Campeonato de Portugal league leaders Olhanense travelled to Sintra last Sunday for a tricky game against fifth-placed 1º Dezembro.
Olhanense started with the same line-up that had run in five goals against Fabril do Barreiro the previous week. On a cold wet day, on an astro-turf pitch that had seen better days, both sides were intent on challenging for every ball. The visitors had an early scare when Yair Castro’s shot hit the base of the post.
On 10 minutes, Olhanense crafted an opening with Leleco providing a sumptuous through ball that picked out Sapara, the league’s top goal-scorer, majestically volleying home past Hugo Cardoso.
As the first half wore on, 1º Dezembro came more into the game and it was no surprise when Yair Castro volleyed them level 10 minutes before the break. Early in the second half, Olhanense had the ball in the net following a mix-up in the home defence but, for some inexplicable reason, referee Rui Mendes ruled it out.
Minutes later scored a well-orchestrated effort when Caleb lobbed the ball over the 1º Dezembro defence and Sapara calmly nodded it over the advancing keeper.
Carlitos, Muzcat and the indomitable Joshua stood firm at the heart of the Olhanense defence to see out the remainder of the game which included seven minutes of additional time.
Second-place Alverca lost 2-0 at home to Real SC so Olhanense’s 2-1 victory moves them four points clear at the top.
Louletano ended a five-game winless run with a 4-1 victory at Montijo. The home side were a goal up at the interval but the Loulé team turned the game around with second-half goals from Ricardo Alves, Carlos Filho, Abou Touré and André Fonseca.
Olhanense players called-up
Attacking wing-back Leonardo Lelo, 19, who as a junior played 32 games for the first team last season and has been an ever present this campaign, has been called up to the national Under-20 Portugal squad. The team will play England on Thursday, November 14 and Germany on Monday, November 18.
Olhanense’s classy defender Zac Muscat has once again been called up to the Malta squad for their last two UEFA European Cup qualifying round games against Spain in Cadiz on Friday, November 15 and Norway in Valetta on Monday, November 18.
Both will miss Olhanense’s league game against Sacavenenses on Sunday at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão (behind McDonalds on the EN125) – kick-off 3pm. Olhanense has 100% home record this season having won all five games, scoring 19 goals and conceding just six.
By CHRIS WRIGHT