November 2020: Show Goes On
It was time to recover from the Porto loss
After our fast start to the league season was halted by the mugs Porto, we looked to regain the momentum that had put us top of the table at one point. The month was no easier than any of the others, but hopefully it proved even more successful.
It was the month of Pedro Monteiro, who managed to score four goals in a relatively successful month for us, in which we advanced in not only the Taça de Portugal but the Europa League as well.
It all started at Paços de Ferreira
where Monteiro, who has been at the club since the age of 16, stole the show with a spectacular hat trick and Cristiano Ronaldo added one himself in what proved to be a 4-0 win.
Five days later and we made the journey to Slovakia and play Slovan Bratislava
. A win would mean we'd advance to the first knockout round, a loss meant we had a tough, tough challenge ahead of us. Luckily, CR7 was at it again knocking home a brace whilst Belgian centre back Astorino prodded home a late sealer.
A return home to Lisbon and a home clash against third division Marinhense
was the perfect chance for some fringe players to get themselves noticed and Sergio Liparoti and Andres Rossoto exemplified this. Both are bench warmers for better players but both managed to get themselves on the scoresheet.
In front of a large television audience we went out to play our Lisbon neighbours SL Benfica
, the side that beat us in the final of the Taça de Portugal. They won again, this time 1-0, but I wasn't too upset or disappointed with our performance.
Our fifth game of the group stage would be held at the Estádio Eng. Carlos Salema, where we'd be playing host to PSV
of Holland. After Pedro Monteiro's opener we were pegged back and then it turned into our game to lose. We held on valiantly until the 91st minute, when our concentration was at our lowest. Nonetheless, we'd qualified anyway.
Bouncing back was key versus a long-dilapidated Braga side, but an away clash at their mountain-side stadium was always going to be tough. It took 75 minutes before we finally unlocked their defence, Caetano with a cool finish to close off the match.
The League Table
Still third. Sporting are close behind and we aren't far off the frontrunners, either. Estoril and Gil Vicente are surprising everyone, too, with their performances. They are defying expectations so far and are hoping to continue this surprise run of form.
In Europe, we've qualified. And after three tireseome years I've finally
remembered to screenshot the group table!!!
The Cup Draw
We face the trip to White Hart Lane for the first time in our history, facing North London outfit Tottenham Hotspur while we're there. It's going to be a hell of a challenge, but one we're up for!
The Month(s) Ahead
The final group game versus Legia is the first meal on the plate for us before a big big home clash against rivals Sporting occurs only three days later. After that, we've got it pretty easy going. I'm not about to get complacent, though, as complacency kills you in this business.