Rob is still plugging away in Portugal. His team of all Brazilians are starting to make progress though and, if they ever stop asking to leave, might be getting somewhere with Uniao. Catch up with part 7 here.
Part one finished with Uniao Madeira 3rd in the league after 11 games, however we have conceded a lot of goals, especially in the second half of games and for that reason Carlos is out and Ange Bug (Zenga) is in. This player tactical move makes an immediate impact as we lose 0-2, without even hitting the target, not sure Ange is to blame for that though.
Bet they were thrilled!
Not to worry the Taca is backa with round three and for once we don’t throw away a 3-0 half time lead.
It will be one of two Vitoria’s in the quarters and we are only two wins from the final, I don’t want to get excited about this, but I am.
Vitoria G in the quarters then but before that we have some league fixtures to attend to. Benfica visit the Barreiros and despite playing them off the park it ends in a goalless draw, I didn’t realise we had one of those in our repertoire
Three days before Christmas we travel to Vit. G’s to see what it will be like in the cup, the answer is hopefully not like this, that’s two games without a goal. I assume we have already wound down for Christmas.
Boxing day really isn’t the best time for a tempermental team like us to be tested with an away trip to Porto and it looks like it will be back to back defeats until Nene pops up in the 88th minute to rescue a draw. It wasn’t deserved but so what.
Hoping to get ourselves back on track after what has been a poor holiday period up until now we host Felgueiras. This time we are unlucky and concede a 90th minute equaliser, I am learning to take the rough with the smooth with this adventure but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
We are away to local rivals Maritimo on the 9th of January, the halfway point in the season. Even though we play at the same stadium their capacity is 18,000 whereas ours is 14,000, strange. We dominate the game and 2-1 flatters them, we are so leaky at the back, they scored with their only shot on target.
A big gap has opened up between 2nd and 3rd, we are best of the rest behind Porto and Lisbon but 3rd to 7th is only 2 points so it is tight. I really want a european place and with Laelson and Nene we have quite the strike partnership developing, 13 apiece at the halfway stage.
A week later and we are taken to school by Academica’s keeper, he can save shots and ours can’t. It’s just one of those games, we didn’t play badly, you might even say we were the better team although the history books will say otherwise.
The board aren’t happy and suddenly we are in 6th place two points off 2nd place. Leonidas and Da Silva decide it is all getting too much. Normally I would tell these guys to do one but they are both quite good and I can’t sign anyone else so… REQUEST DENIED.
It’s another Sunday at the Barreiros, which, based on our defensive frailties is rather ironic considering it means barriers. To help prove this point we go 3:1 up by half time and despite them only having five shots on target in 90 minutes we concede three, fortunately we score six.
In an inspired piece of business and about six months after buying him I’m fed up with Savio. He has once again flattered to deceive and I swear this is the last time I ever buy this guy. It probably won’t.
Even though he wasn’t getting a game his presence was clearly missed and the team down tools against Alverca, we manage to get two shots on target and are punished accordingly.
For once we play badly and win, Belenenses didn’t really deserve to lose this but Laelson is a beast.
Two days later and is Taca time, we face Vit. guimaraes in the quarter final, I really feel like this is our chance to claim a trophy and increase our reputation, especially in Brazil where the Taca is a huge competition (it could be). Laelson bangs one in in the first minute and I just know it’s our day. Unfortunately it couldn’t have been less of our day, we peaked after a minute and it was downhill from there. Da Silva gave me a small glimmer of hope, maybe we could get an unlikely draw but his goal was nothing more than a consolation goal.
The final game of the update is away to Braga, to really highlight how our awesome flair but incredible inconsistency we play them of the park. Braga weren’t helped by Sergio Abreu’s sending off but we were always winning this game. Good of Nene to get back in the goals, he has been a bit quiet in the last few games.
Two thirds of the way through the season and we are in the European places, top scorers and top conceders!! I really can’t complain and the up and down nature of our performances is both infuriating and entertaining in equal measure.
Join us next we to see if we can stay with Benfica, I’m not sure we are going to catch Lisbon or Porto especially with our defensive frailties a third place finish is maybe do-able. In all honesty a UEFA cup place is all I really want, something to get so of the bigger name regens through the door.
You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator