By CHRIS WRIGHT
An 18th minute goal by Nuno Piloto gave Olhanense a deserved 1-0 victory over U.Leiria on Sunday.
U.Leiria were only founded in 1966 but have made great strides since then. José Mourinho cut his managerial teeth there before moving on to Porto in 2002 while the current Benfica boss Jorge Jesus was in charge five years ago.
Another lively start and the Algarveans could have gone ahead as early as the fourth minute when João Gonçlaves pass found Yontcha in space but his shot whistled just wide with Gottardi well beaten. With only 15 minutes on the clock, it was all Olhanense, when the ever industrious Paulo Sérgio picked out Nuno Piloto with a 60 metres diagonal ball.
The midfielder, ghosting in from the right, calmly placed the ball wide of the keeper. The first home goal of the new season and the crowd sensed that more would follow but the home side failed to convert their dominance as a number of chances went begging.
Shortly after half-time Nuno Piloto picked out Yontcha with a millimetre perfect through ball but the big centre-forward took one touch too many and the opportunity was wasted.
U.Leira were using the route one method, long balls down the centre, and a mix-up between keeper Moretto and Carlos Fernandes nearly handed N’Gal an equaliser.
A number of decisions by referee Hugo Pacheco incensed the crowd as U.Leiria resorted to physical tactics. The Olhanense trainer was working overtime as João Gonçlaves, Jardel and Jorge Gonçalves received attention in quick succession.
Toy replaced Jorge Gonçlaves, who was having a quiet game, whilst Delson came on for Yontcha and Djalmir replaced goal scorer Nuno Piloto. Deep into the six minutes of stoppage time Paulo Sérgio centred to give Djalmir the easiest of chances but inexplicably his effort from five metres sailed over the crossbar.
This win keeps Olhanense in the top half of the table but September promises to be a difficult month with away games at Sporting and FC Porto, and the local derby at home to Portimonense. Manager Daúto Faquirá will be looking for more clinical finishing if the team are to pick-up points against the top teams.
Olhanense away to Sporting
Saturday 11th September KO 7.15pm. Transport leaves Olhão at 9.30am. Coach travel & lunch in Setubal: 30euros all inclusive. Ticket for game extra but should be no more than 20euros and probably less.
For further information contact Emily Richardson 939 486 870 or email: [email protected]