NICK LEYDEN - Monday, August 20, 2012
Tony Taylor and Caleb Patterson-Sewell both made their first division debuts in the starting lineups for Estoril and Setúbal respectively, though neither could notch a win on the opening weekend.
SC Olhanense 2-1 GD Estoril Praia
Taylor and Estoril fell on the road to Olhanense in the opening game of the Portuguese season on Friday night.
The former US youth international started as part of a three man attack, alongside Licá and Luis Leal, but was replaced early in the second half with only a yellow card to show for his efforts.
Olhanense fed off the opening day crowd to control the initial exchanges so it was somewhat of a surprise that Estoril struck first. The Canarinhos took the lead in the 25th minute through a penalty kick by Steven Vitória, the guests' most impressive player on the day, following a Nuno Reis handball in the box.
Estoril's lead did not last long, however, as Jean Paul Yontcha equalized for Olhanense in the 29th minute by beating the entire Estoril defense to the front post and poking in Abdi's low cross.
Taylor had been booked less than a minute before the goal, though his foul did not directly lead to Yontcha's chance.
The game remained tied until the 59th minute when Fernando Alexandre hit a low 30 yard bomb into the side netting that left Renan little chance in the Estoril goal.
Marcos Silva chose to replace Taylor with Guinea Bissau attacker Gerso following the goal, the first of three offensive substitutions, though in the end Estoril was unable to find the goal that would have earned a point in the season's first weekend.
In his sixty minutes of action the Florida product made a couple impressive runs that led to a dangerous free kick and a corner kick in the 32nd and 52nd minute respectively, but neither Taylor nor any of his teammates consistently threatened the hosts' back line.
Taylor and company will next host a first division game in the Estádio António Coimbra da Mota for the first time in seven years on 8/26 when Paços de Ferreira comes to town.
CD Nacional 2-2 Vitória de Setúbal
Also making his first division debut, Caleb Patterson-Sewell manned the nets for Setúbal in their thrilling tie with Nacional.
A long road trip to the island of Madeira to face a perennially tough Nacional team threatened to end Setúbal's 11 year streak of not losing their season opener, but two late goals allowed the Sadinos to extend it to a 12th year.
Setúbal were unable to break the deadlock in the first half despite a strong performance in which they created multiple scoring chances through the likes of Albert Ze Meyong and Cristiano, both of whom would eventually have their say.
It was the second half, though, in which the fireworks truly went off with six yellow cards, one red card and four goals.
Nacional got on the scoreboard first in the 71st minute through a Claudemir penalty kick which followed a handball by Ney Santos, his second yellow card in a five minute span.
Patterson-Sewell was beaten again just four minutes later on a free kick by Isael which gave the hosts a two goal advantage, but Setúbal were back to within one before Nacional even had a chance to shift tactics and sit on their lead.
Just a minute after Isael's goal substitute Pedro Santos was taken down in the Nacional box. Veteran Cameroonian forward Ze Meyong buried the spot kick, marking the game's third goal in six minutes.
Jose Mota's team completed the comeback in the 85th minute when Cristiano finished off a cross from Ze Meyong.
Despite giving up two goals, both of which were on set pieces, Patterson-Sewell was solid. And in fact, maybe his best save came on another type of set piece in the 68th minute when he had to punch Claudemir's corner kick clear as it looked to be curling into the net.
Setúbal's next game will be at home on 8/26, though it won't get any easier as it will be powerhouse Benfica visiting the Estádio do Bonfim .
Oguchi Onyewu was not involved in Sporting's 0-0 tie on the road with Vitória de Guimarães due to a continuing knee problem. The Lions dominated the game and created myriad scoring chances, but could not find the winning goal. After Portugal's other title hopefuls, Porto, Benfica and Braga, all tied earlier in the weekend Sporting had an early chance to gain points on their rivals but will head back to Lisbon with a frustrating single point.