Week in Review: Portuguese Football Highs and Lows


It was an exciting week in Portuguese Football with the National Team in the limelight to start. Definitely many a headline made for Ronaldo and his team mates. We covered the National Team news daily here at PortugalFutbol during the week, also os Tres Grandes made many a headline in the English press, so let’s round-up the week’s news.

Portuguese National Futebol Team


We won’t get into too much detail here on the Portuguese National Senior Squad as we have covered it In-depth this week. Here are the links to the detailed reports:

Preview: France vs Portugal

Lapses in Concentration Help to Spoil Fernando Santos Debut

Preview: Denmark vs Portugal

Last-Minute Ronaldo Header Snatches Portugal a Win in Copenhagen

I also went into great detail on Fernando Santos’ team and their performances in the Portuguese National Team: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly report that that we published on Thursday. The game with Denmark was such a nail biter that went down to the last seconds literally, as Ronaldo stepped up once again to be a national hero in the face of his detractors.

I posted my player ratings on Twitter here they are:Orlando's Player ratings - Portugal-France and Denmark 2014

As well as a tribute image to Cristiano Ronaldo the Magician:Cristiano Ronaldo - by Orlando Mac

Nathan Motz over at PortuGOAL also wrote one of the best articles I have ever read on Cristiano Ronaldo, if you haven’t read it. Please do so now.

Igor also went into detail about the Fernando Santos Revolution already paying Dividends for Portugal a great follow-up article to the early days of Mr. Santos’ tenure in the FPF hot seat.

Many a Portuguese fans must’ve gone into a pleasurable euphoria on Wednesday not only because of the senior squad but the U-21’s also played that day finishing their 2 game play-off with Netherlands in style.

Heading into the match the youth team was already in the lead with a 2-0 win away, and their opponents came out fighting. In the end they had a thrilling rollercoaster match that ended 5-4 in their favour (7-4 on aggregate). It was simply one of the best games of football I have ever seen, as both teams went end to end in style. This bodes well for the future of the game not only in Portugal but the Netherlands with all the youth on offer. This means that the Portugal U21’s qualify for the Euro Finals next year, great news for these young men who went undefeated in qualifying.

The U21’s were capped off watching Ronaldo & Co. win their evening match 0-1 away to Denmark. Ronaldo also went on to declare that Portugal will be at the Euro 2016 tournament. He also had a bromance going with Quaresma declaring he likes to play with him. We also found out that Ronaldo was going to take on Messi at his former Old Trafford home as Portugal will confront Argentina in a friendly in November. Fortunately because of Ronaldo’s late magic, Portugal have climbed back up in the Euro Group I standings with that important win away.

In a busy International week all was not quiet for the Big 3 as they were making preparations for the weekend matches in the Taca de Portugal. Here was what made the headings in a busy week of Liga reports as well as match reports for their Taca de Portugal games.

Benfica


Benfica played Sporting Covilha on the weekend in the Taca in what was expected to be a cakewalk against a lower Liga team.
Jorge Jesus decided to start many a fresh face (including some Portuguese that have been riding the bench) in this match before the big game mid-week versus Monaco. Lining up for the Eagles was: Artur, Almeida, Cesar, Lisandro, Benito, Cristante, Bebe, Pizzi, Ola John, Derley, & Jonas.

Here was my media rich twitter game capsule report.

It started easily for Benfica with an early Jonas goal from the penalty spot 2 minutes in, and another incident on Derley in the box shortly after that should have been a penalty also (Ref was feeling sorry for minnows at that point).

In horror though for Benfiquistas, Sporting Covilha stormed back and by the 11 minute mark had equalized with a goal from Traquina who was lighting up Benito the SLB Left back. To add injury to the insult Ola John who drew the first penalty marauding down the left wing came up limping badly and needed to be assisted off the pitch. In his place came on the 17 year old Benfica youth star Goncalo Guedes who played impressively throughout the match and almost scored a couple of times.

Further horror came for the Reds before the half could conclude as a Traquina free kick found the head of his team mate Erivelto in the box and caught his marker Lisandro napping as the ball bulged the twine behind Artur. This gave the minnows from Covilha a 2-1 lead going into half time.

Fortunately for Reds fans the second half turned on a Jonas dime as he netted two in the second half (53m, 70m) to quieten the home fans who thought they were witnessing a miracle.

In the end the hat trick from Jonas was what the doctor ordered and Benfica are into the next round of the Taca.

Now for the Headlines:

Once again Talisca was in the news as clubs line up for his signature, and as I promised on twitter LFV has already started talks on upping the young Brazilian’s out clause from 45 mil Euros to 60 mil, to ensure that unlike Markovic this young star gets the right training so he can be a super star when he leaves.

Bernardo Silva also made many headlines not just for his play for the U21’s but also his impressive work at Monaco. This goes hand in hand with the battle with Moutinho coming soon for the Eagles in the Champions League.

Benfica and Porto also are both vying for young Brazilian Gioas star striker Erik Lima, who is rated slightly below Talisca and is also in the Brazil U21 squad.

Sporting


Sporting too was headed into a big game with the Classic match away to Porto in the Taca de Portugal and many football fans were looking forward to this mouth-watering clash of giants at the Dragao.

Here was my media injected twitter game capsule report.

Sporting’s starting line-up included: Patricio, J. Silva, Oliveira, Mauricio, Cedric, A. Silva, William, Joao Mario, Capel, Montero, & Nani.

Porto started: Fernandez, Angel, Marcano, Maicon, Danilo, Oliver, Herrera, Casemiro, Adrian, Martinez, & Quintero.

This game definitely lived up to the billing and didn’t disappoint, as it was end to end with quality opportunities through-out.

Both teams traded chances until the 31st minute when a Jonathan cross met with Porto CB Marcano who headed into his own net, giving the Lions a one goal lead. That lead was short lived as the always dangerous Porto monster Jackson Martinez leveled with a classy finish in the 36th minute.

The draw was short lived also as Nani who has been on a tear ever since returning to the Liga thumped an unstoppable shot past Fernandez in the 39th minute to give Sporting the lead again going into half time.

Lopetegui seemed to turn it up in the second half bringing Wonder-kid Neves and Tello into the game to spark his team. It seemed to work as Jackson was brought down in the box by Mauricio early in the second half leading to a penalty kick. But it was not to be as Man of the Match Patricio made one of many amazing stops to foil the Colombian scoring machine.

Once again play swung from end to end with both teams looking for a goal as they traded chances. Brahimi who came on as a substitute came close to leveling the match, but it was his Algerian counter-part Slimani who had the decisive blow feeding Carrillo for a tap-in to put the icing on the cake.

The away fans celebrated in joy as they eliminated Porto from the Taca in one of the best matches of the early season.

Great result for Sporting but in all honesty losing might be a good thing for Porto as it will mean fewer matches to play in an already busy calendar.

Now for the Headlines:

William was in the news as always but his interest has moved to Serie A also with AC Milan interested in his services even though Arsenal still plan to kill two birds with a January transfer for the defensive midfielder. There is also a bromance starting with Nani.

Nani too made the news with some suggestions that his awesome form at Sporting will return him to Old Trafford next year.

Mauricio the Sporting CB also made healines this week with Manchester United confirming their interest in the defender.

Sporting this week sent representatives to Norway to scout in-demand Viking midfielder Martin Odegaard.

To close out reports on Sporting’s visit to Germany to face Schalke started to make news, a warning shot from the Germans was also levied.

Porto


Porto’s Portuguese youth have been stirring the headlines since Neves arrived this season but there is more to come from their deep youth movement our own Sam Biggers wrote that piece for PortuGOAL.

Arsenal and Chelsea FC also are keeping a close eye on Porto youth Andre Silva as he rejected a contract with the Dragons. The highly rated 18 year old Striker might move on a free transfer next summer.

Vitoria Guimaraes star Bernard Mensah was also linked repeatedly with a move to Porto this week.

Rolando made news as more suitors came out of the wood work for the much maligned Porto defender with Aston Villa showing interest.

Mangala has been hit or miss for Manchester City since leaving Porto.

Also the big Champions League match at home to Athletic Bilbao started to make its way into the news by weeks end.

Let’s conclude with the round-up of this week’s Highs and Lows in Portuguese Football:


 

Highs

  • Ronaldo’s injury time goal saving Portugal at the death
  • Fernando Santos’ first competitive game resulted in a much needed win
  • Quaresma’s sublime cross to Ronaldo for the winning goal
  • Ricardo Carvalho’s excellent return to the National Team
  • U21’s domination in qualifying for the Euro – the future is bright
  • Nani’s continued escalation of his game, topped off with a monster goal versus Porto
  • Jonas’ Hat-trick saved Benfica’s bacon versus the spirited lower-leaguers
  • Patricio’s phenomenal performance on the weekend making some huge saves
  • The Big 3’s youth development has reached an all-time high in talented prospects
  • Porto vs Sporting game was a magnificent display of attacking football

Lows

  • Why did it take so long for Jesus to play his Portuguese players? Clearly some of them aren’t as sharp from sitting
  • The Fullbacks defending for Portugal. Definitely need to make changes, and young Cedric needs to improve
  • Benfica’s backline all but Almeida looked extremely frail versus a minnow
  • Moutinho’s play has lacked the excellence we are accustomed to since his move to France
  • Coentrao’s repeated injuries continue to hurt the National team
  • Porto losing at home to Sporting has brought undue pressure onto the new Manager early
  • Porto could lose out on Andre Silva, it will be a shame, considering how highly touted he is

Once again it was another interesting week with many headings that had fans talking about Portuguese Football, follow us on twitter as we post links to late breaking news on a daily basis. Enjoy the Champions League games, hopefully all our teams can elevate their game this week and gain some needed wins!

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