Liga II wrap: Marítimo beat Paços as AVS go joint top

In a big Liga II clash that last season would have been a Primeira Liga encounter, Marítimo continued their efforts to bounce straight back with a 2-0 victory over Paços de Ferreira in Madeira.

Elsewhere AVS won away at Leiria to go joint top of the standings, and Torreense enjoyed an impressive 3-1 win over previous leaders Oliveirense, with a brace from our featured “Player making Waves” Jorge Correa. 


Marítimo 2-0 Paços de Ferreria

The two pre-season favourites for promotion met on Saturday evening. Marítimo and Paços de Ferreira could both return to the top division together; however, the winner of this match would not only enjoy the driving seat for the time being but would also pose an early question to the losing side: Can you keep up?

From the outset, Paços’ tactics seemed unusual. The first half revolved around right-back Aldair Neves as he often switched between playing as a right winger and a right-back. This role attributed to Neves role left the right-hand flank vulnerable, and in the 14th minute, Marítimo exploited it. A free Lucas Silva sent a pass across the box which evaded everyone in the centre, finding full-back Igor Julião at the back post to guide home the opener.

Neves’ advanced position did pose a threat to Marítimo at times, the former Sanjoanense player created Paços’ best chance finding João Celeri in the six-yard box, but Celeri’s close-range effort was well saved by goalkeeper Samu. Towards the end of the half, Marítimo almost replicated their first goal when Silva dispossessed Neves finding Julião once again. However, this time, the Brazilian’s poor control saw the chance go begging. 

Half time arrived and Paços de Ferreira’s game plan had been, to say the least, confusing to understand. Coach Ricardo Silva is perhaps at fault for the 1-0 scoreline, as there wasn’t much separating both teams except for the tactical mishap. It appeared that Silva intended for his team to switch formations throughout the game while granting Aldair Neves a lot of freedom. If this was indeed the plan, it backfired and led to an avoidable goal for Paços.

The visitors remained in a consistent formation throughout the second half, controlling possession and creating similar chances as in the first. However, it was all in vain as Marítimo secured the game in the 70th minute when Welton was dispossessed; the ball finding its way to Platiny who curled in a fantastic effort from range into the top right corner.  Marítimo would park the bus and see out the remainder of the game.

Marítimo won both fixtures when they met Paços de Ferreira last season in Liga I, and that status quo has continued into Liga II, as Tulipa’s men from Madeira reign supreme finding themselves in fourth place after four games. Paços de Ferreira now sit in 9th.


Leiria 1-2 AVS

Yet another week in which AVS’s undefeated streak was on the line, this time visiting the 24,000-seat Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, home of União de Leiria. The stadium has certainly seen better days since its creation for the 2004 Euros, but another big crowd turned out hoping to see the next phase of the rebirth of Leiria.

It seemed like Leiria was on course to hand AVS their first loss when the ball was headed past keeper Pedro Trigueira by striker Bryan Róchez, but it was correctly ruled out after the flag went up. Six minutes after the disallowed goal, AVS scored the opener. Bernardo displayed good footwork to keep three Leiria defenders guessing, finding the angle for a clever finish through the defender’s legs.

Leiria had a chance to level from the penalty spot just before halftime, when the ball struck AVS defender Fernando Fonseca’s arm. However, Róchez was denied once again, this time by Trigueira, who correctly guessed and comfortably stopped the penalty, maintaining the away team’s advantage heading into the interval. 

Five minutes after the restart, a corner routine from AVS proved successful when 40-year-old Nenê headed home doubling Vila das Aves’ advantage. Leiria made the game a contest again in the 68th minute with a well-worked goal from Jair, who capitalized on a flick-on by Leandro Antunes, smashing the ball through Trigueira’s legs decisively.

Tensions were high as Leiria looked determined to find an equaliser, with the game’s finale filled with controversy. It seemed like the home side had equalised when the ball ended up in the net again from Jair, this time a header from a corner, but the assistant referee judged Sérgio Ribeiro’s delivery had gone out of play before reaching Jair.

AVS’s tough battle to maintain the scoreline then got even tougher in the final minutes when Fernando Fonseca had a moment of madness, intentionally knocking down Leiria’s Antunes while the ball was out of play, before making his dismissal a straightforward decision when Fonseca pushed his head against a downed Antunes.

Fortunately for AVS, the antics of Fonseca did not prove costly as they saw out the result and extended their unbeaten streak with yet another win. Jorge Costa’s men now occupy a promotion place, sitting second in the Liga, level on ten points with the new leader Santa Clara.


Player making waves: Jorge Correa

It was another impressive weekend in Liga Portugal 2 for Torreense as they ended pre-match league leaders Oliveirense’s flawless start to the season. Crucial to the big win was the former Vélez Sarsfield and Marítimo man Jorge Correa who scored a brace in the opening eight minutes of the match.

The Argentine was a man possessed in the game’s early stages, constantly in the right place and always offering an option to his teammates – crucial reasons for his successful day in front of goal.

Correa did well to angle the ball past the Oliveirense defender and into the keeper-less net for his opening goal, whilst his second goal was a little fortunate. Picking up the ball just inside the box, Correa got his shot away his left foot, which hit the boot of goalkeeper Arthur Augusto but squeezed under the Brazilian stopper and rolled slowly into the goal.

Correa’s rapid brace sees Torreense keep pace with the boys at the top sitting 5th. It’s been a good start to the season for the men from Torres Vedras, especially so when you consider they have played the sides in 1st, 2nd and 3rd position.


Liga II Jornada 4 results:

Tondela 0-1 Os Belenenses

Mafra 2-1 FC Porto B

Feirense 0-2 Santa Clara

União Leiria 1-2 AVS

Penafiel 0-0 Académico de Viseu

Marítimo 2-0 Paços de Ferreira

Torreense 3-1 Oliveirense

Leixões 1-1 Benfica B

Vilaverdense 1-2 Nacional

By José Almeida