Portuguese Pharaohs Roundup: Koka and Ghazal collect victories
The 7th gameweek of the Liga Zon Sagres finished with both Ahmed Hassan “Koka” and Ali Ghazal rising victorious against Académica and Sporting Braga and both teams now occupy positions on the top half of the standings.
On Friday, Koka’s Rio Ave went to Coimbra to visit the “Students” of Académica and taught them a lesson, by beating them 0-1, thanks to a Reiner Ferreira own goal 10 minutes from the end of the match. The match saw Académica threatening for most of the first half and had a shot rattle the crossbar very early on.
After the break, Rio Ave began to fight back and eventually scored when Reiner tried to anticipate Koka and ended up putting the ball in the back of his own net. Four minutes later, Koka was replaced by Yonathan del Valle.
On Sunday, Nacional hosted and upset Sporting Braga, by thrashing the former Europa League finalists 3-0. With Ali Ghazal playing a cool and quiet 90 minutes.
The home team delivered first blood, courtesy of Mario Rondón.
At the 40th minute and against the run of play, Nacional reached their second by the Cape-Verdian Djaniny, making the best of a defensive error.
The second half saw less action, with Braga failing to convert their ball possession into attempts and with just two minutes remaining on the clock, Daniel Candeias hammered the final blow of the match, heading the ball into the goal following a cross.
These results place Rio Ave in 8th position and Nacional in 4th, well inside the Europa League qualification spots.
Following the international break, Rio Ave will host Gil Vicente, who are just above them in the log table and Nacional will go to Lisbon, to battle against Benfica. A victory for the Madeiran squad would put them 3rd in the table.