Due to a mini injury crisis in the Sporting Lisbon defense, Domingos Pacienca handed a start to 18 year-old center-back Tiago Ilori against Leiria yesterday. The youngster was given a squad number at the beginning of the season, and though he has primarily been with the youth team this season, he has made the bench for one of the team’s Europa League matches. Tiago Ilori performed admirably enough during the match against Leiria, as Sporting ran out not-so-easy winners. The only glaring mistake on his performance came when he failed to judge a lofted ball over his defense; a mistake that led to Leiria’s only goal. The game ended 3-1 in Sporting’s favor, with Tiago Ilori establishing himself as a player for the future.
Pizzi has made his highly anticipated debut for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. Well, it was highly anticipated for me. Pizzi is a player who has shown huge amounts of potential over the past couple of seasons for Pacos Ferreira, on loan from Braga. At the beginning of this season, Braga announced that the winger would stay in the first team, and that he would join the team for their pre-season. Pizzi joined them, and was one of their stand-out performers. Much was expected of him, but few expected him to make a move to one of the biggest teams on Spain. He did however, moving to Atletico Madrid on a bizarre loan move. After joining up with the team, he made the bench for Atletico’s first Europa League group stage game, against Celtic. Today, however, Pizzi finally made his debut in Atletico’s 4-0 drubbing of Racing Santander. His debut was hugely overshadowed by Falcao’s hat-trick. Speaking after the game, Pizzi expressed his delight in making his debut for Atletico, stating that “It’s the best team I’ve ever been in during my career. We have players with great quality and it’s a great club.” If Pizzi continues his hard work and impresses the Atletico Madrid coach enough, the Spanish club have the ability to activate a clause in Pizzi’s loan contract to buy the winger for 15 million euros. Right now, that seems a little steep. Come January, that may seem a bargain.