Goals were the order of the weekend for the Portuguese Abroad contingent, with Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo leading the way as usual with two for Italian champions Juventus in their victory at Empoli in Serie A on Saturday, including a sensational long-range strike for his second.
Ronaldo was joined in finding the back of the net by youngster Rafael Leão who bagged a winner for Lille on his full debut in France, while there were also goals for compatriots in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Holland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia, while Portuguese managers enjoyed typically differing fortunes across the world.
"An important week" - Ronaldo
It was a decisive showing from Ronaldo, with Juventus struggling to a 1-0 deficit at half time against relegation-battlers Empoli on Saturday. However, Portugal’s talisman once again proved his powers remain by levelling from the penalty spot and giving Juve all three points with an unstoppable shot from outside the area which flew into the top corner.
“It was a very complicated game,” Ronaldo said after the match, for which João Cancelo was rested as the champions increased their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points. “We knew it would be difficult, especially after a Champions League tie and we were a bit tired. We stayed in the game, increased our possession, created more chances after the break and in the end deserved the victory.
“I don’t remember the goal very well, I’ll have to watch it again! It all happened very quickly, but I felt confident and I went for the goal. This is a very important week, we put in a fantastic performance at Old Trafford and we performed well here too in difficult circumstances.”
This sublime goal was Cristiano Ronaldo's 41st goal in his 41st game in 2018. Like a fine wine.🍷 pic.twitter.com/0FYc19UtzW— Marino Peixoto (@MarinoPeixoto) October 27, 2018
Ronaldo’s former club Real Madrid continue to flounder without him, this weekend suffering the humiliation of a 5-1 defeat to bitter rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou. Portugal right-back Nélson Semedo did not make the Barca line-up but emerged to play the final twenty minutes as his side remain one point clear at the top of La Liga.
Elsewhere in Spain, Sevilla returned to winning ways in the league after last week’s defeat to Barcelona with a 2-1 win over Huesca at home. André Silva appears to be finding things a little more difficult since the international break, as the 22-year-old was substituted very early in the second half with the game goalless. Daniel Carriço led the backline as usual for Sevilla, while former Sporting man Rúben Semedo played in defence for Huesca.
Leão steals the show on debut
Over to France and while most eyes were on PSG’s 2-0 win over Marseille – still without Rolando who is nearing a return – there was another win for surprise package Lille, who sit in second place in the standings after beating Caen 1-0 at home. With José Fonte in defence and Xeca in midfield, former Sporting youngster Rafael Leão made up the Portuguese spine in the Lille line-up in what was his full Ligue 1 debut.
The youngster responded to the pressure of leading the line on his first league start by netting the winner, showing great composure when through on goal to slot past Caen goalkeeper Brice Samba. Fun fact from Opta: At 19 years and 4 months of age, Leão became the youngest player to score for Lille in Ligue 1 since Rony Lopes, in February 2015 against Lyon.
Also making his first league start of the season was Raphaël Guerreiro, who was rewarded for his midweek brace against Atletico Madrid with a long-awaited return to the Borussia Dortmund line-up in the Bundesliga. There was late disappointment for Dortmund though, who were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Hertha Berlin after a late penalty award, which saw their lead at the top cut to two points.
Mourinho overcomes Silva
Penalties were a theme in England as a showdown between Portuguese bosses José Mourinho and Marco Silva saw Manchester United narrowly beat Everton 2-1 at Old Trafford. There were penalties for both sides, with the decision to award United the spot-kick from which Paul Pogba opened the scoring irritating Everton boss Silva.
“I think we deserved a little more. It was a balanced match, they created problems for us which is normal. But it was a balanced match, as we expected, until they score the penalty. Every time we had the ball we created problems for them. It wasn’t a penalty, it was a clear dive and it’s a bad sensation that this moment gave them confidence and made things easier,” concluded Silva, who again selected the impressive André Gomes in his midfield.
Unsurprisingly, Mourinho saw things differently, saying United should have been more comfortable in seeing out the game. “I am pleased with the performance. We started well, we played even better in the second half. Great control of the game and we did not deserve the last fifteen minutes which were not easy for us.”
Meanwhile, another defeat for Wolves, 1-0 at the hands of Brighton, sees Nuno Espírito Santo’s men slip down to 10th place in the Premier League. Nuno’s side had 25 attempts on the Brighton goal, but finding the back of the net appears to be a growing problem for the West Midlands club, with just nine goals in their ten games so far in the league.
"The result was not what we expect and not what the boys worked for, but the performance was good,” said the former Porto boss. “We had a reaction, which is what I expect. But we must improve in the final third. We created many chances and deserved to put the ball in the net. We did enough to win, but credit to Brighton because they defended well and threw bodies on the line to stop the ball, so well done to them.”
Fernandes, Eder on-target; Podstawski Golaço!
The was a Portuguese double in Russia on Sunday afternoon as Manuel Fernandes and Eder both scored in champions Lokomotiv Moscow’s 3-0 win at Yenisey. Lokomotiv had led 1-0 for much of them game when Fernandes controlled on his chest and calmly finished ten minutes from time, before Eder rounded things off on the break as the hosts left gaps at the back.
One of the goals of the weekend came in Poland, where former Porto youngster Tomás Podstawski opened the scoring for Pogon Szczecin in their 3-0 victory over Lech Poznan with a sensational left-footed shot from outside the box which spun into the top corner. It was the 23-year-old’s first goal in Poland since arriving from Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer.
Spectacular Portuguese goals abroad: Pogoń Szczecin's Tomas Podstawski is opening his team's high tension game v Lech Poznań in Polish Ekstraklasa with a screamer https://t.co/WwHaxkTyMk— Marcin Ostrowski (@seixalense) October 27, 2018
Lechia Gdansk still lead the way at the top of the Ekstraklasa thanks to a 90th-minute winner from veteran striker Flávio Paixão which saw them beat Arka Gdynia at home. There was also late celebration for Legia Warsaw manager Ricardo Sá Pinto as a goal on 89 minutes snatched his side a point in a crucial match with last season’s runners-up Jagiellonia Białystok.
Goals keep coming
On the goals front, midfielder Tiago Rodrigues scored for the second time in three games for CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria as they drew 1-1 at Beroe, while crosstown rivals Levski Sofia ran out 7-0 winners over Vereya after former Sporting defender Nuno Reis had opened the scoring. Both Sofia clubs are chasing Ludogorets at the top of the table in what currently appears a three-horse race.
In Holland, there was a goal for 20-year-old former Académica attacker André Vidigal who levelled for his Fortuna Sittard side just before half time in their 2-1 defeat at Vittesse. Experienced defender Nuno Morais scored from the penalty spot – his 7th goal of the season – as APOEL won 4-2 at Alki Oroklini in Cyprus, while in Ukraine Cristian Ponde was among the scorers as Karpaty – coached by José Morais – ran out 5-0 winners at Chornomorets.
It was a much-needed win for Morais, who had not seen his side collect three points since September, and we end on the fortunes of other Portuguese bosses across the world. In China, Vítor Pereira’s Shanghai SPIG ensured that they will go into next weekend’s potential title decider at champions Guangzhou Evergrande with the advantage after a 4-2 victory over Shandong Luneng maintained their 2-point lead with three matches of the CSL remaining.
CFR Cluj, coached by Toni Conceição, are still top in Romania after a 91st-minute goal saw them win 2-1 at Sepsi and maintain a two-point gap over Steaua Bucharest. Pedro Caixinha’s Cruz Azul slipped to 3rd place in the Mexican Liga MX after they were held to a goalless draw by leaders America on Saturday evening, while finally ex-Feirense defender Ricardo Machado was among the goals to help Al Tawoon coach Pedro Emanuel to a 5-0 win over Al Batin in Saudi Arabia's Pro League.
By Sean Gillen