Mansfield Town started their pre-season matches with a very useful workout against Portugese top flight side Vitoria de Setubal FC (Vitoria FC) at Guia Futebal Clube in the Algarve.
Vitoria had been on a pre-season training just over the border in Spain and had been due to play a Spanish club, but when that Spanish club pulled out, it was agreed just a few days before the game they would play Mansfield, who themselves had been due to play Dundee.
Vitoria, who play Benfica next week in a pre-season tournament, sent their first team, and the quality of some of their football was evident to see.
They played some good stuff in the opening half an hour especially with tricky no 10 Brazilian Eber Bessa causing the Stags all kinds of problems, including hitting the post, and then winning a penalty for a foul by Conrad Logan.
Bessa though blotted his copybook firing the resulting spot kick well over the bar.
Mansfield’s best moment of the first half came when Otis Khan superbly got past two defenders on the left and his low cross was turned goalwards by Craig Davies, only for the Vitoria keeper to make a save from close range at his near post.
Mansfield changed their entire eleven at half-time while Vitoria made fewer changes.
The second half saw Mansfield more in evidence as an attacking threat, and could have been in front when Calum Butcher’s shot from a tight angle was saved by the keeper.
Then Lee Angol made a powerful run forward despite having his shirt pulled back, following a nice ball from Jordan Graham, and Angol’s low shot was saved.
Vitoria scored the only goal of the game on 77 minutes.
Jacob Mellis gave away a free kick 23 yards from goal, which Nuno Valente curled into the right of the net, with Stags keeper Bobby Olejnik motionless.
Mansfield’s best chance to equalise came from Olejnik’s long kick forward which was nearly turned goalwards by young Jordan Graham in the area but he couldn’t quite connect.
For Mansfield this was a really useful workout with plenty of impressive performances.
In the first half, Matt Preston really stood out at the back with a dominant display at centre half.
There was also great play by Otis Khan in setting up a good chance for Craig Davies.
In the second half, Krystian Pearce and Hayden White did well in the defence, and Omari Sterling-James and Jacob Mellis impressed in midfield.