This weekend brought goals across Europe for some of Portugal’s biggest names. Perhaps the pick of the stories is Nélson Semedo opening his account for Barcelona, but there were also important goals for João Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus, while André Silva, Raphael Guerreiro and Bernardo Silva were on target in Spain, Germany and England respectively.
Meanwhile, there was a red card for Ricardo Quaresma in Turkey, and a typically mixed weekend for Portuguese bosses saw more frustration for Miguel Cardoso and an indignant Marco Silva, though there was better news for Pedro Caixinha, Pedro Martins and Rui Faria.
Nélson Semedo, André Silva shine in Spain
Former Benfica right-back Nélson Semedo got his first goal for Spanish champions Barcelona in their 2-0 win at Girona on Sunday evening. With less than ten minutes played, Semedo found himself in the Girona penalty area to sweep home with his left foot to put the Liga champions ahead. Lionel Messi scored the other goal in the second half to maintain Barca’s 5-point lead at the top of the table.
Barcelona’s thoughts now switch to overturning a 2-0 deficit against Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey in midweek at Camp Nou. Sevilla warmed up for the return leg with a 5-0 win over Levante on Saturday, with André Silva getting the second on the hour mark when he converted from close-range. Daniel Carriço was also in the line-up for Sevilla, who stay in 3rd place in the standings.
Also in Spain, there was further disappointment for Miguel Cardoso as his Celta Vigo side lost for the third straight time having taken the lead, this time going down 2-1 at Real Valladolid in Sunday lunchtime’s kick off. Celta had previously lost 2-1 to Valencia last week and 4-2 at Rayo Vallecano the previous week, with both defeats coming having led.
Cancelo makes the difference
Juventus survived a scare in their bid to remain undefeated this season in Serie A, and it was Portuguese duo João Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo who rescued the Bianconeri after they fell 1-0 behind at Lazio in the second half on Sunday evening.
An own goal from Emre Can gave the team from the capital the lead before the hour mark and threatened to consign Juve to their first league loss on their 21st outing. However, Cancelo was summoned from the bench on 70 minutes, and just a few moments later the former Benfica man was on-hand to slot in after Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha had parried Paulo Dybala’s effort.
The match looked to be heading for a draw, but with just a couple of minutes of normal time remaining, Cancelo was held back in the penalty area as he looked to get on the end of a Dybala cross. Ronaldo stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, and the Portugal captain dispatched the ball high into the roof of the net to maintain Juve’s remarkable run of results. Lazio’s Pedro Neto then came on for the final few minutes, making it a Serie A debut for the 19-year-old.
Juventus now have an 11-point lead at the top of Serie A, but while the title looks wrapped up, there promises to be an intense fight for Champions League qualification, with Inter Milan - the home of João Mário and now Cédric Soares - and Mário Rui’s Napoli well placed at the moment. To bet on the final standings in Italy and elsewhere in the football world, take advantage of the Pinnacle VIP Code to get great betting bonuses.
Guerreiro on target in Germany
In the Bundesliga, Raphaël Guerreiro was in fine form as leaders Borussia Dortmund dispatched Hannover 5-1 at the Westfalonstadion to remain six points clear of champions Bayern Munich at the top. The Portugal full-back played the full 90 minutes for just the third time this season, and responded with a goal and an assist for Dortmund.
The hosts opened the scoring with an outstanding goal on 24 minutes through young left-back Achraf Hakimi, who played the ball inside to Guerreiro before receiving a cushioned return from the Portuguese and smashing his finish past Michael Esser in the Hannover goal.
Guerreiro got in on the goalscoring act in the second half with what was Dortmund’s fourth of the afternoon. A typically swift Dortmund break ended with Marco Reus playing Guerreiro in to finish well with his right foot for his first Bundesliga goal of the season.
Bernardo scores as furious Silva berates costly decision
It was FA Cup weekend in England with the 4th round taking place to decide the last 16. Favourites Manchester City are through after comfortably beating fellow Premier League club Burnley 5-0 at home. Bernardo Silva scored the second for the English champions on 52 minutes, with his left-footed finish taking a slight deflection before beating Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.
Elsewhere in the competition, Marco Silva was left fuming after seeing his Everton side twice relinquish the lead to lose 3-2 at Millwall. The second equaliser was the cause of much controversy in London, as Jake Cooper’s use of a hand evaded the officials but was captured on the big screen inside the stadium during replays.
VAR is not used outside of Premier League club grounds in the FA Cup, and Silva was frustrated with the outcome after Millwall went on to score a stoppage-time winner. "It was a clear handball. I'm sure handball is not allowed in football,” he said. “We had seven, eight players in the penalty area. They all see that it's handball, so it's really difficult that the referee cannot see that also.
"And then it's also on the big screen, thousands of people see it there but the referee didn't see it again. It was really strange in that moment. Now we go home frustrated. You have to be fair, even with the competition, not just with Everton,” said the former Sporting boss.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers survived a scare in their clash at Shrewsbury Town. Nuno’s side, which started with Rúben Neves and Hélder Costa from the Portuguese contingent, were 2-0 down with just 15 minutes to play at the third-tier club, but João Moutinho and Ivan Cavaleiro came off the bench to help rescue a 2-2 draw, with Cavaleiro assisting the first goal scored by ex-Benfica striker Raul Jimenez.
More Portuguese providers
The assist from Cavaleiro was not the only by a Portuguese during the 4th round. André Gomes registered an assist for Richarlison’s opener in the aforementioned Everton game, while Domingos Quina was given a runout by Watford in their tie away to Newcastle, and responded by providing the set-up for the Hornets’ second, scored by Isaac Success.
There were also Portuguese assists in Belgium and Holland. In the Dutch Eredivisie, Fortuna Sittard staged a late comeback to beat Vitesse 2-1 with two goals in the final 15 minutes. The first was provided by a cross from André Vidigal, who picked out Lars Hutten to level. Meanwhile in Belgium Antwerp rescued a point in their big clash with Standard Liege, and former Porto forward Ivo Rodrigues was the provider for Dieurmerci Mbokani to level things up at 1-1 with ten minutes to play.
Red for Quaresma
Ricardo Quaresma was sent off for the second time in six weeks after getting his marching orders for a late lunge towards the end of Besiktas’ 1-1 home draw with Erzurumspor. The Istanbul club remain in 6th place in the Super Lig after the draw, and Quaresma was issued a straight red for a challenge on Leo Schwechlen as the clock neared 90 minutes.
Lille still flying high in France
Lille’s outstanding season continued on Friday night as coach Christophe Gaultier selected Portuguese trio José Fonte, Xeka and Rafael Leão for their impressive 2-1 victory at Marseille. The win was Lille’s fifth consecutive triumph in a row in all competitions and they remain in 2nd place in Ligue 1, with a three-point advantage over 3rd place Lyon. Portugal defender Rolando took his place in the Marseille line-up.
Elsewhere in France, Leonardo Jardim will re-take the reigns at Monaco with the team continuing to flounder following the departure of Thierry Henry as coach. With Rony Lopes in midfield, the Monegasques went down 2-0 at Dijon on Saturday and again had a man sent off, making it six league games without a win.
Portuguese bosses: Faria heads to QSL Cup final
While Jardim prepares for his old role, Rui Faria is enjoying his first managerial steps in Qatari football. The Portuguese will take charge of Al-Duhail in the Qatari Sports League Cup final on Thursday after a resounding 4-0 win over Qatar SC saw Faria’s men come through the semi-final. Duhail, who were 3-0 up inside half an hour, will meet Al Kharitiyath in the final.
In Mexico, Pedro Caixinha’s Cruz Azul appear to be up and running after a slow start to the new campaign. Caixinha’s side began the new year with one win from three games, but now have three victories in a row after Saturday’s 1-0 win over Tijuana in the Liga MX Clausura.
Pedro Martins is also on a winning run in Greek football with Olympiakos. Sunday’s 2-0 win at Asteras Tripolis made it four consecutive wins for former Vitória Guimarães coach Martins, who has only lost once – in the Europa League at Real Betis – in his last 18 outings with the Piraeus-based club.
Machado fires Costa’s Mumbai top
Well-travelled former Portugal international winger Paulo Machado continues to make an impact on Indian football, having made the move to South Asia last summer to join Jorge Costa’s Mumbai City. Machado, now 32, scored the only goal of the game and his second for the club as Costa’s Mumbai beat Bengaluru 1-0 to go top of the Indian Super League. Machado also has three assists this season, which is 13 league games old.
PEFORMER OF THE WEEK: Nélson Semedo (Barcelona)
Very strong competition from João Cancelo, who turned Juventus’ game with Lazio, but Semedo has waited 18 months for his first goal in a Barcelona shirt. Semedo’s strike against Girona will hopefully help his case to cement a consistent place in Barca’s backline.
By Sean Gillen