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Saleh Gomaa and Aly Ghazal victorious in Madeira derby
Saleh Gomaa and Aly Ghazal’s Nacional da Madeira beat their island rivals Marítimo 2-0, increasing their chances of qualifying for the Europa League and threatening to reach fourth place in the table.
A match with great implication towards the Europa League spots, both teams knew that this derby would be very important in helping to settle the dispute.
However, Marítimo did not have the most energetic of starts and Nacional pounced immediately. Just six minutes into the encounter, João Aurélio found Reginaldo, who struck the ball first-time, comfortably beating goalkeeper Salin and giving Nacional an early and vital lead.
Marítimo took some time to get into gear, and Danilo Dias’ attempt at goal had an instant reply from Reginaldo, who also placed the ball just wide of the goal. With Nacional back-tracking, Marítimo began to threaten more and more. However, Gottardi was in fine form between the posts, most notably making a double save after shots from Danilo Dias and Derley.
The half-time break did not slow down the fast pace of the game and soon enough, both goalkeepers were called into action. First Gottardi stopped Theo Weeks’ shot, after great play from Marítimo, and a couple of minutes later, it was Salin saving Djaniny’s strike. Gottardi then went one ahead of Salin, saving Danilo Dias’ shot and then stopping Bauer and Derley’s attempts.
In the 76th minute, Marítimo went down to 10 men, as Gegé was sent off, seeing a second yellow card after getting in a scuffle with Rondón. That gave Nacional the edge and at the 89th minute, Djaniny received the ball in the middle of the park from Saleh Gomaa, ran past everybody, including Salin and tapped the ball into the back of the net.
Both Ghazal and Gomaa were solid in the game, with the only negative being Gomaa’s yellow card in injury time.
Two-nil the final score and Nacional are now six points ahead of Braga, who face FC Porto tomorrow. Marítimo on the other hand, see their Europa League hopes slowly fade away, as they lie in seventh, seven points behind their Madeiran rivals. Nacional will meet relegation candidates Paços de Ferreira next week.