The form of Portugal’s foreign-based contingent of attacking players continues to be the cause of great positivity as Rafael Leão and Cristiano Ronaldo both found the net in Monday evening’s matches in Italy for Milan and Juventus respectively.
The goals are more good news for Portugal’s array of attacking options, with André Silva, João Félix, Pedro Neto, Bruno Fernandes and Gonçalo Guedes all shining since European football returned from the extended break caused by the worldwide pandemic. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva registered two assists for Manchester City in England and Rui Silva and Domingos Duarte impressed in Spain on a great evening for Luso players abroad.
Leão came off the bench to score within minutes for AC Milan in their 4-1 win at Lecce, marking his third goal in the league since a high-profile move to San Siro from Lille last summer. The former Sporting man headed in from close range on 72 minutes and appeared to hit back at critics during his celebration, although his coach Stefano Pioli was clearly cautious in issuing too much praise to the youngster after the match.
“Leão has to do more, regardless of today’s goal. He came on with the right attitude, so I am happy. I have to ask more of him, because he has so much to give. We’re working on making Leão into more of a centre-forward, as he still struggles there.”
Rafael Leão scores for Milan !— Sean Gillen 🇵🇹 (@SeanGillen9) June 22, 2020
For Ronaldo, a first-half penalty as champions Juventus cruised to victory at Bologna ended a four-match goal drought in all competitions. Juve were awarded the spot-kick for a shirt pull in the area and Ronaldo confidently sent Lukasz Skorupski the wrong way for his 22nd goal in 23 Serie A appearances.
Bernardo, Rui Silva shine; João Pereira denied in Turkey
Seleção hopefuls Rui Silva and Domingos Duarte were both in impressive form again in Spain as the goalkeeper and central defender kept a clean sheet in Granada’s 0-0 draw at Leganes. Goalkeeper Silva was especially crucial in the result as he saved a second-half penalty from Leganes’ Guerrero as Granada remain comfortable in mid-table. Also in La Liga, Rony Lopes was withdrawn at half time in Sevilla’s 2-2 draw at Villarreal, but the midfielder being given a rare start represents some progress.
Related article: Granada sensation Rui Silva hoping to realise Portugal dream
In England, Bernardo Silva got two assists as Manchester City hammered Burnley 5-0, with the Portuguese laying off a simple pass from which Phil Foden opened the scoring from distance, before finding David Silva who scored from close-range in the second half. João Cancelo joined Bernardo in the City side for a match marred by a pre-game banner displayed via aeroplane by members of the travelling support objecting to recent equality protests.
Finally, perhaps the one frustrating story of the evening saw Trabzonspor lose their place at the top of the Turkish Super Lig after being held 2-2 at Alanyaspor. João Pereira played the full ninety minutes for Trabzon, who slip two points behind new leaders Istanbul Basaksehir.
By Sean Gillen