These are exciting times for SC Angrense: A new batch of Miniature Heróis have made the step up from our academy to the under 19’s squad, and I’ve started looking for a new assistant to replace Roger. First let me introduce you to the 3 brightest young talents to join up with the youth squad:
Carlos Antunes – 16 years old – Attacking midfielder
He’s small, quick, a determined and hard working player with good skills, a good touch and decent passing and technique.
Fernando Batista – 15 years old – Versatile right winger
He may have some work to do in terms of the technical side of his game, but to be fair that’s the easiest side to improve. He’s also small and quick, a determined and hard working team player with decent aggression and flair.
Renato Silva – 15 years old – Striker
He’s got the potential to be a very rounded centre forward. He’s a good athlete, a good decision maker (I find that this attribute is like gold dust among young players) and has decent finishing, movement, speed, work rate and flair.
I’m not sure when we’ll see these lads take to the field in a competitive match but I certainly have high hopes for them, especially as we will soon have vacant attacking midfield and right wing spots that I will be looking to fill.
We had a friendly match against FC Porto in the middle of our 2 week break. I wanted a good performance against a good team to set us up well for a good second half of our Relegation Stage campaign, and yes, I wanted another chance to prove that anything Eduardo Almeida can do, Franjo can do better.
I tweaked Project: Meatloaf slightly, telling both centre backs to close the ball down much less and stick to their positions. Hopefully this will put an end to some of the erratic decision making that our defenders, Oliveira especially, have been making. For the friendly I also gave Jaime Seidi a try at centre back alongside Oliveira, who is on extremely thin ice. I’ve only used Seidi as a holding man so far and I wanted to give him the chance to show that he can play in defence if needed.
4514 (Only 750 of which were Porto fans) showed up at Estádio Municipal de Angra do Heroismo to watch my very first televised match. The first half was a cagey affair and not an awful lot happened until the 55th minute. Aurélio received the ball after a Porto push forward and played an excellent pass over the top down the right wing that Cristiano Magino took down. He sprinted to the byline and drilled the ball in for Medeiros to tap home from the edge of the 6 yard box.
With 20 minutes to go it was Oliveira that turned provider, launching a good long ball over the top of the FCP defence. Again Magina was there to collect but this time he was hacked down in the area by Leite. Aurélio tucked the resulting penalty into the bottom corner to put us 2 up. A couple of minutes later though Gonzalo Martinez’s deep free kick was met by an Alario header, and 5 minutes after that, André André played a great pass over our defence and Alario slotted the ball home again to equalise.
The match ended 2-2 but it gave me a lot to think about. Everyone played well, but Oliveira and Aurélio both put in good performances and threw doubt onto my recent criticism of them. Perhaps when instructed properly Oliveira is a fine centre back. Perhaps in the big games, Aurélio is Senhor Creativity. Seidi showed that he can absolutely be trusted at centre back and I also gave Antunes and Batista a run out towards the end of the match, just to give them a taste of what playing against a top team can be like.
So I got what I wanted, a good result against a good team. Actually we did far better than the sensible part of my brain ever thought we would. I may be yet to better any of Eduardo’s achievements in our unrequited rivalry but I’ll take a draw against Porto.
So here we are a week later, and it’s time to start the second half of our league campaign. To start with we welcome Torreense, who we beat in the reverse fixture thanks to a last second Benjamim strike. In terms of how we’ll set up, Project: Meatloaf is a must with us playing at home against a lesser side and I will give my “best” line up one last shot before I start dropping people. We’ve now not won in 3 competitive matches and we really need to turn that around. We’re 9 points off the relegation playoff spot so I’m still not particularly worried on that front but I want to show that we’re improving and I want to see us finish 2nd behind Caldas, who may as well have already wrapped up 1st place. 1 of our new miniature heróis, attacking midfielder Carlos Antunes, makes the bench. Ideally I’d like him to replace Medeiros when he leaves in the summer but it may be a bit soon.
6 minutes in Burguette hoofs the ball forwards from outside his own area. Bonifácio gets behind santos and sprints through on goal, but shoots straight at Azevedo.
10 minutes later we win a free kick 20 yards out, just right of centre. 36 year old Captain Valadão, who I sincerely wish was 10 years younger and could play on for 10 more years, smashes the ball at goal. It deflects off the wall and wrong foots the keeper, before flying into the far bottom corner. An excellent start for Os Heróis. I get so lost in the moment that I give Roger a high five, before we both awkwardly look at the floor and sit back in the dugout.
5 minutes before half time Torreense counter us after cutting out a bad Aurélio cross. The counter consists of a great high tempo passing move, before Esgaio holds the ball up 35 yards out and slots it through for Bonifácio who smashes it from 20 yards. The ball rockets into the top of net above Azevedo and we’re all square again.
Just after the break another awful Aurélio cross results in another Torreense counter attack. Bonifácio holds it up this time and threads a pass through for Zílio. He dribbles into the left side of our area and santos slides in to win the ball. Zílio goes to the ground and my heart stops, but it turns out the challenge was perfectly timed and play goes on. Mirandas tries to make a clearance but can only smash the ball against the fallen Zílio, and it bounces kindly for Bonifácio 6 yards out who can somehow only leather it against the bar.
This sudden dangerous counter attacking trend prompts a subtle tactical change. We’ll be fairly narrow and we’ll close down less, making ourselves more solid defensively and minimising the chance of Torreense being able to thread passes through the channels like they have been doing.
Almost 10 minutes later Hurley plays one of his patented long balls over the top and Magina takes it down, dribbling skilfully down to the right byline. He looks up and whips it in to the centre of the box where Kevin leaps up and heads it powerfully into the top left corner.
On 65 minutes yet another counter starts from yet another poor Aurélio cross. This time Leo slides the ball through for Bonifácio who picks it up about 35 yards out. He attacks the space between our midfield and defence and dribbles to the edge of our are. Benjamim stays with him but can’t win the ball. He hits his shot well to the top left corner and it brushes Azevedo’s fingertips as it flies in. All square again.
With 15 minutes to go I bring on Amonike and young Antunes on in a straight swap for Aurélio and Medeiros. Despite his part in the Porto draw I’ve lost patience with Aurélio, and as I say I want to see if Antunes can do a job in Medeiros’ absence so he comes on for his debut.
Within a couple of minutes Leo gets the ball to Bonifácio again, who brings it forward but shoots straight at Azevedo. We definitely need a defensive midfielder on now. Torreense have adapted to our narrower shape by running at us instead of passing through us and the space between our midfield and defence is killing us. So with that in mind I swap us back to Heróis Original and bring Seidi on for Hurley in the holding man role.
5 minutes later Miranda puts the ball down the line from a throw in. Antunes takes it down and puts it inside for Amonike, who steps past his marker Eustáquio and drills it in for Magina. With one deft touch he pokes into the bottom left corner from 12 yards. Fuck it, I high five Roger again. We get another late winner and the match ends 3-2. Torreense must hate us.
Find me on: