Transfer Roundup – 9/3/12


It was an interesting transfer deadline day last Friday, with much happening in the world of Portuguese football. Joao Moutinho was at the heart of much of the news, with his transfer to Tottenham collapsing at the absolute last moment. Although Moutinho stole most of the limelight, there were still lesser-known transfers that were completed.

Tiago Pinto

Rio Ave to Deportivo

Deportivo added to their Portuguese contingent with the capture of Tiago Pinto from Rio Ave. The left-back will most likely play second or third fiddle for the club, behind first-choice Evaldo. Pinto’s move abroad comes as no surprise after two sold seasons at Rio Ave, where he established himself as an important player for the club.

Nuno Coelho

Benfica to Aris (Loan)

After making the move from Academica to Benfica at the beginning of last season, Nuno Coelho has found playing time at Benfica non-existent. In an effort to gain more playing time, he was loaned out to Beira-Mar, in the Liga Zon Sagres, and played well all season long. Now, with his situation at Benfica much the same, he has looked abroad for opportunities. The midfielder has joined Greek outfit Aris on loan for the entire season, and will hope that the experience will be a positive one.

Sana

Free Agent to Academica

Much was expected of Sana following his impressive performances for the Portuguese team at the 2011 U-20 World Cup, but an ill-fated move abroad in Spain has proved detrimental. Now, Sana has made the move back to Academica, as they attempt to bolster their squad ahead of their Europa League campaign this season. Surely, Academica will be a great place for Sana to continue his development and realize his potential.

Carlitos

Hannover to Estoril

While playing at Basel, Carlitos was being courted by some of the biggest names in Italy, including Roma and Fiorentina. He is now returning to Portugal to play for newcomers Estoril, after injuries hampered a two-season stay at Bundesliga side Hannover. His talent is undoubted, so he will surely add much to Estoril’s team.

Henrique

Academica to Blackburn

Blackburn have increased the number of Portuguese players in the team to six after their last-minute capture of Academica central-defender Henrique. After being purchased from Braga at the beginning of the season, Henrique was promptly snapped up by the English club, having only appeared twice for the Portuguese club.

Yannick

Benfica to Toulouse (Loan)

Yannick has found playing time at Benfica hard to come by, after completing his move there last season. The move to Benfica was surely a relief after his cancelled transfer to Nice, but competition has been fierce. Competing with the likes of Salvio, Nolito, Ola John, and Gaitan (among others), Yannick opted to go out on loan, to ensure playing time. He will play at Toulouse for the remainder of the season, with an option to buy.

Ukra

Porto to Rio Ave (Loan)

Porto winger Ukra has joined Rio Ave on loan for the entire season, as his options at Porto appear limited. The winger was in much the same situation last season, and joined Braga on loan for the entirety of last season. Though he was impressive when he played, he was injured during the majority of the time at the club. An undoubted talent, Ukra will surely shine for Rio Ave this season.

 

Andre Martins’ Stock Rises


 

Portugal 5-0 Moldova (U21)

Nelson Oliveira’s brace helped the Portuguese National Under-21 team to a thumping 5-0 victory over Moldova and push Portugal into third in their group. Sana, Abel Camara, and Rui Fonte all scored also. The win was a much needed one for the team after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Poland and a 2-1 loss against Russia last month. The team responded well, completely dominating Moldova in every department. Andre Martins was also instrumental to the team’s success tonight, recording two assists.

The game started off well for the Seleccao. Just six minutes in, Nelson Oliveira capitalized on a mistake from a Moldovan defender to bury the ball into the bottom corner and give Portugal an early 1-0 lead. Portugal applied heavily pressure and almost doubled their lead after a wonderful long ball from Andre Martins found Josue’s run on the right. The midfielder padded his header down to the onrushing Rui Fonte, who was unable to get a clean strike away. Andre Martins then came close again after his well-struck free kick was beaten away by the Moldovan goalkeeper. Andre Martins then turned provider for Rui Fonte for Portugal’s second goal. The midfielder picked up the ball on the right side of the pitch and delivered an inch-perfect cross right onto the head of Rui Fonte, who made no mistake with his finish.  Andre Martins was then on the end of Portugal’s chance eight minutes later, after a quick throw-in from Cedric found the winger in space, but Martins couldn’t shoot on frame. Portugal were too hot to handle for Moldova, but it was looking to be more the Andre Martins show than anything else; and what a show it was. Martins continued his impressive game when a quick give-and-go opened up space for the midfielder, whose square ball found Sana, who made no mistake with his shot to make the score 3-0 in Portugal’s favor. Very soon after, Portugal rubbed yet more salt into Moldova’s already throbbing wounds. Ruben Ferreira found space on the left and whipped in a cross which fell plum onto the feet of Nelson Oliveira, who guided the ball into the back of the net.

That was how the half ended: 4-0 Portugal. The Seleccao were ahead and looked worthy victors already. There was more to come, however. Two of the night’s finest performers were substituted off just after half time. Andre Martins and Nelson Oliveira were replaced by Abel Camara and Salvador Agra, respectively. This change was most likely to keep the two players as fit as possible for the team’s upcoming match against Albania, who will most likely pose much more of a threat. The second half was much more laid-back than the first, but Portugal still managed to add to their tally. Rui Fonte was played through and toe-poked a pass to the waiting Abel Camara, who stroked the ball into the back of the net with his less-dominant right-foot. That was how the match ended. With this win, Portugal move into second place in Group 6, and have a chance to qualify for the finals for the first time in what will be six years.

Man-of-the-match: Andre Martins/Nelson Oliveira

Crutch of the match: NO ONE!

Mika, Joao Pereira, Cedric, Pedro Mendes, Ruben, Josue, Sana(Diogo Viana), Andre Martins(Abel Camara), Diogo Amado, Rui Fonte, Nelson Oliveira(Salvador Agra)

Youngsters Draw Poland


Portugal 1-1 Poland (U21)

The Portuguese Under-21 picked up an unlucky point against Poland in their second match of Euro 2013 qualification. The game started off perfectly for the home side, with Pedro Mendes heading in a Josue cross to give Portugal an early 1-0 lead. That goal was virtually the first thing of note to occur in the match. Instead of dropping back in intensity as we have seen much too often, the team pressed forward. Wilson Eduardo came close after a brilliant turn and pass from Sana set him up, but he lifted his shot above the goal. Portugal then came within a whisker away from doubling their lead. A curling cross from the left was sent in, and the youngster’s deft header clipped the crossbar as it bounced out. Poland then surprised everyone when they grabbed a goal to level the scores at 1-1. Some sloppy defending and some neat link-up play gave Poland a shock equaliser. Not at all put off, Portugal continued their charge forward. Wilson Eduardo was next to join the list of misses, and his was certainly the worst. After a blatantly errant back pass from a Pole, Wilson Eduardo was one-on-one with the opposition goalkeeper, only to be brought down by the keeper in the box. The referee made no hesitation as he showed the keeper red and pointed to the spot. Wilson Eduardo stepped up and struck the penalty, which hit the left-hand upright post and rolled agonizingly close along the goalmouth to the opposite side. Portugal continued their dominance, but luck was not on their side. Wilson Eduardo tried two speculative efforts, but they fizzed wide and high, respectively. After Diogo Viana’s well-struck free kick was saved by the Polish goalkeeper, Andre Almeida came agonizingly close to sealing the win for the Seleccao. A fine cross was sent in from the right, which picked up Andre Almeida’s run perfectly. The midfielder’s header cannoned back off the upright. That miss summed up the night for Portugal, who just couldn’t find Lady Luck. The final score: 1-1. Portugal may not have won, but the skill and understanding of the players is an encouraging sign. With some work, this team has the ability to be great.

Mika, Cedric, Pedro Mendes, Joao Pereira, Mario Rui, Andre Almeida, Andre Martins(David Simao), Sana(Nelson Oliveira), Josue, Wilson Eduardo(Diogo Viana), Rui Fonte

Oliveira and Sana Dropped Due to Injury


Nelson Oliveira and Lassana Camara have both been dropped from the Portuguese Under-21 team, due to injury. Both Oliveira and Sana, as he is called, impressed for Portugal during this summer’s U-20 World Cup. They have more than earned their call-ups, but their U-21 debuts will have to wait. Pele, of Genoa, and Joao Silva, currently on loan at Vitoria Setubal from Everton, have been called up as able replacements. Joao Silva has been in fine form this season, already scoring twice this season. Pele has yet to play for Genoa, but like Sana and Nelson Oliveira, he was impressive in the U-20 World Cup.

U-20 Quartet in U-21 Squad


Portuguese U-21 coach Rui Jorge has named the squad to face Moldova and France on September 1st and 5th, respectively. The Moldova game is the first game of Portugal’s Euro 2013 qualification campaign, so they will be hoping to improve on what has been some disappointing previous qualification campaigns. Freshly back from the U-20 World Cup, Nelson Oliveira, Cedric, Sana, and Mika have all been called for this game after their impressive performances for the U-20 team during the World Cup.

Here’s the full list:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Cristiano (Valência), Mika (Benfica)

Defense: Cédric (Académica), Ivo Pinto (UD Leiria), João Pereira (Beira-Mar), Pedro Mendes (Real Madrid), Ruben (Marítimo), Vítor Bastos (Atlético)

Midfield: André Almeida (UD Leiria), André Martins (Sporting), Amado (Estoril), Diogo Rosado (Feirense), Josué (P. Ferreira), Saná (Valladolid), Ricardo Martins (Desp. Aves)

Forwards: Abel (Belenenses), Diogo Viana (Penafiel), Nélson Oliveira (Benfica), Rui Fonte (Espanhol), Wilson (Olhanense)

Portuguese Settle For Draw


The Portuguese National Under-20 Team settled for a draw tonight against Uruguay. Both Portugal and Uruguay controlled the game from time to time and were, overall, even. Portugal showed more possession in the first half of play, but Uruguay stepped up their game in the second half and shackled Portugal’s play. Both teams came close at times, most notably when Sergio Oliveira hit the post with a marvelous free-kick, and when Uruguay’s captain, Diego Polenta, rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.

Overall, Portugal played a defensive, possession-first game. The service to the forwards was not always the best, with Sana to be partially at fault. Danilo Pereira and Pele both excelled in their defensive midfield duties, but they would often leave Sana and Sergio Oliveira to do most of the creative attacking work in the midfield, due to their defensive approach. By far the most important aspect of the team was the defense. Nuno Reis and Roderick were water-tight, shutting down Uruguayan advances all night. The outside backs (Cedric and Luis Martins) were solid also.

Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins, Cedric, Pele (Julio Alves), Danilo Pereira, Sana (Tiago Ferreira), Sergio Oliveira, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Lopes (Alex)

Player Ratings:

Mika: 7 : Benfica’s new signing certainly lived up to his reputation with an assured display. He always looked confident in his handling.

Nuno Reis: 7 : The pairing of Roderick and Reis complement each other well. The defense was one of Portugal’s strong-suits tonight, no doubt because of him.

Roderick: 7 : As stated above, Roderick performed well in his defensive duties, constantly breaking up plays. His range of passing was also a sight to behold.

Luis Martins: 6.5 : Martins had a solid game defensively, but I would have liked to see him attack more.

Cedric: 7 : Portugal’s number 8 had both a solid defensive and offensive game. His runs forward furthered Portugal’s attack and gave Uruguay headaches

Pele: 7 : Genoa’s new signing met all expectations. Pele is naturally a very gifted player, and it was shown tonight. He constantly got himself out of sticky situations using his skill. Along with Danilo Pereira, He anchored Portugal’s team and supplied the link between the defense and midfield.

Danilo Pereira: 7 : Much the same with Pele, Danilo fulfilled his role well, holding the midfield down with style. The only downside to his performance was his lack of attacking.

Sana: 6.5 : Virtually Portugal’s only creative midfielder, Sana was constantly on breakaways and feeding the forwards passes, only for them to make a mess of them. It must have been a frustrating night for him.

Sergio Oliveira: 6.5 : Apart from hitting the post in the second half, Porto’s midfielder didn’t do much. He hit many speculative shots, but could have helped Sana more in the midfield.

Nelson Oliveira: 6 : Overall, Nelson Oliveira did not play well. He did not play badly, but he just had a bad game. Missed an open opportunity when Sana put him through on goal in the second half,  but he missed his shot.

Rafael Lopes: 5 : A very dissappointing performance from the forward, who just couldn’t find his feet. The only thing he did was make Uruguay’s players angry. He was nowhere to be seen for large chunks of time in the game.

Substitutues:

Alex: 6.5 : The Santa Clara man came on for the ineffectual Rafael Lopes, and did better than his predecessor. He made some good passes and generally looked good on the ball. Would be a good replacement for Rafael Lopes in the coming games.

Julio Alves: 6 : Overall a very mediocre performance from Atletico Madrid’s new signing. Mind you, he did only have a handful of minutes at the end.

Tiago Ferreira: N/A : Not enough time on the field to give a rating.