By CHRIS WRIGHT [email protected]
Following three successive draws, including a magnificent 2-2 draw with league leaders Benfica, Olhanense were looking to pull away from the basement of Liga Sagres with a win against Naval last Saturday.
Jorge Costa’s depleted squad duly obliged with a valiant 1-0 victory through a glorious goal from Castro. Both teams started nervously and it was the diminutive and hard working Paulo Sérgio who was instrumental in many of the home side’s attacks.
Referee Vasco Santos had a nightmare 45 minutes giving some incredulous decisions including a booking for Ukra. The Porto loan player was clear through on goal when he was upended by Naval defender Camora on the edge of the penalty area. Even the referee’s assistant, who was nearest the incident, indicated a foul!
Amazingly, the referee awarded Naval a free-kick and showed Ukra a yellow card for simulation. This incensed the crowd but seemed to motivate the team who raised their tempo and shortly before the interval, Ukra saw his 40 metres free-kick cannon off the crossbar.
There was still time for the referee to book further home players Tengarrinha and Castro. The vociferous crowd made their displeasure known as the officials left the pitch at halftime.
In the 51st minute, a delightful move down the left involving Paulo Sérgio and Ukra resulted in Castro curling a shot inside the far post – a goal worthy of winning any game. Ten minutes later, Olhanense nearly increased their lead when a jinxing run by Rabiola ended when his shot deflected off the post to safety.
Naval manager Augusto Inácio, who was a member of the Portugal team that defeated England in the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, then brought on Alex Haux, Ouattara and Tandia. His tactics were to play the long ball game in the hope that his tall forwards could capitalise on their height. But the Olhanense defence remained resolute with Anselmo and Carlos Fernandes determined to ensure their team recorded their first victory since mid-September.
There was still time for referee Santos to commit one more faux pax when he booked Carlitos, showing the bemused Naval defender a white card before realising his error. This vital win lifts Olhanense to 13th place. Local fans continue their strong support with the average gate of 4,700 being the sixth highest in Liga Sagres. Olhanense has no game this weekend which is set aside for the final games in the 3rd phase of the Carlsberg League Cup.
On Monday Jorge Costa was able to add two replacements to his depleted squad. Portugal Under-21 international striker Yazalde has been signed from Sporting Braga, on loan, until the end of the season. In addition, the defensive midfield Brazilian Delson, 29, arrives in Olhão having been released by Greek side Larissa. He was previously with Liga Sagres rivals Rio Ave. Players who have left the club are Messi to Inter Luanda (Angola), Gomis to 2nd Division Vizela and defender Sandro to China. The next game is away to U. Leiria on Saturday, January 30. Anyone interested in travelling to the game should contact Emily Richardson on 939 486 870.