Vitória de Guimarães’ Europa Conference League campaign ended despite beating Hajduk Split 1-0 in the third qualifying round second leg.
Anderson Silva gave the Portuguese club an early lead but they were unable to make up their minds after pressing for most of the match.
Os Conquistadores competed well but Moreno Teixeira’s side showed they were a work in progress, especially their forwards who will need a lot more time to work on their combination game.
Portugal Matthew Marshall reports from the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques.
Perfect start in Portugal
Vitória came out of the blocks and took the lead in the 5th minute. Ryoya Ogawa’s cross found Anderson Silva, he was not shut down and unleashed a left-footed volley which Lovre Kalinić could not prevent from entering the top corner.
The crowd in Guimarães was going wild as their team continued to press on, with Ogawa frequently bombarding the left wing.
Hajduk looked like a shadow of the team that dominated the first leg in Croatia and had to wait until the 23rd minute for his first chance.
Emir Sahiti’s defensive pass saw David Čolina run for the ball and lift it over Bruno Varela on the roof of the net, Čolina with another chance minutes later as he headed for the bar.
Anderson Silva eyed wide a header after a clever free-kick routine, but chances proved hard to come by. Vitória wingers Rúben Lameiras and Antonio Cortés could not get involved in the match.
The first signs of hostility appeared at half-time after Varela tried to take off a seemingly injured Sahiti. Guimarães goalkeeper Tiago Silva and Josip Vuković have been cautioned.
Jota tries to provide a spark
Jota Silva replaced Cortés at the break and immediately provided more threat on the outside. Anderson Silva’s shot was deflected wide before Matheus Índio almost reached the end of Tiago Silva’s corner.
Hajduk Split’s intentions were clear, often wasting time and just waiting for counter-attacking opportunities.
Moreno Teixeira made two substitutions in the 69th minute with Nicolas Janvier and André Silva replacing Matheus Índio and Anderson Silva. They left themselves exposed, however, as Stipe Biuk’s cross came close to picking top scorer Marko Livaja.
All the ball but no action
Guimarães continued to enjoy plenty of the ball in the attacking third but failed to create chances. Sometimes it seemed like they were on a whole different wavelength.
The mood at the Estádio Dom Afonso Henriques changed dramatically in the 77th minute when Tiago Silva received a second yellow card for a late tackle on Filip Krovinovic.
Ogawa made way for Nélson Luz who provided another threat on the outside. Lameiras fired straight at Kalinić and Jota flew over the bar, Moreno’s final roll of the dice bringing in Mikel Villanueva for Maga and launching André Amaro ahead.
Guimarães created corners in injury time, but they didn’t, Croatia’s 3-1 deficit in the first leg was too much to overcome.
Worst Behavior Portugal
Hajduk Split’s tactics, especially in the second half, were clearly boring and frustrating for home support, but once again we saw ‘supporters’ in Portuguese football stadiums crossing the line.
It started with the same group of ultras that violently clashed with riot police in the first leg against Puskás Akadémia. Hajduk was unable to take a corner in the closing stages due to plastic seats being thrown onto the pitch.
The “fans” were only hurting their team’s chances by wasting valuable time. There was an ugly scrum between players and support staff after the final whistle, largely instigated by Hajduk Split, with the siege throwing continuing across the pitch as the visitors tried to reach the locker room.
Vitoria de Guimaraes (4-3-3): Bruno Varela – Miguel Maga (Mikel Villanueva 89′), André Amaro, Abdul Mumin, Ryoya Ogawa (Nélson Luz 81′) – André Almeida, Matheus Índio (Nicolas Janvier 69′), Tiago Silva – Antoñín Cortés (Jota Silva 46′) , Anderson Silva (André Silva 69′), Ruben Lameiras
Substitutes not used: Celton Biai, Hélder Sá, Afonso Freitas, Ibrahima Bamba, Dani Silva, Pedro Oliveira
The Head Coach: Moreno Teixeira / Joao Aroso
[1-0] – Anderson Silva 5′