A valiant come-back from the O's wasn't enough against Benfica B in Albufeira on Saturday as the O's lost 5-4 in an enthralling match.
STARTING XI: Brill, Ling, Ekpiteta, Happe, Widdowson, Koroma, McAnuff, Clay, Dayton, Sotiriou, Alabi
The O’s made the dream start in Albufeira when Ruel Sotiriou was brought down in the penalty area after less than a minute.
New signing James Alabi cooly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give the O’s the advantage.
The home side had the chance to level the game a couple of minutes later when Marvin Ekpiteta tripped the striker, and Benfica’s penalty taker placed in to Dean Brill’s right to make it 1-1.
Benfica B took the lead in the 8th minute when a lofted ball reaches the left-midfielder and he calmly brought the ball down before drilling under Brill.
The O’s had the chance to level when Sotiriou had a shot saved. Koroma picked up the ball on the left side of the box, played a lovely one-two with Alabi before poking to Sotiriou who tried lifting it over the keeper, but he made a good save.
Dean Brill was called into action in the 23rd minute when he saved an effort at the near post which fell to a Benfica B striker who looked to have an open goal, but Brill recovered well to claw it away.
Forward Ruel Sotiriou had looked a danger throughout the opening half hour but his evening ended prematurely as he picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Macauley Bonne.
SECOND HALF XI: Brill, Judd, Coulson, Elokobi, Ogie, Koroma, Lee, Lawless, Brophy, Bonne, Mooney
The O’s made a raft of changes in the second half and Benfica B struck early again, the O’s failing to clear from the back as Brill tried to kick an underhit back-pass but can only hit it against a Benfica striker who reacted to pass it into an empty net.
The Portuguese side furthered their lead as a quick counter saw a three-on-two situation and a curled cross into the back post found a striker to make it 4-1 in the 51st minute.
The O’s pulled one back through David Mooney moments later as he got on the end of a long ball before chipping the keeper.
Justin Edinburgh’s men continued to claw their way back into the game in the 63rd minute as Josh Koroma’s quick thinking to take a free-kick quickly released Judd down the right side of the box, his dangerous cross was deflected into the path of James Brophy and he volleyed home.
The O’s levelled proceedings in the 87th minute as James Brophy turned into the box and was brought down, Bonne stepping up and side-footing it into the top corner.
However, Benfica B restored their lead minutes later as Myles Judd was adjudged to have fouled a player and their penalty taker drilled it just past Brill to the bottom left corner.