Portuguese players were on target with crucial goals across Europe this weekend, with André Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Alves leading the way. There were also important goals for Flávio Paixão (Poland) and Diogo Salomão (Romania) as well as others from Portugal's foreign contingent in Scotland, Turkey, Switzerland and Greece.
Meanwhile, there was less positive news for José Mourinho and Nuno Espírito Santo in England, while Portugal defender Rolando made his long-awaited comeback in France with Marseille and João Carvalho continues to light up the English Championship.
Silva to thank as Sevilla go top
Sevilla have returned to the top of La Liga after taking advantage of Barcelona’s further dropped points at Atletico Madrid by beating Real Valladolid 1-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday evening. André Silva’s headed goal on the half hour means Sevilla hold a one-point lead over Barca, who drew 1-1 at Atletico with Nélson Semedo playing the full 90 minutes.
Former Porto man Silva spoke to the press after the match, and was typically ambitious with his analysis. “We should have scored the second and the third,” he said. "When you are not able to make the game comfortable then you struggle and anything can happen, but luckily we could get the clean sheet. Now we are top of the league and everyone is happy, we have won a complicated game and weathered the storm."
The biggest shock of the weekend in Spain came in the Saturday lunchtime kick off, as Eibar beat Real Madrid 3-0 at the Estadio Municipal de Ipuruaz. Former Sporting defender Paulo Oliveira played the full match for Eibar, who move up into 9th place in the table.
“Best in the world” Ronaldo equals record
Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the goals as Juventus beat SPAL 2-0 on Saturday, and his cushioned volley from close range meant the Portuguese became the first player to net 9 goals in his opening 13 Serie A games for the Bianconeri since Pietro Anastasi all the way back in the 1968-69 season. “Juve signed a great player in Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s the best in the world and a remarkable professional,” said Leonardo Bonucci after the game.
Elsewhere in the Italian top flight, Parma continue to defy expectations with a 2-1 win over Sassuolo which moves them up to 6th place. Veteran Portugal defender Bruno Alves captained the Gialloblu and was on-hand to prod home from close-range to put Parma 2-0 up on Sunday, with the newly-promoted side holding off Sassuolo to claim back-to-back wins.
Tough times for Mourinho, Nuno
There were mixed fortunes for the Portuguese trio of managers in the English Premier League, with José Mourinho and Nuno Espírito Santo both failing to win what appeared favourable home fixtures, while Marco Silva’s Everton broke into the top six with another victory.
For Mourinho, a highly disappointing scoreless draw at home with Crystal Palace which was met with boos at the final whistle from the Old Trafford crowd. “Very bad result, it’s not a point it’s two points lost,” Mourinho said after the match, before later criticising his team for lacking “intensity” and “heart” against the relegation strugglers.
It is now five league matches without a victory for Nuno’s Wolves after a 2-0 home defeat to Huddersfield. “We knew happiness doesn’t last forever but it’s how we show our character, bouncing back,” the former Porto boss said after the match. “We must take a deep look inside of us and really work this week.”
Everton moved into the top six following their 1-0 win against Cardiff City at Goodison Park on Saturday. “I think we are creating a very, very good team spirit. It is not just what I can see on the pitch – where it is most important, of course – but I can see what we are creating every day,” said Silva, who played André Gomes for the full 90 minutes in the Toffees’ midfield.
Staying in England, Nottingham Forest are emerging as serious contenders for a promotion after a 2-0 win at Hull City meant they have lost just one of their last 12 league games. The victory saw another assist for Portugal Under-21 international João Carvalho, who leads the assists charts in the division with 6, having also contributed two goals to his team’s cause.
Rolando returns; late joy for Martins in Greece
A nice moment in France for experienced Portuguese defender Rolando, who made his first appearance for Marseille this season having suffered from an Achilles injury for the past six months. The 33-year-old last played for his club against Amiens in May, and Rolando made his return against the same opponents on Sunday night, with Marseille coming from behind to win 3-1 and mark the Portuguese’s return with three points.
Olympiakos moved up to 3rd place in the Greek Super League on Sunday evening, thanks to a 93rd-minute winner to beat second-placed Antromitos. The win was a huge result for Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins, who was proud of his side after the match: “Today we showed our identity. We are true to that identity and will fight to the end. We play with our heart and soul. All players were united as one,” said the former Vitória Guimarães boss.
Paixão helps Gdansk to win
Lechia Gdansk are the surprise package in the Polish Ekstraklasa this season, and the league’s leading goalscorer Flávio Paixão was again amongst the goals – from the penalty spot – as his side won their fourth consecutive match to beat Jagiellonia Bialystock 3-2 in the game of the weekend on Sunday evening.
Paixão’s 11th league goal of the season means Gdansk hold a 5-point lead over Ricardo Sá Pinto’s Legia Warsaw, who won 1-0 at Zaglebie Lubin with Cafú and André Martins in the line-up selected by the former Sporting coach.
Salomão vital once again in Romania
Diogo Salomão scored for the third match running to help struggling giants Dinamo Bucharest to a 1-1 draw with Gaz Metan on Friday. Ex-Sporting man Salomão has become a regular saviour for Dinamo in recent weeks, having netting a stoppage-time penalty to beat Voluntari earlier this month before scoring again from the spot to earn a point against city rivals Steaua before the international break.
With Dinamo 1-0 down and being reduced to ten men against Gaz Metan, it was again left to the Portuguese to save the day. Salomão fired in from the edge of the area with what was almost the last kick of the game in the Romanian capital.
CFR Cluj still lead the way in Romania after a 1-0 victory at Concordia Chiajna. Cluj’s Portuguese coach Antonio Conceição selected former Naval defender Camora – in his 8th season at the club – in his side for the win, which maintains their 2-point lead at the top of the table.
Goals keep coming
Daniel Candeias made it three goals in his last three matches for Scottish club Rangers with the opener – scored with his head – in their 3-0 win over Livingston in the SPL this weekend. Also 3-0 winners at home this weekend were Kasimpasa in Turkey, and former Vitória Guimarães defender Josué Sá scored the second, his first goal for the club in their win over Yeni Malatyaspor.
André Simoes was also on the scoresheet for AEK Athens in Greece with a consolation goal in their 2-1 defeat at Panaitolikos. Finally, ex Benfica forward Sancidino Silva joined the legion of Portuguese playing abroad this summer when he moved to Swiss Challenge League club Lausanne, and the 24-year-old got his first goal for his new club in their 5-1 hammering of Winterthur.
By Sean Gillen