Middle/Pre-End of Season Update
It's been an eventful season so far in my first and potentially last full season at Casa Pia. My aim for this season has always been to challenge for promotion because I know the squad is definitely capable of doing so, after the impressive run of form at the end of last season. I didn't make any drastic changes to the squad in the transfer market but I did make a few signings and releases, but I'll cover those in more depth in the final update of the season. I'll talk about our short run in the Portuguese Cup first. We drew Joane in the first round, a non-league side who we battered 6-0 at home. In the next round we faced Sporting Pombal, I can't remember if they were at the same level us we are or not but we beat them 3-0 regardless. Then we were drawn against Fafa, a side I am vaguely familiar with as I remember one of the guys in the small club big euro nation challenge turning them into world beaters, they were at the same level us we are in a different regional league, it was tough playing away to them and we ultimately lost 1-0 which was quite disappointing. But let's look at the league as that is the most important competition. In a really confusing move that I didn't even notice until the last few games of the season, we've actually been moved to the Portuguese 2nd Div 'Central' regional league rather than the 'South' league we were in last year. Anyway, the league we are in at times is a ridiculously open one and half-way through the season it looked like any one of the top 11 sides could win the division, with a mere 10 point gap separating 11 sides -
I was relatively happy with third at this stage in the season as all we needed to do was to go on a good run of form and we could easily top the league, however there's always the fear you'll draw a few games and lose one and then you could be as low as 10th before you know it. It was important to make sure we didn't get complacent and I am pleased to say that my side had the best defensive record amongst anyone else in the league. As the season went on a number of teams drifted away from being in with a chance of winning the league, Juventude de Evora are a clear example of this, they seemed to be like the marathon runner who sets the pace for the first half of the race but then ends up falling behind the pack and not even coming in the top 3. Below is a screenshot of what the league looks like with just one game remaining. Before I show you I will just say that the winner of the league qualifies for a 4 game play-off group with the two other regional league winners, the two teams that end up with the most points out of these 4 games than receive promotion to the Liga Vitalis.
As you can see it is ridiculously close going into the last game of the season. Despite being ahead of Marinhense by basis of head-to-head results, AC.Viseu are also still in with a chance if the two of us lose our last game and they win their one. It is essentially between us and Marinhense though. We have a home game against 7th place Oriental, as opposed to Marinhense who face B.C Branco away, B.C Branco currently sit in 14th place and have to win if they are to stay up. AC Viseu face 8th place Caldas SC at home. I'm quite nervous as I know Oriental are a decent side, in theory we have to win as you wouldn't bet against Marinhense losing to a relegation candidate, although since they are playing for survival they will have to go all out for a win which could come in very handy. I don't want to write off AC Viseu either as they could very easily win their game and in the unlikely circumstance both us and Marinhense lose then they could go up themselves. It's definitely going to be a game full of nail-biting!