Gil Vicente’s impressive season continued with a comfortable 2-0 win against Belenenses SAD at the Estádio Cidade de Barcelos. Juan Calero opened the scoring in his first start for the Gilistas, converting in the 68th minute after a clever assist from Samuel Lino.

The three points were secured 10 minutes later when Zé Carlos’ pinpoint cross was headed home by Élder Santana. Ricardo Soares’ side move to 40 points in the Primeira Liga, one point behind Braga who have a game in hand.

Belenenses’ miserable season continues, their lack of goal threat evident once again as they rarely looked like finding the net.

Cagey start

Gil Vicente top scorer Fran Navarro was suspended which saw 23-year-old Colombian striker Juan Calero make his first start for the Gilistas. He showed his aerial prowess in the centre of the pitch, but chances were proving hard to come by for both teams.

The visitors were well aware of the threat posed by Samuel Lino and were double teaming the Brazilian winger as much as possible. He had his first attempt in the 31st minute, dragging his shot wide after some promising play between Pedrinho and Kanya Fujimoto.

Hosts start to dominate

Gil Vicente began to make inroads with Pedrinho the first to fashion a shot on target, his effort from distance forcing a smart save from Luiz Felipe.

Diogo Calila was booked for a high shot on Lino which presented Pedrinho with another chance, his free kick unable to beat Felipe at the near post.

Referee João Pedro Pinheiro, fresh off his debacle in the Clássico, wasn’t winning any new supporters in Barcelos after booking Ricardo Soares and awarding the visitors some contentious decisions before the break.

Belenenses boss Franclim Carvalho made two substitutions at half time with Bertrand Yves Baraye and Safira replaced by Pedro Nuno and Jordan van der Gaag.

Antoine Leautey started the second half with purpose as Gil Vicente went close to taking the lead. Pedrinho’s free kick took a touch off a Belenenses defender and narrowly missed the post, the start of a succession of corners for the home side.

Lucas Cunha released Talosha who cut inside and forced a save from Felipe, Leautey next to fashion a chance that he dragged wide.

Breakthrough inevitable

The Gilistas wouldn’t be denied and deservedly took the lead in the 68th minute. Right back Zé Carlos instigated the move, playing a neat 1-2 with Juan Calero before finding Samuel Lino, the winger presenting Calero with a glorious chance that he didn’t pass up.

Ricardo Soares made a triple substitution in the 74th minute as Matheus Bueno, Bilel Aouacheria and Élder Santana replaced Fujimoto, Leaute and Calero.

Four minutes later the victory was assured. It was Zé Carlos once again, his cross picking out Santana who headed home to secure all three points.

Gil Vicente 2-0 Belenenses SAD highlights

Soares can do no wrong

Gil Vicente keep getting it done in what is becoming a season to remember. They are looking certain to equal or eclipse their best season in the top flight when they finished 5th in 1999-00.

Ricardo Soares’ side have now won eight of their last 11 matches with two draws and one loss, a 3-0 defeat against Sporting CP in December.

Soares can currently do no wrong in Barcelos.

Despite missing top scorer Fran Navarro through suspension, Juan Calero scored in his first start, seconds before he was about to be replaced by Élder Santana.

Samuel Lino, soon to be on the books at Atletico Madrid, delivered the opening assist and turned on the style before coming off to a standing ovation.

Zé Carlos was exceptional at right-back, the 23-year-old on loan from Braga thriving alongside playmaker Pedrinho.

Bye bye Belenenses

Belenenses SAD showed why they are rock bottom in the Primeira Liga and have the weakest attack in the league. It’s evident what they are trying to do, but they don’t have enough quality in the final third to make it count.

Franclim Carvalho, the 34-year-old manager who was appointed in 11 January, is rapidly running out of time before relegation becomes a formality.

By Matthew Marshall

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