July is coming to a close and it means not only August is next, but also the European football season makes it return. Here is a team this time from Portugal to follow this season - Boavista.
The Chequered Ones or Os Axadrezados have a famed history as they are one of only two sides outside of the famous three teams of Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and local rivals FC Porto to have won the top division title in Portugal, the Primeira Liga. Boavista are also the most recent team outside the big three to have won it, when they won the league title back in 2001.
They have even reached a semi-final in the old UEFA Cup, losing narrowly to Celtic. The club is one of the oldest in the league and have possessed some notable players in their history such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who scored 20 goals in 29 league games in his only season before moving to Leeds.
Last season, the club wished they had a prolific goalscorer such as Hasselbaink was, because the team as a collective only scored 34 goals in the entire season. To put things into perspective, the highest goalscorer for Boavista was Mateus with 5 goals in 30 appearances. Simply not good enough at any level for any team.
However they can be pleased with their defence which only conceded 40 goals and that was enough for the team from Porto to finish in 8th place and closer to the European places rather than the relegation fight. So at least defensively, Boavista have something working.
The team have certainly a modest budget under the Angolan Lito Vidigal who have brought in experience in 38-year-old centre Ricardo Costa on a free and striker Ivan Bulos also on a free transfer. Vidigal throughout last season stuck with the now traditional formation of 4-2-3-1 and had some interesting games last season.
They did lose all their games against the big three of Benfica, Sporting and Porto but they also featured in some feisty encounters. One of those was away to Vitória FC where the home team received three red cards in the space of six minutes. One for a high foot, a second for dissent and a third for a second yellow card. Luckily for Boavista, they received no red cards and came out as the victors by 3 goals to nil.
Boavista being from Porto have a local rivalry with the Portuguese giants FC Porto. This derby is nicknamed O Derby da Invicta but sadly for the Chequered Ones, they have not had much luck against Porto. They have failed to win the last ten matches against Porto and have only beaten them 3 times in 27 matches.
The league is normally contested by the top three of Sporting, Porto and Benfica in Portugal, and Braga are normally a staple for fourth place. However it is not a certainty. The battle for the final European place is always a tight affair especially last year going to head to head records to settle it.
Boavista only finished 8 points off fifth and sixth as well. So if they can get some goals and keep the defensive stability, a flashback from the past European adventures may be on the cards.Published 30 Jul 2019, 16:40 IST