JOHN KRETLOW - Monday, February 27, 2012
Caleb Patterson-Sewell helped Atlético to their first victory in over a month, while Oguchi Onyewu and Tony Taylor both missed out due to injury and international commitments respectively.
Atlético CP 1-0 FC Arouca
A 79th minute header by defender Rolão sealed the win for the home team, who had slipped to fifth place in the Liga Orangina during their winter swoon.
Atlético's recent struggles on and off the field actually prompted coach João de Deus to offer his resignation prior to the game, but the club refused.
Instead, the coach manned the sideline as usual and crafted a lineup out of his diminished options because of injury and winter transfers.
The first half brought little in the way of excitement and Patterson-Sewell's goal was only approached once by Arouca's attack, ending with an attempt that sailed well over the goal.
There was greater life in the second half with both teams creating decent opportunities in the opening minute, but it was not until Rolão met a Laurindo free kick with 11 minutes remaining that the deadlock was broken.
The win keeps Atlético in fifth place, just three points behind second place Aves.
If the Lisbon team is to reverse their recent fortunes and build off this result, it will likely be on the back of Patterson-Sewell who has been consistently strong in his debut Portuguese season.
The shutout of Arouca means the former New York Red Bull has kept the opponents off the scoreboard in exactly half of Atlético's twenty league games.
Next week Patterson-Sewell and crew will travel north to Figueira da Foz to take on fourth place Naval.
Sporting battled to a 1-0 victory of their own over visiting Rio Ave with Oguchi Onyewu missing out with his knee injury. The win keeps the Lions tied on 38 points with Maritimo in fourth place.
Estoril made it a hat trick of 1-0 score lines for YA in Portugal with their road win over Oliveirense. Gonçalo's 81st minute finish handed Estoril the decision and stretch ed their lead at the top of the Liga Orangina to 11 points. Tony Taylor did not take part as he has been involved in Caleb Porter's U-23 camp in Dallas, Texas.