Matchday 30 of Liga NOS, opposing FC Porto and Feirense, ended in a tie, a result that again complicates the ambition of fighting for the title. The point won this Sunday, at Estádio do Dragão, keeps the Dragons three points behind the lead, when there are only four more matchdays to play until the end of the championship.
The fans had to wait 14 minutes in tonight’s match to see the first relatively dangerous play next to one of the goals, in this case, Feirense’s. Soares was the man under focus, in a “bicycle” kick that didn’t take the best direction, but it was enough to wake up the blue and whites. Aware that they had to do more and better than in the first 20 minutes, the dragons moved in for the main objective: a goal.
There were plenty of occasions for Estádio do Dragão to celebrate. With the header from Diogo Jota, after a cross from Óliver was badly saved by Vaná (19m), Danilo's header in in good position after a corner-kick taken by Alex Telles (27m), a shot from Danilo in front of goal that went slightly over the top bar (41m), another from Óliver who, had he not to hit Jean Sony, would have scored (44m), or the subtly shot with the left foot that had Soares hitting the side net, with an open goal (45m); five occasions, in total, for the Dragons to go for the break in the lead of the match. And they are also the perfect reflection of the first 45 minutes, which ended with a persistent tie.
And persistent or not, as there is no way of knowing, the second-half began with a play that referee Rui Costa decided to ignore. Given his proximity to the move, “ignoring” is perhaps the nicer term to qualify the decision made after watching Otávio, who replaced Óliver at halftime, being clearly tackled by Jean Sony, in a promising play, but that ended with the number 25 on the floor. The referee, a few meters from the action, managed not to see what everyone else saw.
After that, the trend of the first-half continued, even more obvious than in the first part. Marcano (53m), Octavio (56m), this time without illegal interference, and Felipe missed their attempts, while Rui Pedro, a few minutes after going, hit goalkeeper Vaná Alves’ good performance. But, as the game unfolded pretty much in the last 30 meters of Feirense’s midfield, Rui Costa called attentions to himself again. Not for the dubious decisions and different criteria of some tackles in the midfield (those could even be ignored), but because Marcano was grabbed 73 minutes in, in the small area, in a moment that was all too obvious for him or any other of the three elements of the refereeing team not to see it.
And so, we come back to Vaná Alves, who had a good night, denying, on the same minute (82) the goal to Maxi and, again, to Rui Pedro. The match was already at the stage where emotions are more in control than the brain... even with Maxi making a final attempt with his head to break the tie that Vaná held onto permanently.
The next matchday will have the Dragons going for the first of two consecutive away matches. Saturday at 20h30, the blue and whites play in Estádio Municipal Manuel Branco Teixeira, against Desportivo de Chaves, for matchday 31.