The future of João Félix is likely to be the subject of much speculation over the coming months, with the Portugal international’s turbulent loan spell at Chelsea leaving questions over where he will play next season. Félix offered another glimpse into his potential for the Blues by coming off the bench to score in a much-needed victory at Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Also in England, there was a first goal in the colours of Wolverhampton Wanderers for defender Toti, whose winner gave his side a precious win over Aston Villa. In France, Vitinha got his second goal in the space of four matches as Paris Saint-Germain close in on the Ligue 1 title, while there was a goal for ex-Seleção man Adrien Silva in the United Arab Emirates.
Félix makes immediate impact
Chelsea put an end to their recent 6-game losing streak in the Premier League with a much-needed 3-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday. The Blues have endured a disastrous season, which sees them languishing in the bottom half of the table and coming into the weekend trip to the south coast Chelsea had not won in nine matches.
Amid the malaise, João Félix recently lost his way at Stamford Bridge, being reduced a bit-part role under interim boss Frank Lampard and failing to even appear from the bench during last week’s defeat at Arsenal. Lampard told the media he was unsure how to fit the on-loan Portuguese into his system, casting further doubts on the prospects of the ex-Benfica star’s likelihood of making a permanent move to London from Atletico Madrid.
Félix was issued a late cameo on Saturday, emerging in the 84th minute after Chelsea had gone 2-1 ahead. The Portugal man made an instant impact, with Raheem Sterling’s mazy run setting up Félix to finish with a calm sidefoot past Neto to put the seal on a long-awaited three points. The goal was Félix's 3rd since arriving in England in a costly deal from Atletico Madrid until the end of the season.
Joao Felix, woah! 🎶 pic.twitter.com/uKNjFQF9z6— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2023
“Amazing feeling” as Toti goal helps Wolves secure safety
Wolverhampton Wanderers has secured their safety in the Premier League, marking an impressive turnaround under new manager Julien Lopetegui. Saturday’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa, coupled with results elsewhere going in their favour, means Wolves are ten points clear of the drop zone with three matches remaining and will avoid the drop.
The victory over Villa came courtesy of a first Wolves goal for Portuguese defender Toti, who rose to head in Ruben Neves’ corner after less than ten minutes played at Molineux. Wolves were bottom of the table when former Porto boss Lopetegui took charge in November, but four straight home wins without a goal conceded has led to a comfortable escape from danger.
Neves the provider for Toti’s first Wolves goal.— Sean Gillen (@SeanGillen9) May 6, 2023
Matchwinner 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/7pz61qZgtf
“I have no words to describe how it feels to score my first goal for Wolves in the Premier League,” Toti said. It’s an amazing feeling, especially playing in this derby and scoring the winning goal, it’s amazing. I’m proud of what we did and it’s special from the team.
“I was speechless. I’ve been waiting for this moment, so I’m really happy and proud that it’s finally happened. I am very grateful for my teammates because they’ve been helping me a lot and we’ve been through a lot together, so this is an amazing feeling.”
“It feels amazing. We’ve been working for these kinds of things and taking it game by game every game. We knew we needed to give a good response, especially after the last match, and I think we did the perfect response for this match.
“We’ve been through ups and downs, but this is football. It’s the Premier League and this happens, but we just needed to be together and of course the coach was a really important part for us. Inside of the dressing room, he completely changed it. Everybody has been helping each other, we’ve all been fighting for each other and when you have this you get these kinds of results like today.”
Vitinha scores again for PSG
Portuguese midfielder Vitinha took over 40 appearances to score his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain last month, but the former Porto man already has his second for the French champions after registering in Sunday’s win at Troyes. PSG are now six points clear of Lens at the top of the table with just four matches remaining, putting them on the brink of retaining their crown.
Kylian Mbappe’s early goal gave PSG a half-time lead at the Stade de l’Aube, and Vitinha doubled the advantage just ahead of the hour mark. The 23-year-old made a run into the penalty area and got his head on Marco Verratti’s pass, scoring at the second attempt after Gauthier Gallon had made the initial save.
Nice to see Vitinha making those runs into the box to get himself a PSG goal pic.twitter.com/Y4HeHAyaw3— Sean Gillen (@SeanGillen9) May 8, 2023
“We know that these matches are difficult, we are playing against a well-organised team, it is difficult to overcome,” Vitinha told the media. “But we scored, we created chances, that's the most important thing for this victory today. It was a compact block that awaited us, we had to be mobile, intense, to probe. We had to win for the Championship. The title is not done, there are 4 matches left. We will focus on the next one.”
The rest: Adrien Silva, Fábio Martins among goals in Middle East
Leonardo Jardim’s Shabab Al Ahli were crowned United Arab Emirates champions this weekend, while Adrien Silva’s Al Wahda retain a hope of finishing second and Champions League qualification after he scored in a 3-2 win at Ajman. In Saudi Arabia, Fábio Martins scored an early goal as Al Khaleej held Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr to a 1-1 draw.
Former Benfica midfielder Diogo Gonçalves scored a consolation penalty as FC Copenhagen lost their grip on top spot in the Danish Superliga after a 3-2 defeat at Nordsjælland. In Turkey, former Sporting midfielder Miguel Cardoso struck twice as Kayserispor drew 2-2 at Konyaspor in the Super Lig, while in the second tier Marco Paixão remains the leading goalscorer after scoring to help Altay cruise 3-0 against Denizlispor.
There was a sensational 8-goal thriller in the Belgian Conference League play-offs, with Leonardo Lopes among the scorers as Cercle Brugge won 5-3 at Westerlo. In Spain’s Segunda Division, Cascais-born midfielder Mascarenhas scored a 92nd minute winner for Real Oviedo, who kept their slender play-off hopes alive with a 2-1 win against Zaragoza.
Ricardo Gomes scored his 18th league goal of the season in Serbia as Partizan Belgrade beat Novi Pazar 2-0 in the Super League. In the Dutch Eredivisie, Úmaro Embaló scored the clinching goal as Fortuna Sittard practically secured their safety with a 2-0 win over Vitesse.
Former Benfica talent Umaro Embaló with a nice goal for Fortuna Sittard as they practically secure safety in the Dutch Eredivisie pic.twitter.com/aTwa1qIiFX— Sean Gillen (@SeanGillen9) May 8, 2023
Finally: Douglas Aurélio scored a 91st-minute penalty to give Riga a 1-0 win over BFC Daugavpils in Latvia; there was a goal for Rúben Brígido in Kazakhstan in Kaspiy’s 1-1 draw against Atyrau; UT Petange beat Una Strassen 3-0 in Luxembourg with Artur Abreu on the scoresheet.
By Sean Gillen