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Thursday, 09 August 2012 23:45

Ten-man Marítimo make it through to Europa League playoff

Marítimo 0-0 Asteras Tripolis (agg. 1-1, Marítimo win on away goals)

Pedro MartinsThey made heavy weather of it, but Marítimo are into tomorrow’s Europa League playoff draw. A goalless draw at home to Asteras Tripolis proved enough, thanks to the away goal scored in the 1-1 draw obtained in Greece last week.

Pedro Martins selected the same side as in the first leg. Therefore the team was practically identical to last season’s starting XI, but the hosts showed little of the fluency and excellent organisation that were the hallmarks of their football for much of 2011/12.

Héldon came close to scoring for Marítimo on the stroke of half time, but for the most part it was the Greeks who were making the running. The visitors’ domination accentuated in the second half, and things took a turn for the worse for Marítimo when Ruben Ferreira was sent off with over 20 minutes left for a bad tackle on Usero.

With an extra man, Asteras threw all they had at their Portuguese opponents, but Marítimo held firm - just about. The islanders enjoyed a slice of luck ten minutes from time when Navarro’s effort came back off the post.

Although far from impressive, nobody at Marítimo will be complaining as the Madeira side join Sporting in tomorrow’s draw. Both Liga ZON Sagres sides will be hoping for a favourable playoff adversary to heighten their chances of making progress and joining Académica in the group stage of the competition.

Pedro Martins, Marítimo coach:

“We found it difficult in the first half. I don’t think either team played very well. It was up to us to make the running as we were at home but we didn’t play well. I acknowledge that. In the second half we improved, but then came the sending off, which was a correct decision. We had to be united and work hard.

“I think we felt the pressure of having a place in the playoff at stake. We weren’t surprised by Asteras - that was how I expected them to play. Asteras have a much bigger budget than us, but over the two legs I think we enjoyed a bit of luck, and that luck showed today when they hit the post. Today we didn’t play well, I admit that, but with the help of our supporters there was a great will to win.

“I’ve got no preference in the draw. All the teams are tough. We want to get to the group stage because it will give the finances of the club a considerable boost and give the players more visibility and make then more valuable in the future. It will also give us the possibility of playing six high-quality games.”

Salin, Ruben Ferreira, Roberge, João Guilherme, Briguel, Rafael Miranda, Joao Luiz, Sami, Danilo Dias (Rodrigo António, 61), Héldon (Igor Rossi, 73), Fidelis (Adílson, 77)

by Tom Kundert

Comments (2)
2 Friday, 10 August 2012 14:01
I didn't see it. But by all accounts very fortunate to advance. Let's hope they get it together before the playoff.
average performance solid result
1 Friday, 10 August 2012 00:54
Maritimo really havnt started the year with a strong game they had to do, now lets just hope for a favourable draw because there are still many teams trying to qualify who are far inferior to us. Again im still not happy Academica got automatic qualification while Sporting and Maritimo need to do it the hard way.

Keep it up boys we can beat anyone, infact Barca and Real are lucky were not in the champs league! :)

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