Leyton Orient’s Sandro Semedo showed he can play in the middle of the park
- Credit: Archant
Omer Riza delighted to see young winger impress in the centre of midfield after spending three days with Portugal’s under-21s last week
Leyton Orient boss Omer Riza lavished praise on Sandro Semedo after vindicating his decision to experiment with the 20-year-old by playing him in the centre of midfield against Colchester United on Saturday.
The Portuguese youngster has usually played on the wing or at full-back this season and throughout his career.
But on Saturday Semedo played in the middle of the pitch and the O’s academy graduate responded with an impressive showing and a stunning 30-yard goal.
“I have been watching Sandro all year and obviously I wasn’t involved in the first-team at the start of the season, but I know he has a lot of good qualities,” said Riza.
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“He is powerful, he has a good work rate, he is technically good and can hit shots from good areas and he did that on Saturday. It was a scorcher.
“We had players like Freddy Moncur and Henry Ochieng who could have played in the middle, but I wanted to see Sandro in there.
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“He proved me right and showed he can play in that position because he has all the attributes to do it. He found little pockets of space. He always looks forward and is aggressive going forward and it was nice to see him play there.”
Semedo’s stunning equaliser – his fourth goal of the campaign – was a moment to savour at Brisbane Road. In a day full of drama and controversy, the performance of the talented youngster was an obvious highlight.
What made Semedo’s showing all the more impressive was the defensive work he did to good effect and after equalising, Orient looked like they could go on and win the match against their local rivals.
But a terrible error from Jens Janse resulted in Chris Porter tapping in from close range in the 78th minute.
The Dutch defender tried to pass the ball back to Sam Sargeant, but didn’t execute it correctly and Tyrique Fosu rounded the O’s goalkeeper before squaring for his team-mate.
Macauley Bonne then made it 3-1 10 minutes from time when he held off Tom Parkes well before firing into the corner to conclude the scoring in E10.
Riza added: “When we went in at half time 1-0 down, I think we could say they had not caused us too many problems. Again we switched off for the goal, but we wanted to come out and go for it and we did that.
“At 1-1, we were on top. I think we could have got something from the game, but you can’t account for the little mistakes we make.
“The little mistakes we have been making all season only usually happen once or twice a year and we have had a hatful of them and it has been very costly.”