Comprehensive Portuguese in the Champions League round-up

Renato Sanches came back to the Estádio da Luz and stole the show as Bayern Munich inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Benfica. The 21-year-old midfielder was involved in the first goal and scored the second. Porto got what could prove a crucial point as they began their Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw in Germany at Schalke, Otávio scoring from the penalty spot. Matthew Marshall reports from Gelsenkirchen and Tom Kundert from Lisbon.

PortuGOAL also rounds up all the action involving Portuguese players and coaches as Ronaldo received a shock red card, Bernardo Silva scored in a losing effort and there were differing fortunes for coaches José Mourinho, Paulo Fonseca and Leonardo Jardim.

 

Schalke 1-1 FC Porto

It was far from spectacular, but Porto made a solid start to their Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw in Germany at Schalke.

In a physical game of few chances, defences were always on top, and on his debut in the competition Porto centre-back Éder Militão gave another demonstration that the Dragons appear to have hit the jackpot with his signing. The Brazilian centre-back was excellent alongside compatriot Filipe at the heart of Porto’s defence.

The Portuguese team had the chance to make the perfect start after Schalke centre-back Naldo handled in the box to concede an early penalty, but Alex Telles’ spot kick was superbly saved by Ralf Fahrmann. It would be the hosts who took the lead in the 64th minute after a quick break ended with Swiss striker Embolo beating Casillas.

Porto soon hit back though, as another penalty given away by Naldo was this time converted by Otávio. Both sides had half chances to claim all three points late on but a draw was a fair reflection on a game that will not live long in the memory. “If any team deserved to win, it was Porto,” said coach Sérgio Conceição after the match.

Add-ons from our man in Gelsinkirchen, Matthew Marshall

Éder Militão got the start in central defence and showed why he is so highly rated. Tall, strong and quick, the 20-year-old Brazilian displayed a willingness to bring the ball out of defence with confidence and exhibited a respectable passing range.

With approximately 50 top flight appearances to his name and most of them at right back, including his debut for the Brazil national team against El Salvador last week, his future might lay centrally. There is an abundance of right-backs in world football and many of them Brazilian, but a central defender with Militão’s skill set is hard to come by.

It is certainly worth a lot of money in the current market, and there is no doubt Porto pulled off a major coup by signing him for a mere €4 million from São Paulo. After failing to repeat the trick of finding young gems in South America in recent years, Porto appear to have found one they can polish and sell for a significant profit in the not too distant future.

Danilo Pereira is working his way back to full fitness after a long injury layoff and put in a solid performance against Schalke. His calmness and composure allowed Hector Herrera and Otávio the freedom to push forward.

Danilo displayed all the hallmarks of an experienced campaigner with more time to sum up the situation than those around him. He also produced a wonderful tackle on Breel Embolo who was racing through on goal and looked likely to score.

 


 

Tuesday round-up:

Napoli left-back Mário Rui followed up his recent good performances in a Portugal shirt with another good showing as the Italian side played out a goalless draw at Red Star Belgrade. Rui almost won it for Napoli with a direct free kick that left the goalkeeper standing but the ball whistled inches over the bar.

Elsewhere, it was a largely disappointing Tuesday for Portuguese players and coaches in the Champions League. A torrid start to the season for Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco got no better as the French outfit lost 2-1 at home to Atlético Madrid, for whom Gelson Martins did not get off the bench.

Starter Manuel Fernandes and second-half substitute Eder could do nothing to prevent a heavy Lokomotiv Moscow defeat in Turkey, Galatasaray running out 3-0 winners. 

 


 

Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich

After an even opening ten minutes Bayern struck with a devastating move. Renato Sanches surged through the middle of the park, spread the ball wide left where Ribery and Alaba combined to transport it into the middle for Lewandowski, and the Polish striker expertly shimmied past his marker before shooting unerringly into the net.

The goal unsettled Benfica as Bayern began to look dangerous from almost every attack, with Ribery in particular causing havoc with his direct running and dribbling. Robben spurned two clear chances to double the lead, with Benfica goalkeeper Vlachodimos doing well to deny him on both occasions. Towards half time Benfica began to get themselves back in the game, Neuer having to be alert to deny Salvio.

The complexion of the match did not greatly change in the second half, with Bayern’s crisp passing, speed of execution and impressive combination play often leaving Benfica chasing shadows.

Renato’s moment

In the 54th minute Renato Sanches, who did not look out of place for the slick German powerhouse, turned back the clock to his glory days that made him one of Europe’s top prospects two years ago. Picking up the ball deep in his own half, Sanches embarked on a tremendously powerful run from box to box, releasing James Rodriguez, who crossed low for Renato to finish off the move he started.

Sanches put his hands up in apology to the home fans and was visibly emotional, with the Benfica faithful reacting by applauding him. Quite a moment as over 60,000 fans at the Estádio da Luz gave the midfielder an ovation.

As the clock wound down, Bayern took their foot off the accelerator and Benfica started to apply pressure, Rúben Dias coming close to pulling a goal back from a corner but his header was tipped over the bar by Neuer. Bayern were in control however, and only another sharp save by the excellent Vlachodimos denied Robben from notching a third for the Bavarians.

 


 

Wednesday round-up

Having got off the mark for Juventus at the weekend with a brace against Sassualo, there were high expectations ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League debut for Juventus. It could not have gone worse for the Portugal captain, however, as a trip back to Spain ended in a controversial red card after just 29 minutes after tangling with Valencia centre-back Murillo. Never one to hide his emotions, Ronaldo left the pitch in tears.

Despite playing for an hour with ten men, Juventus, with João Cancelo at right-back, won 2-0 thanks to two penalties, the first one earned by Cancelo. Portuguese duo Rúben Vezo and Gonçalo Guedes started for Valencia, but both were substituted in the second half.

Bernardo Silva continued his excellent form for Manchester City with a goal against Lyon at the Etihad Stadium, but it was not enough to prevent Pepe Guardiola’s team from falling to a surprise 2-1 defeat against the French team, for whom Anthony Lopes kept goal and made a number of important saves.

José Mourinho’s Manchester United continued their resurgence with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Young Boys in Switzerland on a night that Diogo Dalot won’t forget in a hurry. The former Porto right-back made his debut for the Red Devils, playing the full ninety minutes.

It was not such good news for another Portuguese coach, Paulo Fonseca, whose Shakhtar Donetsk side were held to a 2-2 home draw by Hoffenheim.

By Tom Kundert

 

Comments (9)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

What in the holy hell was the ref watching to send Ronaldo off? Should have given the diving little troll Murillo a yellow for simulation. Pathetic refereeing for a champions league game.

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I have to disagree with Val. The diving wasn't the reason CR got sent off. CR was sent off for pulling the hair of the Valencia player in the aftermath. Correct decision. The thing I don't understand is referee saw neither incident, and...

I have to disagree with Val. The diving wasn't the reason CR got sent off. CR was sent off for pulling the hair of the Valencia player in the aftermath. Correct decision. The thing I don't understand is referee saw neither incident, and apparently VAR has not yet been introduced to UEFA competitions. So I don't know how he is allowed to make this decision. Also, when you send off the player who retaliates but the instigator doesn't receive a bare yellow for simulation? This is age-old double standard is beyond sickening.

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Rui Victoria has to be one of the worst managers of the big 3 when it comes to European competitions I have ever seen, if Jorge Jesus was still Benfica manager he would be doing much better tactically.

Looking at the comments about the red card...

Rui Victoria has to be one of the worst managers of the big 3 when it comes to European competitions I have ever seen, if Jorge Jesus was still Benfica manager he would be doing much better tactically.

Looking at the comments about the red card about Ronaldo, if this is a red card then there is a lot of red cards in every game then, when a player hits the floor as soon as another player touches him... are they going to be sent off automatically?

Either way Ronaldo shouldn't be touching him at all but that is a very poor red card to give out given the fact even more the red didn't see it, he was told by the linesman

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Would you like to compare the roster Rui Vitoria has vs the roster Jorge Jesus had? The fact that Rui V has a better resume in the same amount of time as JJ had with the pedestrian squad he has, says a lot about him.

In his first 2 seasons he...

Would you like to compare the roster Rui Vitoria has vs the roster Jorge Jesus had? The fact that Rui V has a better resume in the same amount of time as JJ had with the pedestrian squad he has, says a lot about him.

In his first 2 seasons he managed to equal Jorge Jesus' greatest ever accomplishment over 6 seasons at Benfica: going to the Champions League Quarter Finals. Not to mention the 2 Liga Nos titles. Again, with a squad that is average at best, compared to Jesus who had David Luiz, Di Maria, Aimar, Coentrao, Enzo Perez, Gaitan, Rodrigo, Matic and on and on.

Rui V is not the greatest manager in the world, but honestly, he is the Vitor Pereira of Benfica. Only when he is gone will Benfica fans see what he managed to accomplish with some of the worst starting lineups Benfica has fielded in the last 20 years.

And this from a Porto fan.

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A battling performance and the point gained will be crucial at the end of the group stage. Schalke’s press made it a tough game and there were some tired legs out there - Felipe looked like he’d fall over/get injured by the end. The first 20mins...

A battling performance and the point gained will be crucial at the end of the group stage. Schalke’s press made it a tough game and there were some tired legs out there - Felipe looked like he’d fall over/get injured by the end. The first 20mins in particular were full of mistakes (Felipe/Herrera/Telles) but once they settled down I felt Porto were the better team and they were trying to win the game as the 57% possession stats show. Schalke nullified Marega by denying him space to run into and marked Aboubakar so closely he couldnt hold onto the ball so the usual runs by Herrera/Brahimi weren’t coming off. Corona was dangerous when he came on, Éder Militão looks a class act, Otavio is proving crucial with assists/goals this season and props to Danilo also. Captain Hector not up to his usual standards and I wonder if the contract/Real rumours are on his mind.

Some odd decisions by the officiating team and as for the penalties, sometimes you get them sometimes you don’t.

PORTO!

As for Cristiano's red, that was soft.

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Monaco minus Ronny Lopes are a lot worse as they don't have another player who does what he does!

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Would it not be prudent for Porto to try and swoop in to pick Lopes up while he is still semi-affordable? I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly brimming with confidence when I see Corona or Hernani on or right-wing. Ronny Lopes has a big...

Would it not be prudent for Porto to try and swoop in to pick Lopes up while he is still semi-affordable? I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly brimming with confidence when I see Corona or Hernani on or right-wing. Ronny Lopes has a big upside and he's still somewhat under the radar.

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Yeh i'd have him at Porto for sure but could they afford him? He'll be getting more notice this season so I cant see him coming back to Portugal.
Speaking of Monaco I watched them last night draw against Nimes and again some first teamers were...

Yeh i'd have him at Porto for sure but could they afford him? He'll be getting more notice this season so I cant see him coming back to Portugal.
Speaking of Monaco I watched them last night draw against Nimes and again some first teamers were missing but there are signs that Jardim is getting them to play as a team. They had enough opportunities to win but the ball kept falling to anyone but Falcao (apart from the goal). It'll be a season of transition but players like Golovin and Diop show they haven't lost their touch just yet in the transfer market despite the nonsense in the media.

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but I do like Corona. However I think he's best when played on the left or through the middle rather than on the right.

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