It was an interesting week in Portuguese Football with the Big 3 in action. Porto kept pace with Benfica and Sporting had a rough game that ended their unbeaten run. Definitely many a headline made by the Tres Grandes in the English press, so let’s round-up the week’s news.
Primeira Liga Round-up
The Liga weekend was bookended by wonder goals as the Big 3 battled in the standings, first up was Benfica who was taking on Rio Ave at the Luz. It was a feisty game as Rio Ave has been quite impressive early on with a 4 game unbeaten run to start before they came down to earth. Much maligned Liga scoring leader Talisca took the game by the horns in the 60th minute with a monster goal from 25 yards out that curled past Cassio (who was on fire throughout for Rio Ave) into the back of the net to give the Eagles a lead they would not relinquish.
Rio Ave came close but a greedy run from Rio Ave man Esmael had him one stride offside before scoring and by the time the linesman looked up he was a full 3 strides off. Shame as it was a great run but he should’ve checked it and they would’ve had a memorable goal at the Luz.
In the end Talisca has 8 goals to lead the Liga in scoring and Benfica ensured their lead atop of the table would be maintained.
Sporting was up next with a trip to the Estadio Dom Afonso to take on Vitoria Guimares and it was a horrible match for the Lions as VG continued their superb form with a convincing 3-0 win at home. The rout started early as Sare potted a goal on the 15 minute mark to give the home side the lead. That was followed before half time with an own goal by Sporting CB Mauricio who was trying to divert a Joao Afonso header that was goal bound.
This gave Guimaraes a two goal lead heading into the second half and they were bang for the buck as they out chanced Marco Silva’s men in the second half and it culminated in Cedric bringing down Andre Andre in the box and double Andre was then forced to convert from the spot to make it an emphatic 3-0 win over the Lisbon giants.
Something has to be done about the Sporting backline as their swashbuckling attack that is highly entertaining will have matches where the goals dry up. Mauricio instead of focusing on transfer talk with Manchester United should concentrate on his defensive play, as no one in Europe is going to want him the way he leaks goals. Unfortunately Sporting dropped in the standings because of this major faux pas and their unbeaten Liga run evaporated leaving Porto as the only unbeaten side in the Primeira Liga.
Last up was Porto who was at home in the Estadio do Dragao to face Nacional who is near the bottom of the Liga table. The Blue & White put on a clinic easily dispatching their counterparts 2-0 to close to within one point of league leaders Benfica.
The lead came early for Porto as Danilo from a narrow angle smashed a shot past Rui Silva, in goal for Nacional, giving the Dragons the lead in the 9th minute. It was a lead that Porto never looked like they would relinquish, Jackson Martinez had many opportunities to tie Talisca at the top of the scoring lead, and the Porto beast came close on multiple occasions.
In the end it was left to Brahimi to score a stunning top corner goallasso to secure the win for Porto in the 74th minute. What a revelation Brahimi has been for Julien Lopetegui’s squad easily one of the best players in the Liga this season, if not the best. This kept Porto in pace with the league leaders and promises to make this season one of the most memorable ones in recent history, with both Benfica & Porto in form.
Here were the News headlines for the Tres Grandes this week:
Porto kept the pressure on at the top of the table this week, here was the headlines that hit the English press this week for the Dragons:
Brahimi the beast was already getting a lot of interest from abroad before his wonder goal for Porto, I expect to see many more calls for the Algerian wing machine. Fortunately for Porto and Liga fans Brahimi declared his commitment to Porto.
Danilo scored his goal for Porto this week on the back of being voted Porto’s best player of the Year.
Benfica are always good for a few headlines and as they have been at the top of the highly fancied Primeira Liga they get their fair share of headings, here is what topics stood out in the English press:
Enzo Perez has been a beast in Benfica’s midfield for a few seasons now so his departure will come soon. Talk of Manchester United meeting the World Cup stars buyout clause made news this week although Valencia look to beat out Man U to the Argentine man.
Also much was made of Chelsea and Manchester United’s interest in Jesus throw-away Andre Gomes who is lighting up La Liga with his play. The Portuguese International is much coveted by many Managers that have an appreciation for his talent.
Gaitan also is set to sign a new deal with Benfica with clubs like Liverpool, Man United, and Man City in a chase to get the Argentine International.
Salvio too has been generating a lot of interest as Inter has joined a group interested in taking the marauding Argentine winger to Italy.
Benfica also showed interest in Sergio Aguero‘s brother Gaston del Castillo who is only 17 but is already said to be followed by a number of European teams.
Also Jesus made a lot of headlines as he thought he should’ve been on FIFA’s shortlist for Coach of the Year. To be fair to FIFA when you lose so many big games, you tend to get overlooked. Coaches of the year do not tank in the Champions League.
Before losing on Saturday Sporting was making a lot of headlines with their undefeated run in the Liga here was some of the best headings this week for the Lions:
Much of the talk surrounded Nani as many think he will get a second chance next season after his early season form. Nani was awarded best player so far this season in the Liga. Although Nani says he has no interest in returning to Man U.
At the moment Manchester United own the best player in Portugal.
Cedric was also being pursued by Arsenal and Everton, as they look to Cedric to improve their fullback options, but reports suggest that he will reject a move away from the Alvalade although his agent says he could be on the move in January.
Slimani also gained some interest as Everton looks to add him to their line-up.
Sporting was also eyeing up Gremio Defender Pedro Geromel the former Vitoria Guimaraes player, hopefully they do as they need a lot of help in defense.
Let’s hope that Sporting can get back on track this week and they can start with the Champions League where they take on Schalke and hopefully this time they can get a Referee that doesn’t require a guide dog to officiate the match.
Let’s conclude with the round-up of this week’s Highs and Lows in Portuguese Football:
- Porto’s continued their unbeaten play in the Liga with an easy win
- Benfica continued their run at the top of the Liga
- Vitoria Guimaraes was impressive with their win over inform Sporting
- Talisca maintains his goal scoring prowess with another game winning goal
- Brahimi continues to be a catalyst in Porto’s success
- The race between Benfica & Porto looks like it will be a great one
- Nani saying no to a return to Man U and the unfair abuse he was receiving there
- Liga players continue to be some of the most sought after players in the world
- The wonder goals being scored this season in the Liga are a thing of beauty
- With Eliseu out Almeida finally getting a starting role for the Eagles Forca Portugal
- Portuguese players still being overlooked for starts and primetime roles
- Sporting denied appeal on horrible officiating that will cost them boat loads of money
- Sporting lose poorly to Guimaraes in a must win game
- Some Benfica fans and pundits continued dislike of Talisca who has been Benfica’s talisman this season
- Sporting’s backline is horrendous unfortunately it could spoil what should be a magnificent season
- Lima’s continued inclusion in the starting line-up for Benfica
- William not living up to the success he had last season at Sporting
- JJ whining about not being included in the FIFA Coach of the Year candidates
- Some fans sensitivity to Jesus being questioned for his big game failings
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.