This weekend saw important victories for two of Portugal’s most high-profile foreign-based coaches, with Nuno Espírito Santo and José Mourinho securing precious away wins in the Premier League. Meanwhile, there was less to enjoy for Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s wait to open his account for Juventus continues.
Elsewhere Portuguese were on the mark as far and wide as Greece, Poland and China.
For ex-Porto boss Nuno and his contingent of Portuguese players, there was a first league win of the season as Wolverhampton Wanderers scored an injury-time winner through Adama Traore to beat West Ham 1-0 in London. Goalkeeper Rui Patrício drew praise for his performance for Wolves, who also fielded João Moutinho, Rúben Neves, Hélder Costa and Diogo Jota.
“It feels good,” said a delighted Nuno after the match. “Even if we didn’t win I would be happy because we worked hard. We are happy and for our fans it’s massive, to come here and get three points.
“The moment of recovering the ball with two minutes to go was huge. After 90 minutes one of our midfielders went high to press and won the dual. We know about West Ham on the counter attack, but we were fortunate to get on the counter attack with the high pressing of Rúben and deserved it.”
Of perhaps greater importance was José Mourinho’s Manchester United recovering from their 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham last Monday with a comfortable 2-0 win at Burnley. Romelu Lukaku scored both goals for the Red Devils, with Mourinho thrilled with what he saw from his side.
“Everything [pleased me]. The first 10 minutes were the mirror of the game. So fast, so creative, even I can say so beautiful, but we lost three chances in the first 10 minutes and I think that was the mirror of the game. We managed to score two goals which was enough to win, but it shouldn’t just be two, it should be three, four, five, six.”
Ronaldo junior outshines dad
Over in Italy, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters he was unconcerned that Cristiano Ronaldo had failed to open his account during his third Serie A appearance, as the Bianconeri beat Parma 2-1. “There are different difficulties a striker has to deal with in Serie A, but he had a good game overall. I am happy with what he’s doing and the break for international duty will help all of us to be sharper,” said Allegri, who has seen his side win all three opening matches.
Ronaldo, who has taken on 23 shots across his three showings in the Italian league, left the field sporting a black eye following his team’s win. Goalscoring is not a problem elsewhere in the Ronaldo household, however, as the Portugal captain’s son, Cris, found the net four times on his debut for the Juventus U9 team on Sunday.
In France, a bad weekend for Leonardo Jardim saw the former Braga and Sporting manager suffer a bitter defeat in Ligue 1, as his Monaco side went down 3-2 at home to Marseille. After going behind, Jardim’s men found themselves 2-1 up early in the second half, before ultimately losing to an 89th minute goal from their former striker Valere Germain.
“The players gave their best,” Jardim said after the game. “The team had a good attitude. It is with hard work that we will progress. We are rebuilding, and the balance is not there, but I’m not surprised at that. It will take time and I promise to give my maximum to get us there. I am not worried.”
On the goals front, it was a weekend in which some of the lesser heralded Portuguese found the net across Europe. Manuel Fernandes scored from the penalty spot to give Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow the lead at Krasnodar, but the home side rallied back to win 2-1 with an injury-time winner. Eder emerged from the bench on 79 minutes for the visitors, who suffered their second defeat of the season.
Podence on the mark again
Ex-Sporting midfielder Daniel Podence continues to make an impact in Greece with Olympiacos. After scoring in his side’s midweek Europa League tie against Burnley in England, the 22-year-old was again among the goals as Olympiacos hammered PAS Giannina 5-0 on Sunday evening.
In China, Ricardo Vaz Tê scored a second-half equaliser for Henan Jianye to earn his side a 1-1 draw with Changchun Yatai. It was Vaz Tê’s 7th league goal of the season, and much-needed for the home side who ended a slump of four successive league defeats which have left them in relegation trouble.
Veteran striker Flávio Paixão continued his good start to the new Polish season with a both goals in Lechia Gdansk’s 2-0 home win over Korona Kielce. The 33-year-old former Porto man, who has played in Spain, Scotland and Iran since leaving Portugal, has five goals from his opening seven matches in the Polish top flight, after a first-half penalty and a second on 69 minutes on Friday evening.
Finally, to the English Championship, home to 11 Portuguese players, and former Nacional attacker Lucas João, who scored what proved to be the winner for Sheffield Wednesday at Reading. The Angolan-born forward made it three goals in his last two Championship games, striking just after half time as Wednesday ran out 2-1 winners and made it three league wins in a row.
by Sean Gillen