home side gave under-21 international centre-back André Pinto, on loan from Porto, his first start of the season.
Opponents V.Guimarães had the former Spurs, Pompey & Glasgow Rangers player Pedro Mendes back in midfield after injury. Both sides had opportunities to score in the opening five minutes with Olhanense keeper Fabiano Freitas making a fine save from Bruno Teles.
On the counter attack, Figueroa should have scored but took one touch too many and Nilson smothered the shot. Olhanense looked very rusty after a two week absence from competitive football and no-one more so than central defender Mexer. He almost gifted Guimarães a goal after quarter-of-an-hour but Man-of-the-Match Fabiano Freitas again saved well.
Three minutes after the interval, João Paulo handled Figueroa’s cross and Mateus calmly stepped up to slot home the penalty. While Guimarães had more possession in the second-half, they found it hard to break down a stubborn Olhanense defence.
The largest cheer of the evening came on 75 minutes when substitute Salvador Agra took to the field. The promising young player had been stretchered off in the last home game against U.Leiria.
Central defender Mauricio replaced Mateus with ten minutes to go as Olhanense ‘shut-up-shop’ to secure a vital win.
UEFA Europa League Champions in Olhão Over 1,000 Olhanense fans are expected to travel to Lisbon tomorrow (Saturday) for the game against Benfica. The match kicks-off at 8.30pm and is live on TV. The following Saturday November 5, league leaders and UEFA Europa League champions FC Porto will do battle with Olhanense at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão, kick-off 8.30pm. Tickets are on sale at the Stadium from Monday. For further information contact [email protected] or phone Emily Richardson 939 486 870.
Monsaraz Millennium, producers of olive oil and wine, are the new shirt sponsors of Olhanense. With six consecutive games, starting with the match against V.Guimarães, live on TV, the company will be getting good exposure for their €100,000 investment. The sponsorship will also include the construction of a synthetic 7-a-side football pitch adjoining the stadium in Olhão.