Liga II update: Managerial changes in Portugal’s second tier

It was a weekend of change in Liga Portugal 2 as two new managers took the helm of struggling sides in the division. Jorge Simão’s first game in charge would be in one of the most enticing fixtures of Jornada 8, as two pre-season promotion contenders faced off when the Liga’s in-form side Nacional met Simão’s Académico de Viseu.

Elsewhere, we got a look at the aftermath of the first manager change of the season as Länk Vilaverdense’s new trainer Sérgio Machado endured a tough first test at home to flying Porto B. 

União de Leiria, meanwhile, are climbing up the table nicely, with the famous old name reaping the benefits of a rejuvenated Bryan Róchez (pictured). 


Nacional 1-1 Académico Viseu

After two defeats in their opening two games, Tiago Margarido had his Nacional men firing on all cylinders, with five consecutive wins since that duo of losses.

Viseu on the other hand are trending in the other direction, with only one win all season and winless in their last four. It’s been a less-than-ideal run of games for Viseu, but this is an unforgiving league, so if Os Viriatos want to have any chance of promotion a big performance was needed this weekend.

The game began as expected with Nacional controlling the majority of the play, with crisp passes being played between the men in yellow. It was Académico though who had the first real sniff of an opening, an attempted header from Famana Quizera that forced goalkeeper Lucas França into palming the ball out for a corner.

Hosts take the lead

However, Nacional would be awarded for their fluid play when a cutback by Gustavo Silva resulted in Jesús Ramírez poking the ball through the Viseu defenders and into the bottom corner for the match opener.

Nacional had decent chances to double their lead, but just before half time, it was Jorge Simão’s side that got themselves back into things, with a bizarre goal. The equaliser came from a free-kick close to the touchline in the middle of the park. The set piece was swung in by Quizera and flew over everyone; bouncing just before the six-yard box and somehow beating França who must have been caught out by the flight of the ball.

Wet pitch hinders both teams

By the time the second half began, the state of the pitch had deteriorated massively due to the morning rain in Viseu. It was a tough watch, and no doubt it was tough to play in with both sides handicapped by the playing conditions. Académico would have the better chances of the half with França more than making up for his earlier blunder with consecutive double saves; André Clóvis and Yuri Araújo coming closest as they tried and failed to slot it past França at his near post.

Ultimately, it was a very uneventful second half. Even the late drama of a red card being shown was dull, Rúben Macedo being brought down by Samba Kone as the former Porto youngster picked up his second yellow.

Nacional’s winning streak ended and it represented a missed opportunity for the islanders, as a win would have saw them finish the weekend in second place in the standings. Meanwhile, Jorge Simão’s first game in charge sees Académico pick up a point, but their winless run extends to five now, leaving them in 15th and just two points above Belenenses in the relegation zone. 



Länk Vilaverdense 0-5 Porto B: new coach, same problems

As a rule, Portuguese football is unforgiving and leaves little room for sentiment. This is a fact Vilaverdense fans had to find out the hard way as last time out they watched their club lose for the sixth time in a row to Paços Ferreira – coached by Ricardo Silva who had led Vilaverdense to promotion to Liga Portugal 2 last season. It led to the dismissal of Silva’s successor António Barbosa.  

However, new coach Sérgio Machado had got off to the perfect start with a surprise victory over Primeira Liga side Farense in the Taça de Portugal 3-2. The gamble may have paid off for Länk’s cup outing, but Machado and the board know that what really matters right now is picking up some vital wins in Liga Portugal 2.

The match got underway with Vilaverdense devoid of ideas, the only positive was Machado’s men had more possession, but only due to Porto B playing a very fast and direct style of play. The opening goal came in the eighth minute, when a Porto corner was headed onto Wendell with the Brazilian catching it sweetly enough to beat Rogério in the Vilaverdense net. Länk would make it to half-time with just the 1-0 deficit largely thanks to Gustavo clearing the ball off the line to deny the Young Dragons their second.

An inspired Länk side did not appear in the second half to save Sérgio Machado’s first Liga II game as Vilaverdense manager. Instead things went south rapidly. After nine minutes, Wendell was brought down by Rogério who just missed the ball with his last-ditch tackle, and the Porto B striker once again got the better of the goalie calmly converting the following penalty. Wendell would then complete his hat-trick on the 65th minute when he tapped in at the back post from a Gui Guedes cross.

It was then Abraham Marcus’s turn to spoil Machado’s night as the Nigerian converted another headed goal for Porto B on the 68th minute, this time getting on the end of Bernardo Folha’s delightful chip into the centre of the Länk box. It would only take another three minutes for Marcus to wrap up the game and get his brace;  Wendell involving himself once again with a perfectly weighted pass across Rogério’s goal which Marcus won the race for sliding the ball into the net and colliding with Rogério in the process.

Porto B move up to 6th with yet another impressive display. Vilaverdense remain rock bottom with one point, now seven points off the relegation play-off spot after Leixões 1-0 win over Belenenses on Saturday. 


Player making waves: Bryan Róchez

Bryan Róchez is often finding himself on the bench during his loan stint at Leiria from Portimonense, and today was no different. Well, except for the fact the Honduran international managed to get himself involved in three of the four goals scored as Leiria dominated Oliveirense 4-1.

At 1-0 up, Lucho Vega was forced off after only 26 minutes, with Rochez being the one to take the Argentine’s place. After only four minutes, Róchez had already doubled Leiria’s advantage, when a cross from Luís Silva found its way into a group of four, with the final touch coming off Róchez unexpectedly but it still was enough to beat Oliveirense goalkeeper Arthur Augusto.

Róchez is on something of a hot streak at the moment with goals from the bench in both Leiria’s cup win over Viseu last weekend, and another in his late cameo for Honduras during the international break as they defeated Cuba. The streak would continue into the second half, as a corner ended with Leiria playing one-two passes in the Oliveirense six-yard box with Róchez tapping the ball into an empty net.

The fourth and final Leiria goal saw a long throw headed on by Róchez, which was then headed into the net by Vasco Oliveira. Bryan Róchez’s heroics saw Leiria overtake Oliveirense and jump up to 7th position, as Vasco Botelho da Costa’s side sit just five points off 2nd place Marítimo, who they will meet next weekend. 


Liga II Jornada 8 results:

Penafiel 1-0 Mafra

Torreense 1-2 Paços Ferreira

Leixões 1-0 Belenenses

Marítimo 2-2 Tondela

Viseu 1-1 Nacional

Feirense 1-2 AVS

Santa Clara 1-1 Benfica B

Oliveirense 1-4 Leiria

Vilaverdense 5-0 Porto B

by José Almeida