Albanian Goalkeeper Keeps Portugal at Bay

Albania 2-2 Portugal (U21)

A fine performance from the Albanian goalkeeper helped Albania to a 2-2 draw against Portugal in Group 6 of the 2013 UEFA U-21 Qualification. Portugal had the majority of the chances of the night, but the keeper held Portugal to just two goals. Portugal now sit at second in Group 6 with eight points, with qualification still a possibility. The team must win more matches if they hope to qualify for the tournament proper, as they are currently now ranked very highly on the second-place team ranking.

The game started with Portugal on the front foot. After just two minutes of play, Josue recorded the first shot of the night, after he lifted his shot well over the goal, not troubling the Albanian goalkeeper. Soon after, some excellent wing play from Wilson Eduardo was finished with a cross, which was met by a ferocious volley from Andre Martins. The Albanian goalkeeper reacted well to record his first save of the night, and keep the scores level at 0-0. Portugal continued to press and completely dominate Albania, and it all payed off. Ruben Ferreira whipped in a pin-point cross, which met the head of Josue, who tucked his header into the bottom corner. That was how the half ended: 1-0 in Portugal’s favor. The team looked worthy of the lead, as they were the only of the two to create any sort of chances.

The second half started in almost spectacular fashion. Wilson Eduardo’s run was picked out well by Andre Martins. Eduardo dribbled the ball and shot, only for the Albanian keeper to save. The rebound fell to the onrushing Andre Martins, whose shot was stopped by the leg of an Albanian defender. That save deflected the ball back out to just outside the box, where Pele was waiting. The midfielder had the presence of mind to send in a chipped shot. Once again, however, the opposition goalkeeper was on hand to make the save, this time an acrobatic fingertip save. Albania responded quickly with virtually their first chance of the game. A lofted ball was sent in by an Albanian defender. The pass was met by an Albanian, whose header was controlled by Sadiku, and shot first time. The ball flew past the Mika to give Albania a surprise goal and level the scores at 1-1. Portugal, however, responded also. A peach of a cross was sent in by Cedric, and Wilson Eduardo headed the ball smartly over the opposition keeper. The score was now at 1-2, but it wasn’t set to stay that way. Some lax defending from Portugal allowed Sadiku to shoot on goal, and score. Mika will be faulted for this goal, but in truth it was a poor defensive showing in general. That was how the match ended: 2-2.

Mika, Ruben Ferreira(Ludovic), Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Cedric, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins, Josue, Salvador Agra(Pele), Nelson Oliveira(Rui Fonte), Wilson Eduardo

Man of the Match: Wilson Eduardo

Crutch of the Match: Mika

Almeida Joins Quaresma, Fernandes, and Simao at Besiktas

Hugo AlmeidaIt is official. Hugo Almeida will ply his trade in Turkey at Besiktas. Almeida has been surrounded with speculation regarding his future. Real Madrid, Juventus, Besiktas, and Lazio have all stated their interest, but in the end, Besiktas have come out victorious. Besiktas have announced the signings of Manuel Fernandes, and Simao, all of whom will join Quaresma in the Turkish capital. Almeida signed a 3 and a half year contract, for a fee estimated around 2-3 million euros.

Danilo Pereira Unveiled at Parma

Portuguese starlet Danilo Pereira was unveiled as a Parma player today during a press conference. He will be given the number 17. Pereira spoke of the ambition the club has and how it is a “good” club. He also spoke of his ambition to grow as a player at Parma, which he feels confident that he can do. He spoke of the Italian style of football, saying: “It’s a very tactical football and also very physical, so I think I can adapt well, because I have the right characteristics to adapt to this type of game.” The press then asked him how he feels about his comparison to former French international Patrick Vieira. He responded saying that he is flattered to be compared to such a player, but he is Danilo Pereira, he will try to prove his worth, and he is happy to be here.

Costinha Retires and Appointed D.O.F at Sporting

Former Portuguese international midfielder Costinha recently rescinded his contract with Atalanta, and today it was announced that he will become the new director of football at Sporting Lisbon. The former director of football for the Lions was Sa Pinto, but due to an altercation involving him and Liedson, he left the post. Costinha was a long time member of the Portuguese National Team, representing them at World Cup 2006 and Euros 2000 and 2004. He has also played in five different countries during his 16 year career, such as Atletico Madrid, AS Monaco, and FC Porto(where he won the Champions League and UEFA Cup). Hopefully with all of this experience, he will be helpful to Sporting, as they desperately try to salvage their dismal season.

Manuel Fernandes Almost at Inter Milan

After a transfer ordeal with Sporting Lisbon, it looks as if Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan have won the race to sign Manuel Fernandes on loan. The Portuguese International was out of favor at Valencia after roughly 8 months of injury, so the purpose of this move is for more playing time. Two words are key to catching the bus to next summer’s World Cup:PLAYING TIME. That’s exactly what Manuel needs. He showed us at Everton that he has the ability to play against the better teams…..lets hope he can show us now.

Edinho Decides to Stay at Malaga

It looked as if Edinho’s loan deal to Maritimo was a done deal, but the Portuguese international has decided to stay at Malaga. I believe that he chose to stay because of the goal he scored against Getafe in the Spanish Cup. This may sound silly, but with the limited amount of playing time he has received at Malaga, a goal could come as relief, or even hope. He probably also realized that if he moved to Maritimo, that his chances of playing in the World Cup would be slim-to-none. Here’s the Goal: