Jorge Jesus and Flamengo moved top of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A on Sunday evening with a 3-0 victory over Ceara to continue their impressive run of form. The former Braga, Benfica and Sporting boss has led his side to four consecutive victories in the Brasileirão and the Copa Libertadores, scoring 12 goals during the run as a stylish Flamengo look set to compete for the major trophies in Brazil.
Portuguese bosses largely dominate the stories this week, as Paulo Fonseca’s first league match on the bench with Italians Roma ended with an entertaining but disappointing 3-3 draw against Genoa, although there was a goal for Gonçalo Paciência in Germany and Miguel Veloso marked his Verona debut in style.
Jesus exerts his authority on and off the field as Flamengo take top spot
Things continue to go from strength to strength for Jorge Jesus in Brazil with Flamengo, the country’s most popular side. Flamengo beat Ceara 3-0 in Fortaleza on Sunday evening, scoring three high quality goals and leapfrogging Santos into first place in Série A, but it is not just on the field that Jesus is beginning to demonstrate his strength.
Goals from Spanish arrival Pablo Mari and star striker Gabriel Barbosa put the visitors 2-0 up at half time against Ceara, with the scoring rounded off in stoppage time at the end of the game by Giogrian De Arrascaeta’s stunning overhead kick, as Flamengo continued their impressive run of goalscoring form.
Post-match talk focused on Flamengo assuming leadership of the league standings, as well as the absence of Colombian midfielder Gustavo Cuellar, who was removed from the squad for disciplinary reasons. According to local reports, the player’s indiscretion is routed in attempting to force a move to the Middle East.
“He wanted to be above Flamengo's interests,” Jesus said. “When someone thinks they are above the club, they will always have problems. We lose out on the player, but you have to assume the consequences of the attitude you have taken. The club and the player will reach a decision.”
Flamengo meet Internacional in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores quarter-final on Wednesday. Jesus’ side take a two-goal lead into the return meeting after beating Inter 2-0 at the Maracanã last week. Should Jesus’ side progress, they could potentially set up a semi-final meeting with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras, who host Gremio with a 1-0 advantage.
João Félix decisive as Atletico win ugly
Atletico Madrid were far from convincing in their 1-0 win at Leganes on Sunday evening, but Portuguese star João Félix again made an eye-catching contribution to Diego Simeone’s side snatching a late winner.
The home side put Atletico under pressure for large parts of the match, but the game’s deciding moment came less than 20 minutes from time with a goal from substitute Vitolo. João Félix picked up possession on the right and drove at the Leganes defence before sliding the ball to Vitolo, who finished smartly.
“The truth is that I did not know [Félix] as well before as I do now,” Atletico’s former Benfica goalkeeper Jan Oblak said after the match. “It seemed that he had a great talent and if the club has made this effort we all agree that they have brought a player of great quality and one of the best possible players for sure. He is playing very well and hopefully he can continue giving so much joy.”
Fonseca shuns defensively priorities as Veloso shines on debut
Paulo Fonseca says he will never set his team up with a focus on defending, after watching Roma squander the lead three times on his Serie A debut. The club from the capital were held to a 3-3 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening by Genoa, with Roma’s confident attacking play undermined by defensive fragility.
Turkish midfielder Cengiz Under got Fonseca off to the perfect start with a wonderful individual goal after five minutes, and striker Edin Dzeko restored the lead with a fine striker’s goal after Andrea Pinamonti had levelled for Genoa. Roma missed good chances to extend their lead but a rash challenge from Juan Jesus allowed the visitors to make it 2-2 from the penalty spot before half time.
A stunning free-kick from Alexandar Kolarov put Roma 3-2 up early in the second half, but Christian Kouame’s diving header after a superb break from Genoa proved the end of the scoring on 70 minutes. Speaking after the match, Fonseca insisted his approach will continue to be based around being proactive ahead of next weekend’s clash with eternal rivals Lazio.
“When a team concedes goals, it’s not just the fault of the defenders,” Fonseca said. “Getting on to the rebounds and second balls was important in this game and we didn’t do that properly. It was a strong start, but after Genoa’s first goal, we struggled to deal with long balls and they ran into open play.
“We improved in the second half, but conceded a goal that we really weren’t expecting. These are things that we need to improve. We study our opponents, of course, but I am focused more on how my own team plays. We will counter certain Lazio strengths, but without losing sight of our own identity.
“I will never prepare a game by concentrating on defending. I want a team that dominates and always takes the initiative.”
A former Genoa player stole the headlines in Verona’s 1-1 draw with Bologna this weekend as Miguel Veloso marked his league debut for the club with a superb free-kick. Verona trailed to Nicola Sansone’s early penalty but Veloso dispatched a beautiful left-footed shot into the top corner to ensure the sides went into the break level, and his equaliser proved enough to earn the promoted club a point.
O pé esquerdo do Miguel Veloso a fazer estragos em Verona. Aos 33 continua calibrado! pic.twitter.com/an0QbHWONe— Segundo Poste (@segundoposte) August 25, 2019
Juventus began the defence of their title with a 1-0 victory at Parma, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing the full 90 minutes for the champions, while Bruno Alves was in the home defence. Portuguese full-back Mário Rui, who has been long linked with a move from Napoli this summer, started at left-back as Carlo Ancelotti’s side won 4-3 at Fiorentina.
Geraldes sent off, Oliveira scores as Cardoso reportedly axed by AEK
Reports emerging from Greece on Sunday evening suggest Miguel Cardoso has been fired by AEK Athens after just four matches in charge. Cardoso’s men were beaten 2-1 at home by Xanthi on Sunday evening, having played most of the match with ten men following Chico Geraldes’ early red card.
Geraldes, who arrived in the capital from Sporting this summer, was sent off for two bookable offences on 34 minutes. The match remained goalless until midway through the second half when Xanthi took the lead through William, and Jean-Pierre Barrientos made it 2-0 on 78 minutes. Nélson Oliveira registered a consolation in the final minute with his first goal for the club, but the defeat is believed to have cost Cardoso his job.
AEK were beaten 3-1 at home by Trabzonspor in the Europa League qualifiers last week, having been ordered to play the home leg behind closed doors as punishment for crowd problems. The former Rio Ave man was sacked by French club Nantes last October after just eight matches, before losing his job in Spain with Celta Vigo in March following four months in charge.
Elsewhere in Greece, Abel Ferreira got off to a winning start with champions PAOK, beating Luís Castro’s Panaitolikos 2-1 in Thessaloniki. It was also the first match in Greek league football for Castro, who arrived from Vitória de Guimarães over the summer. Pedro Martins’ Olympiakos continued their recent good form with a 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis.
Another red card for beleaguered Jardim
A controversial red card for Brazilian defender Jemerson early in the second half proved costly for Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco on Saturday. Monaco led Nimes 2-0 at half time thanks to goals from new arrivals Islam Slimani and Wissam Ben Yedder on the day Adrien Silva made his second debut having returned to the club from Leicester last week.
With things going well for Jardim, who again opted to attempt to play Monaco out of their slump with an attacking system and line-up, things changed ten minutes after the break. Referee Amaury Delerue initially showed Jemerson a yellow card for a late challenge, but with the assistance of VAR the card was upgraded to a seemingly harsh red to the anger of an incredulous home crowd.
After watching his side pegged back to 2-2 by Nimes after the dismissal of his defender, Jardim admitted his frustration after the match. “Football is a contact sport, Jemerson did not try to hurt him, he tries to counter the ball,” said the Portuguese. “I watch a lot of games, there are worse tackles than this one and yet there is nothing.
“When we were 11 v 11, the team performed well. We had the opportunity to lead 3-0. But with the expulsion everything changed. With fatigue, heat is hard.
“This is not a good point. AS Monaco plays to win. Anything can happen but the most important thing is to have the ambition to win. I am sad for the players who fought to win this game.”
Sousa gets vital win
André Villas-Boas and Marseille had the weekend off, but there was better news for Paulo Sousa in Ligue 1 as his Bordeaux recorded their first win of the season, beating Dijon 2-0 away from home on Saturday. Goals in each half from Hwang Ul-Jo and Loris Benito gave Bordeaux the three points, giving Sousa some much-needed respite after recent criticism.
"I think it's a clear victory,” Sousa said. “We have hardly given any opportunities to our opponent. We took control of the match and scored early. We were also solid defensively, everyone played well. This is our first victory of the season, it is important for the confidence of the players, before the match against Lyon."
Goals: Pereira the match-winner; Goncalo Paciência; Rafael Lopes on the mark in Poland
João Cancelo made his debut for Manchester City as a last-minute substitute in the Premier League champions’ 3-1 win at Bournemouth, but a more experienced Portugal right-back bearing the same name made the bigger impact this weekend. João Pereira scored the vital goal for Turkish side Trabzonspor, who beat Yeni Malatyaspor 2-1 in the Super Lig. Gonçalo Paciência scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season, but his nicely-taken finish with the left foot was a mere consolation for Frankfurt in their 2-1 loss to Leipzig.
In Poland, former Boavista striker Rafael Lopes got the opener as Cracovia Krakow won 3-1 against Arka Gdynia in the Ekstraklasa, making it three goals in six league games for the 28-year-old. Portugal-born defender Euclides Cabral, 20, scored his first goal in professional league football for Grasshopper in their 2-2 draw with Winterhur in the Swiss Challenge League.
Portuguese bosses: Reading impressing under Gomes
José Gomes appears to be showing positive signs of developing Championship side Reading after another impressive result. Reading won 2-0 at Huddersfield, coming after a midweek draw at West Bromwich Albion and a fine 3-0 victory over Cardiff City last weekend. Lucas João played the full ninety minutes for Reading.
"A very good result at the end of a very good week," said Gomes. "Seven points in six days against two teams who were playing Premier League football last season and West Bromwich Albion who came close to playing Premier League football this season.
"And we have done very well against some very strong sides. After a fantastic win, we first have to talk about the defending - very strong and we didn't let the spaces open even when they had more ball possession in the first half. We didn't control the first half with the ball but we controlled the spaces and we gave them no chances to find a way to our goal."
Luís Castro’s Shakhtar Donetsk still have a 100% record in the Ukrainian Premier League after five rounds. Shakhtar beat Mariupol 5-1 on Sunday, with three goals inside the first 12 minutes of the match. In South Korea, José Morais Joenbuk Motors snatched a late point in a 1-1 draw with Seongnam, but the champions lost leadership of the KL-1 to Ulsan after 27 rounds.
By Sean Gillen