Show Must Go On – Benfica Transfer Window Summary


Benfica logoTransfers windows haven’t been kind to Benfica recently and there were no exceptions this winter window with the departure of the influential Argentine Enzo Perez, who left the club to join rejuvenated Valencia in Spain for €25 million. The Portuguese League Player of the Year was joined by highly rated Portuguese youngster, Bernardo Silva on the way out of Lisbon as his loan deal with resurrected French side Monaco was made permanent for €15,75 million. On the other hand, there were some additions to the Benfica side, the more notable being Jonathan Rodríguez who joined the Portuguese giants on a two-year loan deal following controversies. Continue reading

Nelson Oliveira Joins Swansea on Loan


Nelson Oliveira - Benfica

Nelson Oliveira

Benfica to Swansea (loan)

Benfica striker Nelson Oliveira has agreed to a loan to Swansea City in the English Premier League until the end of the season. Much touted earlier in his career, Oliveira has stagnated. Having only made a handful of appearances for Benfica’s first team this season, a loan deal looked likely, and despite joining a team in such a challenging and difficult league, there’s every indication that Oliveira will see playing time.  Continue reading

Andre Gomes Earns First Call


Due to injury, Ruben Micael and Hugo Almeida have had to pull out of the Portugal squad ahead of the team’s upcoming match against Ecuador. Called to replace them is Andre Gomes and Nelson Oliveira. The inclusion of Andre Gomes is an interesting one from Portugal National Team coach Paulo Bento. Gomes has broken into Benfica’s first team this season, and a string of positive performances have even merited a starting spot ahead of other very talented midfielders in the team. Despite this, Gomes has never represented the Portugal U-21 team. This is quite a jump.

Nelson Moves to Italy


Nelson - Portugal vs Finland

Nelson

Real Betis to Palermo

Real Betis right-back Nelson has made the switch to Italy to join Palermo. The Italian side are struggling in Serie A so far this season. Normally a top half team, Palermo now finds itself second to last in the Serie A, with only 17 points from 22 games. Real Betis, however, is currently over-performing in La Liga, and currently sits at fifth in the standings. Nelson has appeared only ten times in the league for Betis so far this season, but will most likely become an important part of Palermo.

Portugal Ties Gabon


Gabon 2-2 Portugal

In what turned into quite a strange game, Portugal left the African continent with only a tie against Gabon. Pizzi and Hugo Almeida both scored for the Seleccao, but the team was unable to come away with a victory against their African opposition. Many November friendlies are rarely taken seriously. These friendlies are mainly concerned with testing new players into the national team setup, which may result in sub-par results. This, along with questionable refereeing, heat, and an uneven pitch, is what happened against Gabon.

The game started in a choppy fashion, with both teams attempting to find their feet. Gabon appeared to find theirs first, most likely due to being used to the heat and their home pitch. Only an inaccurate shot spared Portugal’s blushes in the 26th minute, as Gabon came extremely close to scoring. Gabon got their goal soon after, however. The ball was crossed in, and a clumsy tackle from Silvio brought down a Gabonese player, although the contact looked to be minimal. Nevertheless, the referee awarded a penalty, which Gabon slotted past Beto to make the score 1-0 in their favor, and stun Portugal. Portugal was stunned into action, and responded immediately. Eder was pulled down in the box, and the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty for Portugal, just two minutes after Gabon’s. Debutant Pizzi stepped up confidently, and easily slotted the ball past the Gabonese goalkeeper to level the scores. Not much more happened before halftime, and Portugal went into the locker room wondering what was happening.

Soon after the restart, Bruno Alves came close from a speculative long-range cross-shot, but nothing came of it. Portugal continued to press, and were rewarded on the hour mark. A neat one-two between Nelson and Varela left the former to square the ball to the wide-open Hugo Almeida, who tapped the ball into the empty net. But alas, Portugal’s woes were far from done. Gabon scored less than 10 minutes later, to level the scores at 2-2. From then on out, it was one-way Gabonese traffic, with the hosts controlling the flow of the game, as Portugal stepped off the gas due their large number of substitutions.

Beto, Nelson, Ricardo Costa, Pepe(Bruno Alves), Silvio, Custodio(Helder Barbosa), Joao Moutinho(Hugo Viana), Ruben Micael(Ruben Amorim), Varela(Paulo Machado), Pizzi, Eder(Hugo Almeida)

Highlights Here

Nelson Called to Replace Coentrao


Paulo Bento has called up Nelson to replace the injured Fabio Coentrao for the team’s upcoming match against Northern Ireland. Coentrao hobbled off the pitch during Portugal’s last game against Russia, and it appears that the defender will not recover in time for the game this week. Called to replace Coentrao and to give the Seleccao cover in the right/left back spots is Nelson, currently playing for Real Betis. Also dropped is Raul Meireles, who also cannot shake off his injury. No replacement will be called for Meireles.

Wonder Goals Push Portugal Past Panama


Portugal 2-0 Panama

Two finely-taken goals, one from Cristiano Ronaldo, and the other from Nelson Oliveira, sealed a 2-0 win over an inferior Panama side. Portugal had chances aplenty, but had a hard time finishing off those chances, with Hugo Almeida particularly suspect. Nevertheless, the Seleccao’s play oozed class, and the performance was encouraging.

The game started off brightly for the hosts. Joao Moutinho was the first to have a shot at goal. The live-wire midfielder cut the ball onto his left foot, but couldn’t keep his shot low enough. The deadlock was broken twenty minutes later. Young striker Nelson Oliveira received a pass from Miguel Lopes, side-stepped multiple Panama defenders, and unleashed a left-footed shot into the upper left-hand corner of the goal. With the score 1-0 in Portugal’s favor, the team continued to press. Oliveira and Ronaldo both tested the Panama goalkeeper with deft efforts, and were unlucky to have not scored. The opposition goalkeeper was proving to be the hero for his team, and after he parried an excellent Nani shot, he was looking better by the minute. The first half ended that way, at 1-0.

The second half started perfectly for the Seleccao. Raul Meireles lobbed a ball for Ronaldo, who chested down the pass, and unleashed a fierce volley into the bottom right-hand corner. It was what we have come to expect from the second-best player in the world, but it was nevertheless impressive. With the score at 2-0, Portugal still continued to press the opposition. Rolando had a brilliant header saved by Panama’s goalkeeper. Then came the Hugo Almeida farce show. Minutes after Rolando’s header, a header from Ricardo Costa was saved by the opposition goalkeeper, who parried it directly into Hugo Almeida’s path. Somehow, Almeida whiffed the ball, and it rolled slowly out for a goal kick. It was disappointing from the striker, and he failed to put away a further chance later in the game, sending his header well wide of the Panama goal. That was how the game ended: 2-0.

Eduardo(Beto), Miguel Lopes, Rolando, Ricardo Costa, Fabio Coentrao, Hugo Viana(Ruben Micael), Joao Moutinho(Carlos Martins), Raul Meireles(Miguel Veloso), Nani, Ronaldo(Varela), Nelson Oliveira(Hugo Almeida)

Highlights Here

Nelson Oliveira, Custodio, and Miguel Lopes Make Euro 2012 Squad


Paulo Bento released the highly-anticipated squad list for Euro 2012 today, with the inclusion of Nelson Oliveira, Miguel Lopes, and Custodio and the exclusion of Hugo Viana to note. Hugo Viana has enjoyed a wonderful season for Braga, and many were clamoring for his inclusion in the squad for this upcoming European Championship. As it turns out, Viana did not make the team, which was justified by Portugal coach Paulo Bento. He stated simply that “Hugo Viana does not fit in this group.” Bento simply confirmed the theory that many held that Viana had not been called up because he doesn’t fit into Portugal’s formation. Two other Braga players did make the squad, however. Custodio and Miguel Lopes, both uncapped at the senior level for Portugal, have impressed enough this season to earn a call-up from Bento. Below is the full squad list:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting), Eduardo (Benfica), Beto (Cluj)

Defenders: João Pereira (Sporting), Miguel Lopes (SC Braga), Pepe (Real Madrid), Bruno Alves (Zenit), Rolando (FC Porto), Ricardo Costa (Valencia), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid)

Midfielders: João Moutinho (FC Porto), Raúl Meireles (Chelsea), Carlos Martins (Granada), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Rúben Micael (Zaragoza), Custódio (SC Braga)

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Nani (Manchester United), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Silvestre Varela (FC Porto), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Hélder Postiga (Zaragoza), Nélson Oliveira (Benfica)