Leixões secure another season in the Segunda Liga after a 0-0 draw against AVS

Leixões’ long and relegation threatened season came to a satisfactory conclusion at Estádio do Mar where they earned a hard fought 0-0 draw against AVS.

The Segunda Liga’s weakest attack put the ball in the net in the 26th minute, Simãozinho’s strike ruled out after João Marcos was found to be four centimeters offside by the VAR.

AVS went close twice in added time, Zé Ricardo’s shot blocked by Paulité and Nenê’s free kick deflected wide.

The result sees the Bébés do Mar go four points clear of Feirense who will contest the regelation play-off position. The club from Aves are now unlikely to achieve automatic promotion, instead locked in a battle with Marítimo for third spot on the table. 

VAR says no

Leixões were showing some promising signs down the left wing, Simãozinho using that avenue to put the ball in the net in the 26th minute. The left-back was involved in the buildup that involved strikers Ricardo Valente and João Marcos, VAR eventually declaring Marcos four centimeters offside.

AVS winger Babatunde Akinsola avoided a caution after incorrectly assuming AFL rules were in play. He wasn’t so fortunate in the 39th minute when he took a tumble inside the area and was booked for diving.

Second half started with the sunshine attempting to stream through the petrol scented clouds in Matosinhos.

Stefanovic saves

Chances came quickly at both ends, João Marcos firing wide and John Mercado’s header tipped over the bar by Igor Stefanovic. The Serbian goalkeeper would be called into action again in the 58th minute, parrying Benny’s deflected free kick wide and blocking a follow up effort from Talles Wander.

Jorge Costa brought on 40-year-old top scorer Nenê in the 71st minute, Carlos Fangueiro responding with a triple switch that included young wingers Paulité and Adriano Amorim. Costa made another move in the 84th minute when Zé Ricardo replaced Edson Farias.

Bébés do Mar, attacking the new northern stand which is an impressive concrete edifice that imitates marble, were unable to do anything more in attack. It was AVS, attacking the shipping container end that would go close twice in added time.

Stefanovic went down after being kicked in the head by John Mercado, the Equadorian winger then getting into the box and teeing up Ricardo who saw his shot blocked by Paulité.

To say the home crowd were unhappy with referee Nuno Almeida would be an understatement. As lunchtime approached, temperatures rose on and off the pitch which saw the police required to defuse a fracas.

Mercado won a free kick in a promising position, Nenê stepping up and seeing his free kick deflected wide.

Leixões survive

It was fitting that Leixões, the team with the weakest attack in the Segunda Liga, would achieve safety with a 0-0 draw in their last home game of the season.

Paulité is their top scorer with five goals, a stark contrast with AVS veteran forward Nenê who has netted 25 times this season.

It’s been a long and painful season for Bébés do Mar, manager Pedro Ribeiro sacked in January with Carlos Fangueiro coming in and steering them to safety. The former Leixões player took charge of his first Portuguese club after a long managerial career in Luxembourg.

AVS missed a great chance to stay in the race for automatic promotion. Carlos Daniel’s 95th minute goal gave Nacional a 3-2 win at Tondela in the other 11am fixture means the Madeiran club will return to the top flight, Santa Clara with a chance to secure a swift return to the Primeira if they can avoid defeat in Mafra in the 2pm kickoff.

As for Jorge Costa’s club, they will be watching Marítimo’s home match against UD Oliveirense with extra motivation. The other Madeiran club remain in the race for the promotion play-off spot, currently four points behind AVS.

By Matthew Marshall at Estádio do Mar