By CHRIS WRIGHT [email protected]
It was always going to be a tough fixture for Olhanense at V.Guimarães. A late start to pre-season preparation, a new manager and coaching staff, and eight summer signings in the starting line-up would test even the best of teams. Added to which the Algarve side had never won in 14 attempts at the birthplace of Portuguese nationality.
Both sides started tentatively but it was apparent early on that the big bustling Guimarães centre-forward Maazou was going to be a handful. And so it proved as his two second-half goals consigned the visitors to defeat. 0-0 at half-time and Olhanense manager Xavier would have been relatively happy with his new charges and especially holding midfielder Celestino, who was the pick of the new boys.
All that was to change soon after the break as the Niger international Maazou skipped down the wing, avoiding the lunging challenge of Ricardo Ferreira, before cutting in on goal.
Hugging the goal line, he squeezed ball between keeper and the post to give the home side the lead. Fifteen minutes later and the visitors were down to 10 men when centre-back Mladen picked-up a second yellow card for an innocuous challenge that didn’t even warrant a free-kick!
With their backs to the wall, Olhanense were leaving big gaps which last season’s Cup Winners soon exploited. Veteran keeper Ricardo made a superb fingertip save to push a shot from Barrientos onto the bar. But the former Portugal international keeper could do nothing to stop Maazou’s powerful header from Addy’s centre. Douglas, in the home goal, saved Rui Duarte’s late effort but the Algarveans returned south knowing that there is much work to do before the game with Paços de Ferreira.