Portugal international Cédric Soares lifted his first trophy in English football on Saturday afternoon as Arsenal overcame Premier League champions Liverpool in the Community Shield. Cédric even converted a penalty during the decisive shootout after the teams had played out a 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium.
Elsewhere, the good news kept coming for Portuguese as Andre Villas-Boas’ Marseille got off to a winning start in Ligue 1, while Seleção veteran Nani continues to shine in the United States with another goal as Orlando City were victorious in MLS.
English football is officially underway again after the 2020-21 season curtain-raiser between FA Cup winners Arsenal and defending champions Liverpool in the capital. For Portuguese full-back Cédric Soares, the match was a chance to finally get his hands on a trophy in England, having missed out on the Gunners’ cup run last term due to ineligibility having arrived from Southampton mid-season.
Cédric started on the bench but was introduced by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta shortly before the hour mark as a replacement for Hector Bellerin in the right wing-back role. At the point of Cédric’s arrival, Arsenal were leading 1-0 through a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal, but Takumi Minamino’s 73rd minute equaliser sent the contest straight to penalties.
The former Sporting man stepped up to take Arsenal’s third spot-kick, which proved the key pair of penalties in the shootout. Rhian Brewster struck the bar for Liverpool, allowing Cédric to calmly send Allison the wrong way and give Arsenal the crucial advantage, which they maintained to secure another triumphant day at Wembley 5-4 on penalties.
The trophy is Cédric’s first at club level since winning the Taça de Portugal in 2015. The 29-year-old signed a long-term deal with the club in June on a free transfer after leaving Southampton.
France: “Positive, but things to improve” – Villas-Boas’ Marseille make winning start
Andre Villas-Boas offered a balanced review of his Marseille side after a winning start to the new Ligue 1 campaign away at newly-promoted Brest. Goals from Florian Thauvin and Duje Caleta-Car (2) gave the visitors all three points, although Marseille’s inclination to concede both times they secured a two-goal advantage was some cause for concern according to their Portuguese coach.
“We got ourselves in trouble, twice,” Villas-Boas said after the match. “At 2-0, and when the opponent came back to make it 3-2. We seemed to control the game at 2-0 and 3-1, but we made mistakes. Brest played well, it's a team that I really appreciate,” he said of Marseille’s opponents, who introduced former Benfica and Boavista winger Heriberto Tavares in the closing stages.
“We defended well, we were able to be efficient, but we also suffered. We took 3 points, we started the championship well unlike last season. It's always a difficult trip, so I'm happy with the result. We have to improve things in the performance, but there is still positive.”
Elsewhere in Ligue 1, Gelson Martins made his long-awaited return to the field following suspension, playing 76 minutes of Monaco’s 1-0 win over Metz, while Rony Lopes came on for his debut for Nice as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 victory at Strasbourg as his side went top the table. Anthony Lopes kept goal for Lyon in a 4-1 win over Dijon; Pedro Mendes’ Montpellier were beaten 2-1 at Rennes; José Fonte and Xeka played as Lille won 1-0 away at Reims
Goals: Nani on the scoresheet again in MLS
Portugal legend Nani made it four goals from his last five matches in MLS to help Orlando City beat Atlanta United 3-1 on Saturday evening. The veteran winger has been in fantastic form since football returned in the United States and his simple finish five minutes from time put the seal on the win for Orlando, who also had João Moutinho in the side.
Other Portuguese goalscorers this weekend included Fábio Fortes, who scored his first goal in Romanian football since a recent move from third-tier Arouca in Portugal, heading home a cross for Hermannstadt in their 2-2 draw with Academica Clinceni. In Cyprus, former Estoril defender Gonçalo scored for Ethnikos Achna but could not prevent them from losing 2-1 to Doxa.
By Sean Gillen