Portugal winger Bruma marked his debut home appearance in the Dutch Eredivisie with a goal as PSV got their first win of the new league season. The former Sporting man’s equaliser shortly before half time inspired the Eindhoven club to come from behind and beat ADO Den Haag 3-1 at the Phillips Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

This weekend also saw a huge win in Ukraine for new Shakhtar boss Luís Castro, while Mathias Pereira Lage led Angers to a big win over Paulo Sousa’s Bordeaux in France on what was a disastrous opening weekend for Portuguese bosses across Ligue 1. Things were less dramatic for Portugal's representatives on the English Premier League opening day, but there was a debut goal for new Reading signing Lucas João in the Championship.


Bruma inspires PSV comeback

Bruma is enjoying a fine start to his career with Dutch powerhouses PSV since making the big-money move to the Netherlands from Germans RB Leipzig during the summer. The 24-year-old left Leipzig after starting just six Bundesliga games in 2018-19, opting for a switch to PSV ahead of FC Porto in a €15m deal in June.

Sunday’s clash with ADO Den Haag saw PSV fall behind on 33 minutes when Tomas Necid smashed the visitors ahead. Bruma, who was deployed on the right of Mark van Bommel’s attack, drew his team level shortly before half time when he drifted to the left and cut inside to score with the aid of a deflection.

The goal was Bruma’s third for his new team from four matches played, and PSV went on to win 3-1 through second half goals from Donyell Malen and Cody Gakpo. Bruma’s side meet Norwegians Haugesund on Thursday in the Europa League qualifiers with a 1-0 lead from the away leg last week.


Castro pleased as Shakhtar overcome Dinamo in Ukraine

Portuguese boss Luís Castro earned the biggest victory to date in his Ukrainian adventure by leading champions Shakhtar Donetsk to a 2-1 win away at title rivals Dinamo Kiev. Castro’s side made amends for losing to Dinamo in the Ukrainian Super Cup last month with a convincing display in the capital.

Shakhtar’s early dominance yielded several good opportunities and Brazilian Junior Morais gave the away side the lead after twenty minutes. Dinamo were level five minutes from half time with a goal from their first attempt on target, as Portuguese-born Luxembourg striker Gerson Rodrigues headed in at the far post.

Castro’s side resumed dominance after the re-start and the winning goal was the result of two minutes of possession before Brazilian forward Marlos worked the space for a shot and passed the ball into the bottom corner on 64 minutes. Assistant coach Vítor Severino was so pleased with the goal he took to social media to post a video of all 25 passes and the finish.

The result is a big boost for Castro, who replaced popular compatriot Paulo Fonseca this summer after the outgoing boss joined Roma. Fonseca’s Shakhtar were unable to beat Dinamo during their last four trips to the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian Premier League.

“The team performed very well in every situation,” the former Vitória Guimarães coach said after the match. “Sometimes it happens that you want to win, but not everything works out on the pitch. However, today the guys have done well. From the first minute, Shakhtar showed the will to win. We fully dominated it, except for the dying five to ten minutes, when Dynamo pressed us against our goal. And even then, we managed to create chances: in the end, we could have netted the third.

“Are the team close to the performance I want? Yes, I want the players to display attacking football and create multiple scoring chances. Being one of the contenders for the title, we turned in a great performance: possession of the ball, the number of corners and free-kicks, attacking dynamics down the wings. I think today's victory proves that our style of play is applied at Shakhtar.”


Pereira Lage shines as Portuguese bosses make disastrous start in Ligue 1 

The new French league season kicked off on Friday evening and a heavy home defeat for Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco set the tone for a forgettable first round for the Portuguese coaches in Ligue 1. Monaco were beaten 3-0 at home by Lyon with Rony Lopes and Gelson Martins both in Jardim’s starting line-up.

Monaco played two thirds of the match with ten men after Cesc Fabregas was sent off on the half hour for kicking out at an opponent. At that point the hosts were already a goal behind to Moussa Dembele’s 5th minute opener, and Memphis Depay (36’) and Lucas Tousart made it a fine evening for Lyon, who had Anthony Lopes in goal.

Jardim was keen to remain upbeat after the match, telling reporters: “We have been working together for 6 weeks. And we will continue to work with the same goal: to show a good attitude and to have a good performance. It's important to keep that state of mind. When we lose, we obviously lose confidence, but it's a new season. I have confidence in the team that gave the maximum tonight and worked well in recent weeks.”

Saturday’s action saw the debut of André Villas-Boas in French football, with his new club Marseille hosting Reims at the Stade Velodrome. After a goalless opening half, Marseille struck the bar through midfielder Kevin Strootman when the Dutchman was left unmarked in the penalty area, but Reims went ahead on 58 minutes through Boulaye Dia and Suk Hyun-Jun sealed a 2-0 win late on.

Villas-Boas’ side had just two shots on target during the game and the possession-based football implemented by the former Porto coach struggled to take effect, particularly during a first half in which Reims absorbed the pressure and looked more dangerous on the counter attack. Following the match, Villas-Boas admitted that he faces the task of improving the team’s fortunes.

“I’m responsible for this defeat,” he said. “My responsibility is now to find solutions. It is difficult to accept. We were too slow in attack; we couldn’t find any space. The strength of Reims is their counter attack and they played their game effectively.”

The defeat was poorly received by the Marseille home fans, who made their voices heard during the latter stages. “When we lose at home the supporters have the right to show their frustration,” Villas-Boas said. “It’s totally normal and we accept that. All we can do is keep working. I have to give them confidence. The defeat is my responsibility.”

Completing the Portuguese trio of coaches in France’s top flight is Paulo Sousa and the well-travelled Bordeaux manager got off to an equally poor start to the campaign. Sousa’s team were beaten 3-1 at Angers, with the defeat representing a worrying continuation of the team’s poor form during the closing stages of last season.

Bordeaux took the lead early on through Nicolas de Preville’s free-kick (4’) but Angers made it 1-1 on 27 minutes when Jeff Reine Adelaide converted a pinpoint cross from Portuguese U21 international Mathias Pereira Lage. Just six minutes later and Pereira Lage put the home side ahead with a brilliant individual goal, firing past Benoit Costil from the edge of the area, and Thomas Mangani’s third on the stroke of half time proved the end of the scoring. 

The match was Pereira Lage’s debut for Angers having made the move from Ligue 2 side Clermont during the summer. The 22-year-old midfielder was born and raised in Clermont, but represents Portugal at international level, most recently being involved in Rui Jorge’s U21 side towards the end of last year.

Pereira Lage’s performance was the subject of much discussion after the match and ex-Bordeaux midfielder Ludovic Obraniak suggested his former club should have signed the midfielder ahead of Angers. “Pereira Lage for €1.5m? Bordeaux could have done it. The name didn’t appear because he was Ligue 2 and people think it’s not our level. We have to rebuild and we need people who work seriously.”

Sousa was honest in his appraisal having watched a worryingly poor performance from his side. "We must congratulate Angers because they have been better than us and in all areas,” he said. “I'm sorry for our supporters who came here to help us win. We started well, we created two/three opportunities. But our opponent has played better than us. 

“They pressed us a lot in the middle. We were not able to build. So we lost a lot of simple balls, we made a lot of mistakes. I do not regret my choices because I missed a lot of players. Our attack worries me a little too. It should be more effective because we create opportunities. That’s what worries me most.”


Cancelo made to wait for City debut as Nuno regrets VAR effect

The Premier League kicked off this weekend in England with convincing wins for some of the country’s biggest clubs. Champions Manchester City began the defence of their crown with an emphatic 5-0 victory at West Ham United, although Portuguese duo João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva were named on the substitutes bench and neither entered the action.

Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves were held to a goalless draw at Leicester on Saturday. Nuno named Rui Patrício, João Moutinho, Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota in his line-up and unused substitutes Rúben Vinagre and Pedro Neto on the bench, while Ricardo Pereira played the full ninety minutes at right-back for Leicester.

The major talking point on the day was a disallowed goal by Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker in the second half, and Nuno admitted to being dissatisfied with VAR after the match. “I didn’t see the images. I must see the images. But I trust them, if they saw it – what can I do, they have a TV that can stop the image.

“What I’m concerned about is let’s not ruin the game, things that were before should not be now. We have such a nice Premier League, such a nice product, we cannot lose it. It’s what fans come here for, not to celebrate when it’s not a goal, that’s not the real celebration of football, we celebrate when it is a goal. In creating these moments, it’s not good for the atmosphere of the game.

“It’s too long, and then after the fans of Leicester, with all my respect, they celebrate a non-goal. That’s not the mindset of the game.

“Apart from that it was a fantastic game, an absolutely fantastic game.”

There was also a goalless draw for Marco Silva’s Everton away at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Former Sporting boss Silva lost Portugal midfielder André Gomes to injury on the stroke of half time, which the manager felt was an important moment. "It's an ankle injury. Let's see what our medical staff say but we hope it's not too serious. The moment the game changed was the injury to André. We started losing easy balls in the second half and they had two chances to score from moments we lost the ball.”


Lucas João scores on Reading debut; goals in Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, China

New signing Lucas João scored on his debut for Reading but José Gomes was left to count the cost of a poor first half display as his side were beaten 2-1 at Hull City in the Championship. Gomes also started summer loan signing from Everton João Virginia in goal, but two goals conceded in the first fifteen minutes gave the Royals a mountain to climb.

Lucas João, who arrived from Sheffield Wednesday last week having scored against Reading in his last appearance for Wednesday, halved the deficit twenty minutes into the second half with a superbly taken strike. However, the defeat left former Rio Ave boss Gomes frustrated with his team’s first-half display.

"Today we can talk about two completely different games: the first half and the second half,” Gomes said. “The big difference was the spirit. In the second half we fought our individual challenges, won second-balls… this makes the difference. We must fight.

“I’m not tired of saying it, I’ll repeat and repeat – we can play, but first we must fight. Otherwise it is impossible to win. I did not like the first half at all. In the second half we could have even won the game because we created a lot of chances and played better. We won most of the second balls and the team was completely different – not because Hull dropped their lines, but because we behaved in a different way. We turned on the fighting spirit.”

Ricardinho, Pedro Santos, Daniel Fernandes shine

Elsewhere on the goals front, former Gil Vicente right-back Ricardinho was the star of the show with a goal and an assist as Voluntari beat Romanian giants Steaua Bucharest 3-1 away from home. Pedro Santos is proving one of the standout players in MLS with his 8th goal of the season coming in Columbus Crew’s 2-2 home draw against FC Cincinnati.

Pedro Eugenio continues to build a reputation as a prolific scorer from defence with the opener for Beroe in their 3-1 win at Levksi Sofia in Bulgaria. In China, there was a debut goal from the penalty spot for ex-Feirense midfielder João Silva as Nantong Zhiyun drew 1-1 against Meizhou Hakka in the second tier, while Elton Monteiro scored for Swiss second-tier side Lausanne as they beat Kriens 4-0.

The German Bundesliga season begins next week, with the Cup having taken centre stage across this weekend. While there was disappointment for Raphaël Guerreiro who was ruled out of Dortmund’s win over Uerdingen with a muscle injury, there was better news for goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes as he saved a penalty in Hamburg’s shootout win Chemnitzer after a 2-2 draw.


Portuguese bosses: Rui Almeida gets first Caen win; Pereira’s Shanghai suffer title setback; Jorge Jesus, Caixinha back to form

Rui Almeida’s Caen got their first win of the French Ligue 2 season and the Portuguese coach’s first three points as boss with an impressive performance at Ajaccio. Almeida’s side played from the 27th minute with ten men after El-Hadj Diaw was sent off with the team 1-0 up, but Caen doubled their advantage before the break and held off the Ajaccio consolation to win 2-1 and move into 9th place after three games.

Flamengo manager Jorge Jesus got back to winning ways after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Bahia in Brazil. Saturday saw Fla entertain Gremio at the Maracanã and Jesus watched his side run out 3-1 winners to ensure they go into next week’s local derby with Vasco da Gama in form. In Mexico, Pedro Caixinha also got back to winning ways as his Cruz Azul beat Juarez 2-0 at home.

Finally to Asia, where Vítor Pereira’s Shanghai SPIG suffered a late equaliser and were held to their fourth consecutive draw in the CSL. Shanghai led Guangzhou R&F 2-1 in the 98th minute of stoppage time but an equaliser from Dusko Tosic means Pereira’s side have now slipped to third place and are eight points adrift of leaders Guangzhou Evergrande. In South Korea, José Morais and Jeonbuk Motors are keeping pace with table-toppers Ulsan after a 2-1 win at Pohang Steelers means the gap at the top of the K-League 1 stays at one point.


By Sean Gillen

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“I hadn’t wanted to play Nani, as he hasn’t trained for a month, but he’s a champion and showed his quality with just a couple of moves. I trust that he can become an example for our younger players.”

Paolo Zanetti
(Venezia coach delighted with Nani after the Portuguese forward provides the assist for an equaliser as a late substitute on his debut)