Marco Silva is enjoying arguably his most positive period as Everton manager after securing a third consecutive win with another impressive performance to beat Arsenal 1-0 in the Premier League. There were contrasting emotions for fellow English-based boss Nuno Espírito Santo, however, after Wolverhampton Wanderers surrendered a 2-0 lead to suffer extra time defeat to Watford in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Elsewhere, Nani scored his first goals for Orlando City in a classic MLS win over Colorado Rapids, while José Fonte and former Braga starlet Hélder Barbosa were among the goals in Europe. Paulo Sousa recorded his first win as Bordeaux coach by beating Marseille in France, but there was a rare defeat for Vítor Pereira in China with champions Shanghai SIPG.
Silva “delighted with everything” as Everton run continues
Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson says The Toffees are currently playing the best football since he arrived at the club in 2017, as Marco Silva lead the team to their third consecutive victory with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Wins over Chelsea and West Ham were followed by another impressive display in beating the Gunners, with Everton having 23 shots compared to 7 from the visitors. Silva has come in for criticism at various points during the season, but the former Sporting boss appears to be finding his feet in the job he took last summer.
“I was delighted with everything we did from the first minute of the game,” said Silva, who had midfielder André Gomes on the field for the whole ninety minutes.
“We showed desire and fantastic team spirit and deserved the three points. We were the best team on the pitch and if we had scored more goals it would have been a fairer reflection of the match.
“With the chances we created, we should have scored more… but we were really solid as a team and controlled most of the game. It was a very good afternoon for us, congratulations to our players and fans – the atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic again.”
“A moment of sadness” – Nuno
Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espírito Santo admitted there was little he could do to lift the disappointment felt by the club after a remarkable collapse in their FA Cup semi-final with Watford at Wembley. Wolves led 2-0 with just over ten minutes to play in London, but Watford rallied and after a 94th-minute equaliser in normal time, went on to book their place in the final with a 3-2 extra time victory.
“Today is tough, sometimes the pain that you feel makes you grow, but we feel it as a group,” said the former Porto boss. “We will stick together because it’s our identity, it’s a squad, we are relentless, we never give up and we will come again.
“Now is the moment we have to face, it’s a moment of sadness. Nothing that we can say or do now is going to change it, we have to stick together, knowing that it’s going to be hard, but let’s look at the future and say our present has a lot of things to go for
“We have to become a better team. It’s a good chance for us to become a better team, so we can reach and fight to compete in these moments, and these games, against tough opponents. We keep growing as a team and try to reach the semi-final again in the future, and try to win it. It’s the ambition we have, to improve ourselves.”
Jota reflects on wasted opportunity
Nuno selected three of his Portuguese contingent for the match, with Rui Patrício sitting out the occasion as cup goalkeeper John Ruddy retained his place, while João Moutinho, Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota were awarded starts. Both Neves and Jota missed extra time, having been removed by Nuno in the dying minutes of normal time ahead of Watford’s late equaliser.
Rúben Vinagre and Ivan Cavaleiro were introduced during extra time, with Cavaleiro coming closest to taking the match to penalties when he dribbled the ball wide of Watford goalkeeper Gomes but was unable to arrange his feet to attempt a finish.
Speaking after the match, Portuguese forward Jota insisted the team can still have a positive end to the season. “It was a short conversation after the game. The manager said to us that we had a good chance which we wasted.
“We all feel the same way, with our heads down, but now it’s time to think, because we had it. That’s the main thing; we had it in our hands and we gave it away.
“We felt like we could’ve reached the final, but we are not there, so now we’re going to rest and then it’s time to think ahead to the Southampton game.
“We have time to focus on the last games and try to go game-by-game to win. We have got six games left to go and we can still achieve good things in the Premier League.”
Manchester City await Watford in the final after the Premier League champions beat Brighton 1-0 on Saturday. Bernardo Silva played the full match for City and was involved in the build-up to Gabriel Jesus’ early winner. City remain on the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, having already claimed the League Cup this season.
Nani (and Moutinho) star as Orlando win
Portugal veteran Nani scored his first goals in MLS – including a late winner – as Orlando City came from behind to beat Colorado Rapids 4-3 in the United States on Saturday evening. There was also a notable contribution from young Orlando defender João Moutinho, who assisted Nani’s first goal for his new club.
Orlando fell behind after just 9 minutes when Kei Kamara capitalised on indecision in the Orlando backline to fire home. However, Nani levelled after half an hour, getting on the end of a pinpoint cross from the left by Moutinho to head past experienced Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard at the back post.
Teshi Akindele put Orlando ahead just moments later and the game remained 2-1 until after the hour mark, when Colorado stunned the home side by equalising through Nicolas Mezquida and going ahead with Cole Bassett’s goal. Substitute Christopher Mueller levelled things again for Orlando two minutes after coming, getting on the end of Nani’s header to make it 3-3 heading into the last minutes of the game.
With Orlando pilling on the pressure in search of the winning goal, a handball from Axel Sjoberg gave Nani the opportunity to seal a dramatic comeback for the hosts from the penalty spot. The former Sporting and Manchester United man duly delivered, sending Howard the wrong way to cap a memorable moment in his Orlando career.
Sousa gets first win as Bordeaux down Marseille
Paulo Sousa was a happy man after watching Bordeaux win their first match of his tenure against Marseille in Ligue 1. After two draws from his opening pair of matches in charge, Sousa saw his team score in both halves on Friday evening, with François Kamano netting a 27th minute penalty and Nicolas de Preville finishing off a swift counter attack with a superbly-taken second on 71 minutes.
“There is great satisfaction, for me and for the people of Bordeaux,” said former Portugal midfielder Sousa, who sees his team move up to 11th place in Ligue 1. “I congratulate my team who have understood our game plan. I hope that this victory will give more confidence to the players.
"In the first few minutes we asserted ourselves in our approach and that is the mentality that I want to keep, with the culture of winning. Our high organisation has allowed us, in the recovery phase, to make the right decisions, by passing into open spaces. The defensive block was very compact with very good distances between players and we created good situations to score. The team made good decisions at certain times of the match to control the pace.”
Fonte on the mark as Lille tighten grip on second
Lille are now five points clear of Lyon in the race for second place in Ligue 1 after a 1-1 draw at high-flying Reims on Sunday. José Fonte put the visitors ahead with a well-placed header ten minutes into the second half and although Lille were denied the victory by Remi Oudin’s leveller, a surprise defeat for Anthony Lopes’ Lyon at the hands of Dijon means Lille increased their advantage in second spot. Rafael Leão played the last twenty minutes for Lille.
Elsewhere in France, Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco again struggled against one of the weakest sides in the league. Having been beaten by at home by 19th place Caen last week, Jardim’s side – including Rony Lopes, Adrien Silva and Gelson Martins – needed a last-gasp equaliser from Stevan Jovetic to claim a 1-1 draw away at bottom of the table Guingamp. During the match, Adrien Silva struck the crossbar with a superb long-range effort, while Guingamp’s opener saw Felix Eboa-Eboa head in a corner by Portuguese Pedro Rebocho.
Barbosa the hero in Turkey
Hélder Barbosa scored an 88th minute winner for Akhisarspor in their crucial Super Lig match against relegation rivals Goztepe on Sunday. Akhisarspor came into the match 7 points adrift of safety and six points behind Goztepe, but Barbosa’s goal after coming on as a substitute means his side have narrowed the gap to survival to four points and some hope has been restored.
Former Braga man Barbosa was introduced just after the hour mark and found himself on-hand to convert with a neat finish at the front post after he was picked out by Elvis Manu. The 31-year-old guided the ball past Portuguese goalkeeper Beto to score for the second time this season in the Super Lig.
Also reviving his team’s hopes of survival with a match-winning goal this weekend was Rui Pedro In Hungary, who followed up his brace last week with a second-half strike as Szombathelyi Haladas won 1-0 at Diosgyor. The win was Szombathelyi’s fourth in their last five matches in the NB I but they remain six points adrift of safety.
Elsewhere, the winners keep coming as Ricardo Vaz got the only goal in OFI’s 1-0 victory over Pias Giannina in Greece, adding to his strike last week against Aris. In Cyprus, Nuno Morais scored in APOEL’s 3-0 win at AEL to make it 11 in the league this season for the veteran defender, while former Portugal U19 international João Teixeira scored from the penalty spot to earn another winning goal as Politehnica Iasi won 1-0 at Hermannstadt in Romania.
Pedro Caixinha’s Cruz Azul appear to have put their early season struggles behind them in Mexico. A 3-0 win over Queretaro means Caixinha’s men have four wins and two draws from their last six matches in Liga MX. There was also a solid victory for José Morais, who watched his Jeonbuk Motors bean Incheon 2-0 in South Korea.
Staying in Asia and a rare defeat for Vítor Pereira with Shanghai SIPG. Pereira’s men were surprisingly beaten 3-2 at home by Jordi Cruyff’s Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, with Shanghai perhaps having one eye on their midweek trip to Australia to play Sidney FC in the Asian Champions League.
In the English Championship, José Gomes’ Reading took an early lead but were beaten 3-1 at Hull City, leaving them one point above the relegation zone. Pedro Martins’ Olympiakos hammered Panaitolikos to continue their imperious form in Greece, but another victory for PAOK, with Vieirinha and Sérgio Oliveira in the side, means the leaders need just one win from their last three matches to seal a first league title in 34 years.
By Sean Gillen