Miguel Cardoso was glowing in his praise of Celta Vigo after his side beat Sevilla on Saturday to secure a vital victory in Spain. The Portuguese coach has been under increasing pressure of late, but a 1-0 victory in La Liga has given Cardoso fresh optimism.
Meanwhile, Leonardo Jardim’s first league game back on the Monaco bench brought their first home win of the season in Ligue 1. The Monegasques dispatched Toulouse 2-1 as Adrien Silva made his debut for Jardim’s side. There were more goals for Ronaldo and Rafael Leão this weekend, while Nuno Espírito Santo got the better of Marco Silva in England.
Spain: “Believe in this team” – Cardoso
Miguel Cardoso approached this weekend’s match with Sevilla in Spain having endured reports of his job being in doubt following a poor recent run of form. Celta came into the match on the back of five straight defeats, the most recent of which led to speculation that the former Rio Ave boss was hanging to his position by a thread.
Celta president Carlos Mourino went some way to calming such suggestions earlier in the week, but Cardoso led his team into the match with Sevilla knowing a positive result was crucial. Celta duly delivered, beating the Andalusian side 1-0 at Balaidos thanks to a 73rd minute goal from Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu.
“I’m happy for the victory, for the players, for the club and for the fans,” Cardoso said after the match. “We believe in ourselves. I want to mention the fans and tell them to believe in this team. We have to look forward and we need the supporters to give us energy during bad times and to celebrate good times together.
“I knew we were going to compete very well and indeed the team has sent a very strong message of unity, strength, friendship. It’s not easy to play against a team like Sevilla. Today we were rewarded and we needed these points. I’m happy because the fans went home with a smile.”
Elsewhere in Spain, Rúben Vezo made his debut for Levante following his loan move from Valencia last week, and the 24-year-old defender enjoyed a clean sheet in their 0-0 draw with Getafe. Leaders Barcelona were held 2-2 at Camp Nou by Valencia, with Nélson Semedo replaced at half time by Barca boss Ernesto Valverde with the champions 2-1 down.
France: Jardim diverts praise to players after Monaco return win
Leonardo Jardim insisted the players deserve the credit after Monaco beat Toulouse 2-1 at the Stade Louis II to reignite their battle to avoid relegation in the France. Jardim last week returned to the club he led to the Ligue 1 title in 2017, and his first match back on the Monaco bench resulted in their first home league win of the season.
Gelson Martins was again in Jardim’s line-up for a first league appearance following his loan move from Atletico Madrid, being replaced for the final twenty minutes by fellow loan signing and debutant Adrien Silva. Midfielder Rony Lopes played 90 minutes for the 6th time since the turn of the year following a season of struggles with injury.
Gelson provided the assist for what proved Monaco’s winner, scored by Cesc Fabregas, just after the hour mark, and Jardim was delighted with his team after the game. “It’s a return to the Stade Louis II with a lot of emotion before and during the match for me, but the players are the first ones responsible for the win,” said the former Sporting coach.
“We played well, we stayed compact. We played well in the open space as requested to the players. I congratulate the group for these first three points of this mini championship. A mini championship of 16 matches, I ask players to think only of these 16 matches.
“We need to gain points over the next fifteen games, I only talk about and think about the future. The past is the past, it’s not easy not to have won at home. It’s not easy psychologically. Now it’s done.”
France: Rafael Leão scores again; Lopes and Lyon beat PSG
Lille are the surprise package in France this season and Rafael Leão has emerged as one of the brightest young prospects in Ligue 1. The 19-year-old former Sporting striker was on-hand to get the opener after just seven minutes as Lille hammered Nice 4-0 on Friday evening, making It five goals in his last six games. José Fonte and Xeca both played the full game for Lille.
That victory for Lille was expected to extend their advantage over Lyon in second place, but a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain kept Lyon just three points further back in 3rd place. Anthony Lopes kept goal for Lyon as they came from behind to beat the champions. Elsewhere, Edgar Ié made his debut for Nantes in their 1-0 win at Entente in the French Cup following his loan move from Lille last week.
Italy: Allegri criticises Cancelo; Ronaldo says “no need to worry”
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice for Juventus against Parma on Saturday evening, but the visitors snatched a 3-3 draw with a last-gasp Gervinho goal as the Italian champions continue to appear suspect defensively. The result means Juve have conceded six goals in their last two games after a surprise 3-0 defeat to Atalanta saw them exit the Coppa Italia in midweek.
Ronaldo put Juve 1-0 up on 36 minutes, then later 3-1 up on 66 minutes, but Parma fought back to earn a draw with a stoppage-time leveller scored by Gervinho. João Cancelo was in the Juventus side, while Bruno Alves – linked with Juventus during the January transfer window – took his place in the Gialloblu backline.
Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri was fuming after the match, in particular at striker Mario Mandzukic who gave possession away cheaply ahead of Parma’s equaliser. Allegri also criticised Cancelo, saying: “On the first goal, there was a cross we should’ve pushed up on, but Cancelo didn’t follow the run,” before adding “at least we gave those who complained we weren’t entertaining enough something to enjoy. Beautiful football doesn’t pay off, at the end of the day you’ve got to just kick it away from your goal.”
However, Ronaldo insisted it was a time for calm. “This is football. I’m happy for the goals, but not the result,” Ronaldo told DAZN. “Parma waited for us to make a mistake and we were a bit too deep in the final minutes.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do with fitness levels or extra training. This is just football, everyone watches Juve because we are the best team and they try to study ways to beat us, but we just need to stay calm.
“We’re not worried, as we have faith in the team, in our technique, our Coach and the staff. No need to worry.”
Elsewhere in Italy, a bad debut for Cédric Soares with Inter saw the Nerazurri lose 1-0 at home to Bologna on Sunday. Soares, who arrived on loan from Southampton last week, started the match but was replaced ten minutes from time. João Mario was a second-half substitute for the last twenty minutes as Inter chased the game.
England: Neves, Gomes in the goals as Nuno beats Silva
Wolverhampton Wanderers inflicted another setback on Marco Silva’s Everton this weekend with a 3-1 victory at Goodison Park, in a match predictably high in Portuguese involvement. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side were typically impressive on the counter attack, creating several good chances as Silva’s men had 64% of the ball.
The opening two goals of the game were scored by Portuguese midfielders, as Rúben Neves’ penalty put Wolves ahead before a fantastic goal from André Gomes drew Everton level. The former Benfica man unleashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net with his left foot on 27 minutes, cancelling out Neves’ 7th minute penalty.
Wolves were back ahead just before half time, with João Moutinho getting the assist for another ex-Benfica man, Raul Jimenez, who made it 2-1. Wolves, who had Rui Patrício in goal, got the third through Leander Dendoncker midway through the second half before later introducing Hélder Costa from the bench as they saw out the remaining stages. Neves was substituted later on with what appeared a sore leg following a kick.
Both managers were respectful of each other following the game, with the victorious Nuno acknowledging the quality of his opposition. “I know it’s very difficult to play here, with the atmosphere,” he said. “Everton are a very good team with a good manager, but one moment can change everything. The boys were very organised, they stayed in shape and controlled the game, and we had a lot of chances.
“We achieved the goal (through Neves), then Everton had a fantastic goal. Then we had to do it again and we were lucky we achieved a second goal just before half time, and that put us on the front foot.”
Silva meanwhile told reporters: “Of course, I am pleased with that initial reaction [to equalise]. But to be honest, that is our obligation. We started the game with a penalty against us and 1-0 down. But we responded and had the chance through Theo and after that we scored a very good goal though André.
“But again, the game was balanced in that moment. We knew it would be tough but we were in control of it. However, we cannot give that chance to them to score. We were prepared, we knew what they would do but we didn’t put in what we must put in on the pitch. In the second half, it happened again.”
England: Lucas João bags late winner, Nélson Oliveira suffers in Championship
It was a tale of contrasting fortunes for Portuguese forwards in the English Championship this weekend. Sheffield Wednesday’s Seleção international Lucas João emerged from the bench to score a 90th minute winner away at Ipswich, getting his 9th league goal of the season from 22 appearances, many of which have been from the bench.
Meanwhile, Reading’s new signing Nélson Oliveira had to be replaced after 73 minutes of their 0-0 draw with Aston Villa after suffering a nasty cut and suspected broken nose from the boot of opposing defender Tyrone Mings. Oliveira scored on his debut for the Royals in midweek, but left the field bloody and heading for hospital during what Reading boss José Gomes felt was an encouraging display.
"It was a very tough game, like we expected, against statistically the third-best attack in the league," Gomes said. "And we stopped them – our players did what they needed to do to stop them making those attacks.
"In the first half, we played better – I can say that because we played within our process, our style. In the second half the game became more of a typical Championship game – more direct football, trying to win second-balls. In this type of football, sometimes the opponent can be stronger than us.
"We felt during the game that the fans were behind us. It was quite an emotional game. We come away with just one point, but we come away in good spirits and on the right track, ready to fight in the battles that we have in front of us.”
Germany: Guerreiro assist; Sanches bit-part role
In Germany, Raphaël Guerreiro got his second assist in consecutive Bundesliga games as Borussia Dortmund extended their lead at the top to seven points with a 1-1 draw at Frankfurt. The Portugal man combined with Marco Reus in a superb break down the left, with Guerreiro displaying fantastic dribbling before setting up Reus to finish.
The draw at Frankfurt was enough for Dortmund to extend their lead because champions Bayern Munich lost 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen. Renato Sanches was again on the bench for Bayern, coming on for the final 11 minutes for Bayern, who lost a first-half lead to suffer their 4th league defeat of the season and slip to 3rd place. Bruma was an unused substitute for RB Leipzig in their 3-0 win at Hannover.
Goals in Belgium, Romania; Goalkeepers Varela, Pereira given bench roles
Former Gil Vicente defender Ricardinho is proving a dangerous opponent in the opposition box this season in Romania. The 24-year-old scored his third league goal of the campaign from just 15 starts for Voluntari in their 4-2 win over Sepsi in the Liga I this weekend. Champions CFR Cluj, managed by Antonio Conceição, were held 1-1 at home by Hermannstadt but remain six points clear at the top.
In Belgium, ex-Porto winger Ivo Rodrigues got his second goal of the season as Antwerp remained in the fight for European places with a 2-0 win away at KV Oostende. Elsewhere in the Belgian First Division, Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira was on the bench for Kortrijk in their 2-1 win over Lokeren after his loan move. It was the same for Benfica goalkeeper Bruno Varela, who watched from the bench as his new club Ajax hammered VVV 6-0 in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Portuguese bosses: Martins, Caixinha, Costa
Pedro Martins has got Olympiakos flying in Greece and the Piraeus giants scored four goals in the last quarter of the match to beat Panionios 4-0 on Saturday. The win was an important one for in-form Olympiakos, who closed the gap to Super League leaders PAOK to six points at the top following PAOK’s 1-1 draw at AEK Athens. Vieirinha was in the PAOK line-up.
In Mexico, a bad night for Pedro Caixinha saw his Cruz Azul have a man sent off early on and lose 2-0 at Leon in the Liga MX. The dismissal of Peruvian Victor Yotun after just 18 minutes represented the beginning of a tough night for Caixinha, who also saw Argentine striker Milton Caraglio miss a second-half penalty.
Finally to India, where Jorge Costa’s Mumbai FC lost leadership of the Super League after a 2-0 home defeat to Goa. Costa has former Porto midfielder Paulo Machado in his ranks as he battles Bengaluru for pole position in India, but the loss on Friday sees his side slip three points off the leaders.
By Sean Gillen