Primeira Liga Matchweek 26 Review: Sporting CP edge past Santa Clara

This was the final Matchweek before the international break but who managed to grab the headlines this week in the Portuguese Primeira Liga?

Match of the Round – Belenenses 2-2 Portimonense

Portimonense and Belenenses had to share the points at the Estádio Nacional this week but the visitors will be disappointed that they only managed a point given that they let a two goal lead slip in the Portuguese capital.

Portimonense clearly took a lot of confidence from their 5-1 win over Nacional last weekend as they moved ahead inside the opening three minutes at the Estadio Nacional when Aylton Boa Morte headed home from Bruno Tabata’s cross to make it 1-0.

The visitors kept up the pressure as Henrique’s long range shot forced a save from Muriel Becker before the visitors doubled their advantage when Boa Morte’s low cross picked out an unmarked Jackson Martinez, who fired the ball past the Belenenses goalkeeper with the aid of a slight deflection.

The hosts were staring at their seventh defeat of the season and their response in the first half was pretty disappointing as a low shot from Nuno Coelho was the best they could offer before Muriel Becker was needed to prevent his side from falling 3-0 down as he pulled off a fabulous save from Henrique by pushing his close range shot around the post.

However, whatever Silas’ managed to tell the players at half time certainly worked as Belenenses were much improved after the break. They halved the deficit fairly quickly as Lica’s powerful shot was too much for Portimonense’s goalkeeper Ricardo Ferreira as he could only palm the ball into the side netting of the goal while a long range strike from Jonatan Lucca made it 2-2 in the 66th minute.

The hosts even had a chance to win it late on as Nuno Coelho connected with a corner but the midfielder couldn’t quite direct his header on target as the ball sailed narrowly wide of the far post. A point proved to be better than nothing, though, as the hosts extended their unbeaten run to four matches while the visitors are still looking for their first away win since January.

Team of the Round – Vitória Guimarães

With sixth place in the Primeira Liga likely to be enough for a Europa League place this season, Vitória Guimarães improved their chances of claiming the final place as they secured a 3-1 home victory over Boavista this week.

The hosts came into the match having lost their derby against Braga last week but they seemed to be determined to get back to winning ways against Boavista on Saturday as they took the lead inside seven minutes. Ola John was afforded too much time and space on the right before the Dutch winger crossed for Mattheus Oliveira to head past Rafael Bracali from close range to make it 1-0.

The home pressure continued as Toze’s long range shot forced a good save from the Brazilian goalkeeper before Boavista were indebted to their goalkeeper again as he denied the ex-Porto midfielder from close range while also tipping a shot from Rafa Soares around the post later on in the half.

Given Guimarães’ dominance in the first half, it seemed incredible that they were pegged back after half time but Boavista managed to score against the run of play when Federico Falcone scuffed a shot past Miguel Silva on the rebound with VAR overturning the assistant referee’s original decision to rule out the goal for offside.

Parity only lasted for around two minutes, though, as Mattheus Oliveira crossed for Davidson to fire home at the second attempt before a teasing free kick from Mattheus allowed the hosts to claim a third goal when Pedro Henrique managed to loop his header just inside the far post to make it 3-1.

Guimarães had a decent chance to extend the lead as Yordan Osorio headed narrowly wide late on but the hosts were clear and deserved winners at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques on Saturday as they made it three consecutive home wins while ensuring that Boavista remain in the relegation battle.

Player of the Round – Ronan

Rio Ave recorded their first victory in five matches in the Primeira Liga as a solitary goal from Brazilian forward Ronan in the first half was enough to beat relegation threatened Nacional on Sunday.

This first half certainly won’t be remembered as a classic as opportunities were scarce for both teams but it was Nacional who had the first real chance of the match when Sardor Rashidov was forced wide after rounding Léo Jardim but the Uzbekistan forward came close to finding the back of the net as he fired narrowly wide of the far post.

However, Rio Ave’s response was to open the scoring almost immediately as a long ball forward eventually found Ronan with the Brazilian forward’s shot taking a massive deflection before rolling into the back of the net to hand the visitors the lead.

Nacional responded after half time with Witi’s shot going over the bar before Mauro Cerqueira’s cross flashed across the face of goal as they tried to apply some pressure to the visiting defence. Nacional were still struggling to break Rio Ave down, though, and they had to wait until late in the match before Brayan Riascos managed to force Léo Jardim into a save when his cross had to be pushed away at the near post by the Brazilian goalkeeper.

The hosts had one final chance after that but after Lazar Rosic’s header was brilliantly saved by Léo Jardim from a corner, Rio Ave held onto the three points to move into the top half of the table.

Interesting Stat

Sporting CP have managed to record three consecutive wins in the Primeira Liga for the first time since December as a solitary goal from Raphinha helped them to a victory over Santa Clara.

Results

Aves 0-1 Chaves

Belenenses 2-2 Portimonense

CD Nacional 0-1 Rio Ave

Moreirense 0-4 Benfica

Porto 3-0 Marítimo

Sporting CP 1-0 Santa Clara

Tondela 1-1 Feirense

Vitória Guimarães 3-1 Boavista

Vitória Setúbal 0-1 Braga

La Liga Matchweek 28 Review: Real Madrid win against Celta Vigo

The return of Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid has been the talking point this week in La Liga and his side had a relatively easy fixture at home to Celta Vigo. Did Real Madrid start Zidane’s second stint with a win?

Match of the Round – Eibar 1-2 Valladolid

Valladolid secured a vital win in their bid to avoid relegation from La Liga this week as they secured a 2-1 win against Eibar, meaning that the visitors recorded their first away win since December.

Eibar came into the match having lost just twice at home so far this season and they started as the better team with Sergi Enrich putting narrowly wide of the goal from Joan Jordan’s cross before the forward wasted a good chance as he headed narrowly over the bar moments later.

Fabio Orellana was the next to go close for the hosts as he headed wide from José Ángel’s cross but Valladolid probably should have scored against the run of play when Keko set up Oscar Plano, only for the Real Madrid loanee to fire wide of the post when he should have at least made Marko Dmitrović make a save.

However, it was the home side who moved in front after half time when Sergi Enrich set up Orellana to make it 1-0 and the hosts seemed fairly comfortable after the goal as Valladolid were restricted to just a couple of chances for Enes Unal. After the Turkish forward failed to make the most of those chances, Eibar had the chances to seal the points when Orellana set up Sergi Enrich but after Jordi Masip kept the visitors in the match with a good save, Jose Angel saw a free kick go narrowly past the post.

With a minute of normal time remaining Eibar should have held onto the points, but Marko Dmitrović’s rash challenge on Oscar Plano gave Valladolid a penalty that Daniele Verdi converted to make 1-1 before Sergi Guardiola capitalised on a defensive mistake before toe poking the ball past Dmitrović to seal a dramatic victory in the third minute of added time.

Team of the Round – Real Madrid

Real Madrid secured an easy win to herald Zinedine Zidane’s return to the club this week as two second half goals against Celta Vigo were enough to see them close the gap to Atletico Madrid in the La Liga table.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the home side, though, as Keylor Navas, recalled in place of Thibaut Courtois, pulled off a brilliant save from Maxi Gómez from close range but Real Madrid nearly took the lead after that when Gareth Bale hit the bar on the volley.

Real thought they had scored the first goal of Zidane’s second reign in the second half when Luka Modric’s long range shot beat Rubén Blanco but VAR ruled that Raphaël Varane had blocked the goalkeeper’s line of sight from an offside position. That said, the hosts eventually took the lead when Isco scored from Karim Benzema’s low cross before Gareth Bale doubled the advantage when he managed to score with his weaker right foot to make it 2-0.

Relegation threatened Celta Vigo didn’t really find a response to those goals but while they struggle with the threat of relegation, Real Madrid are just two points behind their city rivals Atletico after they lost 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

Player of the Round – Jonathan Calleri

Jonathan Calleri scored his first goals in La Liga since December as he netted twice while Alaves won 3-1 on Saturday against Huesca to maintain their push for a Champions League qualification place.

The visitors took the lead in this match from the penalty spot after VAR ruled that Martín Mantovani had handled the ball with Calleri slotting his spot kick straight down the middle to make it 1-0. However, Huesca were awarded a penalty of their own a few minutes later when VAR spotted another handball from Alaves’ Ximo Navarro and Ezequiel Ávila made it 1-1 as he fired the ball past Fernando Pacheco.

Huesca went close to taking the lead in the second half when Juan Camilo Hernández managed to flick the ball over Fernando Pacheco but the visitors were grateful to see the ball rebound off of the bar before bouncing away to safety. However, it was Alaves who made it 2-1 late on in the match when a long throw into the penalty area was flicked on by Guillermo Maripán before John Guidetti fired home at the far post.

Calleri made sure of the victory when he made it 3-1 from Mubarak Wakaso’s brilliant pass to leave Huesca running out of time to pull off a miracle in their battle to avoid relegation while Alaves’ 12th win of the season sees them move onto 44 points from 28 matches.

Interesting Stat

Levante ended run of three straight defeats in La Liga as a late goal from Borja Mayoral helped them secure a 1-1 draw away to Real Sociedad. However, with just two wins from their last 14 matches, Levante are still in danger of being dragged into the La Liga relegation battle as the club are only six points from safety.

Results

Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Eibar 1-2 Valladolid

Espanyol 0-1 Sevilla

Leganes 0-2 Girona

Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona

Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo

Real Sociedad 1-1 Levante

Huesca 1-3 Alaves

Valencia 0-0 Getafe

Villarreal 3-1 Rayo Vallecano

Serie A Matchweek 28 Review: Thrilling win for Sampdoria

Claudio Ranieri started his tenure at Roma with a 2-1 win against Empoli last week but his side were away from home this week as they played Spal at the Stadio Paolo Mazza. Did Ranieri’s side make it two wins from two matches?

Match of the Round – Sassuolo 3-5 Sampdoria

There may have been eight goals in this match but it was Sampdoria who claimed the three points on Saturday as they scored five goals away from home for the second time this season to beat Sassuolo 5-3.

Sassuolo came into the match with a lack of confidence following a run of just one win in eleven matches but there was little they could do about the opening goal as a good team move saw Manolo Gabbiadini cross the ball for Fabio Quagliarella who nodded the ball into Grégoire Defrel’s path to make it 1-0.

Quagliarella turned from provider to goalscorer when Karol Linetty set him up to fire the ball past Andrea Consigli but the home side halved the deficit almost immediately when ex-Chelsea player Jérémie Boga slotted home from a low cross to make it 2-1.

However, Sassuolo’s hope for a comeback proved to be short lived when Linetty made it 3-1 with a cool finish from the edge of the penalty area while a goal from Dennis Praet immediately after half time pretty much put the game out of reach for the hosts.

Alfred Duncan did at least pull one goal back just after the hour mark with his deflected shot from long range but Sampdoria’s three goal advantage was restored nine minutes later by Gabbiadini as he latched onto Linetty’s pass before firing into the bottom corner to make it 5-2.

Sassuolo scored again in injury time when Khouma Babacar managed to curl the ball into the top corner but while their miserable run of form continues, Sampdoria continue their late push for the Europa League places.

Team of the Round – Spal

Roma’s hopes of Champions League football next season were dealt a blow against Spal as they lost 2-1 at the Stadio Paolo Mazza meaning that Spal had claimed their first home win since September.

Spal had managed to beat Roma earlier in the season when they secured a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico and they got off to a great start here when Mohamed Fares’ looping header beat Robin Olsen. The hosts almost doubled their lead shortly after that when Fares set up Jasmin Kurtić but the Slovenian’s shot went narrowly wide of the far post.

Roma finally responded with Edin Dzeko testing Emiliano Viviano later on in the half but the visitors found a route back into the match after the break as they were awarded a penalty when Thiago Cionek pulled back Edin Dzeko. Diego Perotti sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 1-1 but it was Spal’s turn to be awarded a spot kick about five minutes later when Andrea Petagna was fouled by Juan Jesus. Petagna took the penalty himself as he fired the ball past Olsen to make it 2-1, leaving the visitors to chase another equaliser.

Dzeko came close as he forced a great save from Viviano from close range but the visitors nearly conceded a third goal late on when Cionek headed against the top of the bar for Spal from a far post cross. However, the missed header didn’t matter as the hosts held on for an important win, while it’s two straight away defeats for Roma as they have a lot of work to do to salvage a Champions League place this season.

Player of the Round – Luis Alberto

Lazio took another positive step towards a place in the Europa League next season as they recorded a 4-1 victory over Parma at the Stadio Olimpico with ex-Liverpool player Luis Alberto scoring twice.

The hosts came into the match having won their last two home matches and they nearly took an early lead through Felipe Caicedo as the Ecuadorian forward forced a good save from Luigi Sepe before two goals in a few minutes put Lazio in control of the match midway through the half.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s pass was converted by Adam Marusic while Lazio were awarded a penalty to make it 2-0 as Luis Alberto scored his first goal of the afternoon after Simone Iacoponi had been penalised for handball.

Lazio continued to look the dominant team after that and Luis Alberto made it 3-0 with a long range strike past Sepe before it was Senad Lulic’s turn to beat the visiting goalkeeper from distance as the hosts went in a half time with a commanding 4-0 lead.

There seemed to be little difference in terms of the play after half time as Lazio continued to create chances but after Joaquin Correa, Felipe Caicedo and Danilo Cataldi failed to extend the lead, Parma managed to grab a consolation late on through Mattia Sprocati to make it 4-1.

Unfortunately, Parma weren’t able to build on Sprocati’s strike as they slumped to their 13th defeat of the season but Lazio are now level on points with Atalanta in the race for Europa League football with a game in hand.

Interesting Stat

Genoa became the first team to beat Juventus this season as they secured a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Goals from Stefano Sturaro and Goran Pandev handed Juventus their first league defeat since a 1-0 defeat at home to Napoli in April 2018.

Results

AC Milan 2-3 Inter Milan

Atalanta 1-1 Chievo

Cagliari 2-1 Fiorentina

Empoli 2-1 Frosinone

Genoa 2-0 Juventus

Lazio 4-1 Parma

Napoli 4-2 Udinese

Sassuolo 3-5 Sampdoria

Spal 2-1 Roma

Torino 2-3 Bologna