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general news - 2011

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03/09/11

* Portugal had a good first half against Cyprus in Nicosia in their Euro 2012 qualifier. They went in at half-time 1-0 up but it could have been more, given the chances they were creating, and João Pereira and Pepe especially could have done more with the ones they had. The goal came on 34 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring from the spot. João Moutinho had shot from outside the area, Dobrasinovic handled inside, the ref pointed to the spot and Dobrasinovic saw a second yellow.
With more than an hour in numerical superiority, Portugal should have rammed home their dominance, but the second half was a limp affair, with Portugal only really bothering Giorgallides on 56 minutes when Coentrão hit the post. All the time the difference was one goal, Portugal were open to the sucker punch; indeed, 12 minutes from time, the excellent Okkas was put through on goal but was pulled up for an offside that clearly did not exist.
As if stung into action by the threat, Portugal turned the heat up and on 82 minutes got the goal that meant they could breathe a sigh of relief, Cristiano Ronaldo working himself into position to the left of the goal and firing in a cross shot. In his celebrations, he gestured for the crowd to be quiet – they'd been mocking him with chants of "Messi, Messi" – and he saw a yellow card for it. Cyprus resistance wilted from this point, and two of the subs finished them off: Hugo Almeida stroked home a Cristiano Ronaldo cutback from the left on 84 minutes, and in added time, Danny took a through ball from Moutinho on his thigh before clipping it in to make it
4-0. (highlights)
It was a good result from a relatively poor display, and it takes Portugal to the top of Group H, level with Norway, who beat Iceland 1-0 in Oslo. Portugal's next game is at home to Iceland on 7 October.
Cyprus: Giorgallides, Poursaitidis, Merkis, Christou, Avraam, Dobrasinovic, Makridis (Nicolaou 37), Charalambides (Alexandrou 63), Christofi (Efrem 80), Demetriou, Okkas.
Portugal: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fábio Coentrão, Raúl Meireles, João Moutinho, Rúben Micael (Miguel Veloso 63), Nani (Danny 85), Cristiano Ronaldo, Hélder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 76).

* Yannick Djaló's move from Sporting to Nice has hit a hitch: the documents to register the move were not submitted in time, and the French club will have to apply to UEFA to allow it.

* Boavista, Portuguese champions ten years ago but now in the Segunda Divisão (third tier), have not been allowed to register for the new league season because of unnamed creditors, including 23 ex-players and one club, who are claiming a total of two million euros.

* quotes of the day

"We won, and that's what's important." Portugal midfielder João Moutinho after a poor display but a 4-0 win over Cyprus.

"I'm no Judas. I didn't go to Chelsea for the money." Portuguese international midfielder Raul Meireles.

"Capdevila is totally demoralised." The Benfica full-back's agent Horácio Gaggioli after coach Jorge Jesus leaves the Spanish international out of the squad for the Champions League.

01/09/11

* Central defender Ricardo Carvalho left the Portuguese training camp in Óbidos on Wednesday, and he's not coming back. In a press release, he said: "If they make me feel like I'm not wanted and they don't tell me, then the only thing to do is leave. [...] I've played 75 times for my country and have been deeply dedicated to defending the team's good name, but never before have I felt so disrespected and my dignity hurt. Among my peers, I'm just another player. However, like the others, I deserve consideration and respect." The trigger for the Real Madrid defender's decision remains unclear.

* There was feverish activity on the domestic transfer market as the transfer deadline loomed, but not so many significant moves:

* Sporting have sold Hélder Postiga to Spanish club Zaragoza for one million euros, half of which will go to FC Porto due to a contractual stipulation. Sporting can expect to receive more depending on Postiga's performance.

* Sporting forward Yannick Djaló has reportedly joined French club Nice for 4.5 million euros, with Sporting retaining 25% of the player.

* Sporting have also loaned Argentinian left back Grimi to Belgian club Genk and midfielder Zezinho, 18, to second tier club Atlético.

* Benfica have extended the contract of Uruguayan wide player Urretavizcaya, 21, until 2015 and loaned him out to Vitória de Guimarães.

* Vitória de Guimarães have sold Brazilian midfielder Renan Silva to Romanian club Cluj for a reported 200 thousand euros.

* Feirense have signed Brazilian left winger Anderson Melo, 21, from Brazilian club Grémio Anápolis.

* Gil Vicente have signed Cape Verdean midfielder Sidnei for a season; he was a free agent but most recently represented Marítimo.

* Haitian full back Jean Sony has joined Rio Ave from Leixões.

* Fábio Felício of Rio Ave and André Villas Boas of Marítimo have swapped clubs.

* Forward Orlando Sá announced on his site that he has signed for English club Fulham for three seasons. He recently terminated his contractual position with FC Porto.

* quote of the day

"If they make me feel like I'm not wanted and they don't tell me, then the only thing to do is leave." Ricardo Carvalho quits the Selecção for good.

 

31/08/11

* Sporting have signed Brazilian midfielder Elías from Atlético Madrid for 8.85 million euros, the most expensive player in the club's history. The contract is for five years.

* Utility player Marco Caneira has terminated his contract with Sporting and joined Hungarian club Videoton, coached by Paulo Sousa, on a two-year contract.

* Portuguese forward Pizzi has joined Atlético Madrid until December, on loan from Sporting Braga

* Brazilian central defender Ozeia, 28, is moving to Romanian club Vaslui from Paços de Ferreira.

* Benfica have extended Argentinian forward Franco Jara's contract for one year until 2016, despite loaning him to Granada this season

* New coach Rui Vitória's first day at Vitória de Guimarães was an eventful one, with fans of the club invading the training pitch and allegedly assaulting Moroccan player Faouzi. Vitória's move from Paços de Ferreira reportedly involved a 100,000 euro fee and first refusal on Guimarães players for Paços for the next two years.

* Rui Vitória's job at Paços de Ferreira has been taken by Luís Miguel, 40, the brother-in-law of FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira. In 2007, he coached Feirense and has worked at prestigious Aspire Academy in Qatar.

* quotes of the day

"I'm not a matador but I know how to score goals." Sporting's new signing from Atlético Madrid, Elías.

"Cristiano Ronaldo recommended me to Jorge Jesus." Ex-Benfica 'keeper Roberto, now of Zaragoza, whose passage through Benfica was brief and rocky.

30/08/11

* Benfica had to battle fog and a terrier-like Nacional to win 2-0 in Madeira on Monday (goals). Fog settled over the Nacional stadium in the first half, forcing the referee to stop play twice because of bad visibility. In between the two stoppages, Gaitán crossed from the right for Óscar Cardozo to head in. The fog cleared in the second half, but the referee's vision must have been impaired as he showed Nacional's João Aurélio a second yellow for an innocuous foul on 62 minutes. Down to ten men, Nacional still managed to create occasional danger, but Benfica have a new goalkeeper, Artur Morães, and he's no mug. As Nacional threw everything forward going into added time, the ball broke and sub Bruno César ran with the ball from deep inside his own half to unleash a rocket from the edge of the area at the other end that the otherwise useful Elisson had not a hope stopping. Benfica go provisionally top of the table on seven points.
Nacional: Elisson, João Aurélio, Danielson, Felipe Lopes, Nuno Pinto, Luís Alberto, Rene Mihelic (Ivan Todorovic 70), Skolnik, Candeias, Mário Rondon (Diego Barcellos 70), Mateus (Edgar Costa 63).
Benfica: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Jardel, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Pablo Aimar (Enzo Perez 78), Nico Gaitan (Ruben Amorim 89), Nolito (Bruno César 46), Óscar Cardozo

* In a lively game in front of 3,382 at the Bonfim stadium in Setúbal, Vitória lost 0-1 to Sporting Braga (highlights). Braga came nearest to scoring in the first half, Alan heading goal-wards from a corner with Miguelito clearing off the line and against the bar. Braga left it until eight minutes from time to secure the win, Hélder Barbosa cutting inside from the right and shooting as he fell. Like Benfica, Braga have seven points.
Vitória de Setúbal: Diego, Peter Suswam, Ricardo Silva, Anderson do Ó, Miguelito, Hugo Leal (Bruno Gallo 76), Neca, Bruno Amaro (Tengarrinha 70), Jorge Gonçalves, Henrique (Bruno Severino 60), Pitbull.
Sporting de Braga: Berni, Baiano, Paulo Vinícius, Nuno André Coelho, Elderson, Djamal, Hugo Viana, Mossoró (Leandro Salino 85), Alan (Nuno Gomes 73), Lima, Hélder Barbosa.

* Paços de Ferreira coach Rui Vitória looks set to join Vitória de Guimarães, replacing Manuel Machado, who resigned last week.

* Benfica are to loan Argentinian forward Franco Jara to Spanish club Granada.

* quote of the day

"Cardozo is an idol in Portugal." FC Porto's new signing, Argentinian forward Juan Iturbe, on his Paraguayan counterpart. Iturbe has obviously never been to Benfica's Luz.

29/08/11

* Things go from bad to worse for Sporting. After two draws in their two opening games, they lost 2-3 (goals) at home to Marítimo on Sunday in front of 27,965 at Alvalade XXI. Sporting were actually in front, Izmailov shooting from outside the box on 38 minutes. But in a mad two-minute period early in the second half, they were behind, Marítimo's goals coming from Rafael Miranda and the impressive Sami. Fifteen minutes from time, Sporting were back in the game, sub Jeffrén scoring from a free-kick. Unfortunately for him and Sporting, he pulled a muscle in the process and had to leave the pitch, meaning that Sporting were down to ten men as they'd used all their substitutes. In the dying minutes, Sporting's weaknesses from dead-ball situation were in evidence again as Babá rose unmarked to head home a corner and give Marítimo all three points to take back to Madeira. Sporting have just two points from a possible nine …
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Anderson Polga, Daniel Carriço, Evaldo, André Santos, Schaars, Izmailov, Yannick (Bojinov 54), Hélder Postiga (Van Wolfswinkel 64), Diego Capel (Jeffrén 54).
Marítimo: Peçanha, Briguel, Róbson, Roberge, Rúben Ferreira, Roberto Sousa, Rafael Miranda, Olberdam (Marquinho 83), Sami (Adilson 89), Danilo Dias, Heldon (Baba 65).

* Another club with troubles are Vitória de Guimarães. They lost their coach in mid-week when Manuel Machado resigned after a 0-4 home defeat against Atlético Madrid in the Europa League, and they lost at home again against Beira-Mar, 0-3 (goals), in front of 9,627. Artur started the Aveiro side off on 24 minutes with a long-range free-kick that went through a crowd of players and in. Cristiano made it two on 52 minutes after a mistake by 'keeper Nilson. And Nildo made it three with a solo effort near the end. As it left the ground, the Vitória club coach taking the players back to their hotel needed police protection.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Tony, N'Diaye, João Paulo, Anderson Santana, El Adoua, Leonel Olímpio (Pedro Mendes 55), Toscano (Soudani 67), Targino, Faouzi (Barrientos 55), Edgar.
Beira-Mar: Rui Rego, Pedro Moreira, Yohan Tavares, Hugo, Joãozinho, Nuno Coelho, Zhang, Artur (Jaime 91), Nildo, Cristiano (Balboa 72), Douglas (Dudu 86).

* Olhanense got their first victory, at normally difficult Rio Ave. The only goal of the game came on 35 minutes, a Wílson Eduardo corner turned into his own goal by Éder.
Rio Ave: Paulo Santos, Zé Gomes, Éder Monteiro, Jeferson, Tiago Pinto, Vítor Gomes, Wires, Saulo (Kelvin 45), Braga (Jorginho 75), Christian (Yazalde 45), João Tomás
Olhanense: Fabiano Freitas, Jorge Gonçalves (André Micael 78), Maurício, Mexer, Ismaily, Fernando Alexandre, Cauê, Rui Duarte, Ivanildo (Salvador Agra 59), Wilson Eduardo (Mateus 80), Dady

* Feirense drew 0-0 at home to Paços de Ferreira (highlights), their second 0-0 draw of the season. They had Siaka Bamba sent off after half an hour for a foul on Manuel José, while Paços were also reduced to ten men on 54 minutes, Diogo Figueiras taking the walk of shame. Feirense have two points, Paços have four.
Feirense: Paulo Lopes, Luciano, Pedro Queirós, Diogo Cunha (Diogo Rosado 70), Ludovic (Miguel Pedro 66), Rabiola, Varela, Mika, Siaka Bamba, Carlos Fonseca, Henrique.
Paços de Ferreira: Cássio, Cohene, Vítor (Melgarejo 26), André Leão, Luiz Carlos, Luisinho (Backar 77), Nuno Santos, Diogo Figueiras, Michel (William 68), Manuel José, Filipe Anunciação.

* Former Brazilian international and Benfica centre-half and captain Ricardo Gomes is critically ill in hospital after suffering a stroke during the game between Flamengo and the team he coaches, Vasco da Gama, in the Brazilian league.

* quotes of the day

"There were too many mistakes for just one game." Sporting coach Domingos Paciência after his team lose 2-3 to Marítimo.

"It's at times like these that we see who the real men are." Vitória de Guimarães goalkeeper Nílson after the 0-3 home defeat to Beira-Mar.

28/08/11

* Gil Vicente won their first game of the season on Saturday, beating Académica, who had won their first two, 2-0 (goals). In an even game, it took two dead-ball situations to give Gil the points: on 69 minutes, Richard's free kick was met by André Cunha who headed in; on 88 minutes, Adrien Silva handled in the area and Cláudio scored from the spot.
Gil Vicente: Adriano Facchini, Éder, Sandro, Cláudio, Júnior Caiçara, Luís Manuel, Pedro Moreira (Richard 58), André Cunha, Laionel (Roberto 58), Hugo Vieira, Luís Carlos (Paulo Lima 92).
Académica: Peiser, João Dias, Berger, Abdoulaye, Hélder Cabral, Adrien, Danilo (Rui Miguel 72), Habib (Hugo Morais 89), Marinho (Sissoko 62), Éder, Diogo Valente.

* Sporting have signed Argentinian left back Emiliano Insúa, 22, from Liverpool, until 2016. The Lisbon club have secured 50% of his pass, costing nothing for the moment; the transfer fee will be linked to appearances and performance.

* FC Porto have had a bid for striker Vágner Love turned down by CSKA Moscow.

* quotes of the day

"We have to win, and it has to be tomorrow." Sporting coach Domingos Paciência ahead of the game against Marítimo. Sporting drew their first two league games.

"Cheating at the Casino."
Headline of sports daily A Bola following FC Porto's 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in Mónaco; Porto claimed a penalty when the score was 1-0.

27/08/11

* FC Porto were by no means humiliated by Barcelona in the European Super Cup on Friday (highlights). Indeed, they made the Spanish champions look ordinary in the first half with their tight pressing and organised defence. But on 39 minutes, Guarín lost his way in midfield, tried to pass the ball back, it missed Sapunaru, the intended target, and fell for Messi, who could not believe his luck as he rounded Helton and stroked the ball into the empty net. As the game wore on, Porto's tactics began to take it out of them, and they couldn't manage to create much of a threat to the Barcelona goal, although Guarín tried to redeem himself with a shot from 25 metres that Valdés had to tip over. The last ten minutes of the game proved vital to the final result. On 81 minutes, Abidal fouled Guarín in the area, but none of the match officials noticed anything wrong. On 86, Rolando saw a second yellow for a foul on Messi. In the absence of the centre-back, Messi chipped a through ball for an unchallenged Fábregas, on as sub, to make it 2-0 two minutes from time. And in the dying minutes, Guarín saw a straight red for a foul on Masherano; it wasn't his night.
FC Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Rolando, Otamendi, Fucile, Souza (Fernando 77), Guarín, João Moutinho, Cristian Rodriguez (Varela 69), Hulk, Kléber (Belluschi 77).
FC Barcelona: Valdés, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Adriano (Busquets 63), Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez (Cesc Fabregas 80), David Villa (Alexis Sánchez 61), Messi.

(A note to UEFA: for a showcase event like this, choosing the Luís II stadium in Mónaco was an especially unfunny joke, with its 18,000 capacity and atrocious pitch that made life enormously difficult for the artists.)

* Coach Manuel Machado has left Vitória de Guimarães, to be replaced by caretaker Basílio Marques. Machado offered his resignation after Vitória were soundly beaten 0-4 at home by Atlético Madrid on Thursday. Director José Pereira also blamed the abuse Machado received from a minority of Vitória supporters for the resignation.

* Paulo Bento announced on Friday his Portugal squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Cyprus in Nicosia on 2 September. Returning are Rolando, Miguel Veloso, Paulo Machado and Eliseu. Out go Castro and Nuno Gomes.
Goalkeepers: Eduardo (Benfica), Quim (Sporting Braga), Rui Patrício (Sporting);
Defenders: Bruno Alves (Zenit), Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Rolando (FC Porto), João Pereira (Sporting), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Real Madrid), Sílvio (Atlético de Madrid), Eliseu (Málaga);
Midfielders: André Santos (Sporting), João Moutinho (FC Porto), Raul Meireles (Liverpool), Rúben Micael (Zaragoza), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Paulo Machado (Toulouse);
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Danny (Zenit), Hélder Postiga (Sporting), Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), Nani (Manchester United), Varela (FC Porto).

* Sporting Braga and Sporting have what look like, on paper, accessible opponents in the group stage of the Europa League, drawn on Friday:

Group D
SPORTING

Lazio (Italy)
FC Zurich (Switzerland)
Vaslui (Romania)

Fixtures:

(15 September)
Zurich-Sporting
(29 September)
Sporting-Lazio
(20 October)
Sporting-Vaslui
(3 November)
Vaslui-Sporting
(1 December)
Sporting-Zurich
(14 December)
Lazio-Sporting

Group H
SPORTING BRAGA
Club Bruges (Belgium)
Birmingham (England)
Maribor (Slovenia)

Fixtures:

(15 September)
Birmingham-Sporting Braga
(29 September)
Sporting Braga-Bruges
(20 October)
Maribor-Sporting Braga
(3 November)

Sporting Braga-Maribor
(30 November)
Sporting Braga-Birmingham
(15 December)
Bruges-Sporting Braga

* quotes of the day

"It's difficult to give a penalty against Barcelona." FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira after the European Super Cup defeat to the Spanish champions.

"The difference is that we have Messi." Barcelona defender Dani Alves.

"A month ago I heard a top director of Sporting say that they wouldn't be commenting on refereeing, but now there's no one who talks about the refereeing more than them." FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa.

26/08/11

* It was a night of mixed fortunes for the Portuguese clubs in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday, with two going through to the group phase and two going out.

* Last season's beaten finalists in the competition, Sporting Braga, made hard work of it at Swiss side Young Boys after the first leg had finished 0-0. Hélder Barbosa gave them a vital away goal on 20 minutes with a fantastic solo effort, leaving Young Boys to get two to win. They got one of them on the hour through Mayuka, but Ben Khalifa was sent off for slapping Quim, who was trying to delay the Swiss from taking the ball back to the centre circle. This should have been an opportunity for Braga to dominate, but they were very nebulous in their attacking play and nervous at the back, fearing the one goal that would have put Young Boys through. However, in a rare moment of attacking clarity, sub Guilherme fed Lima who scored. It gave Braga a bit of a cushion, although they were back on the tightrope ten minutes from time when Farnerud equalised from a free-kick, with Quim slow to get across. The last ten minutes were hairy for Braga, but they held out. (goals)
Young Boys: Wölfli, Zverotic, Affolter, Veskovac (Doubai 84), Spycher, Silberbauer, Alex Farnerud, Raimondi (Nuzzolo 46), Mayuka, Khalifa, Henri Bienvenu (Degen 59).
Sporting Braga: Quim, Baiano, Paulo Vinícius, Ewerton, Elderson, Djamal, Hugo Viana (Mossoró 77), Salino (Vinícius 86), Lima, Alan, Hélder Barbosa (Guilherme 61).

* In front of 24,028 at Alvalade XXI, a conspicuous five of whom were followers of Danish side Nordsjaelland, Sporting dominated but had the same old problem: scoring goals. Not helping was the excellent goalkeeper Hansen, but Sporting's shooting was also often weak or wayward. After a 0-0 result in the first leg, the tie was in the balance until the last quarter of an hour. On 77 minutes, sub Bojinov laid the ball off to André Santos who aimed through a sea of legs and past an unsighted Hansen. Then on 83, Evaldo thighed the ball in from a corner. Laudrup pegged one back for Nordsjaelland in added time, but there was no time left for them to go that bit further. It was Sporting's first win in official games under coach Domingos Paciência. (goals)
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Polga, Daniel Carriço, Evaldo, André Santos, Schaars (Rinaudo 70), Izmailov (Carrillo 85), Diego Capel, Yannick (Bojinov 62), Hélder Postiga.
Nordsjaelland: Jesper Hansen, Kildentoft, Okore, Bjelland, Gundelach, Stokholm, Parkhurst, Lawan (Andreas Laudrup 66), Christensen (Nichlas Rohde 83), Beckmann (Mikkelsen 62), Granskov.

* Nacional took a 0-0 draw to Birmingham City but by half time their dream of continuing was over with two goals from the impressive Nathan Redmond and Murphy. Nacional needed something special in the second half but never looked incisive enough to turn the score around, and Chris Wood added another for Birmingham late in the game to make it 3-0 (goals).
Birmingham: Myhill, Carr, Davie, Caldwell, Burke (Asante 88), Beausejour, Murphy, Adam Rooney, Spector, Redmond, Wood (Jervis 89).
Nacional: Elisson, Claudemir (Edgar Costa 55), Felipe Lopes, Danielson, Tomsevic, Luís Alberto, Daniel Candeias, Elizeu, Diego Barcelos (Mihelic 55), Mateus (Oliver 64), Rondon.

Vitória de Guimarães, 0-2 down from the first leg at Atlético Madrid, had the least chance of all four Portuguese sides, and they were doomed within two minutes, goalkeeper Nilson bringing Filipe Luís and Gabi scoring from the spot. It mean that Vitória needed to score four to go through on aggregate, and that was never going to happen, especially when Adrián López got another for the colchoneros on 18 minutes. López added yet another in the second half and Sálvio scored a fourth to pile the humiliation on Vitória (goals). They did at least welcome back an old favourite, veteran Nuno Assis, who has signed on a two-year contract.
V. Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, N'Diaye, El Adoua, Anderson, Pedro Mendes, Leonel Olímpio, João Alves (Targino 46), Barrientos (Soudani 66), Faouzi (Toscano 46), Edgar.
Atlético Madrid: Courtois, Sílvio, Perea, Miranda, Filipe Luís, Mario Suárez (Koke 67), Gabi, Tiago (Elias 46), Salvio, Reyes, Adrián (Juanfran 71).

* Sporting Braga and Sporting will be seeded in the draw for the group stage, which will take place in Mónaco on Friday.

* The draw took place on Thursday for the group phase of the Champions League, with Portugal's two representatives ending up in relatively straightforward groups. The games will be played between 13/14 September and 6/7 December.

Group C:
Manchester United (England)
BENFICA
Basel (Switzerland)
Otelul Galati (Romania)

Group G:
FC PORTO

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Zenit (Russia)
APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus)

* quotes of the day

"When he comes onto the pitch, it's certainly not to deliberately make life difficult for Sporting." Coach Domingos Paciência defends forward Yannick Djaló, the object of impatient whistling by Sporting fans.

"We didn't come to watch them play, we came to win." FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira ahead of the game against Barcelona for the European Super Cup.

"It's an honour to play FC Porto." Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

"My objective is to try to go down in the history of Spanish football." Atlético Madrid midfielder Rúben Micael, loaned out to Zaragoza.

25/08/11

* In what coach Jorge Jesus described as Benfica's "best game of the season", his team saw off Dutch side Twente with ease at the Luz, 3-1 (goals), in the play-off to enter the group phase of the Champions League; the first leg had finished 2-2. Benfica dominated throughout and could have scored a hatful in the first half but were very wasteful. Two minutes into the second half, however, Luisão headed a deep free-kick on and the excellent midfielder Witsel was sharp enough to be there to score with a crisp overhead kick. On the hour, the in-form Aimar sent a corner over from the left that Luisão met at the near post to head in. The game was more or less over at that point, but Benfica further underlined their dominance with a beautifully worked goal six minutes later, Aimar feeding Cardozo who clipped a delightful pass into the path of Witsel, the Belgian running on to beat Mihaylov with a neat shot. Twente, had just two real chances during the game, both saved brilliantly by Artur, and a late goal five minutes from time, the useful John crossing for Bryan Ruiz to head in. It was much too little, much too late against what was on the night an impressive Benfica side in all departments.
Benfica: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Alex Witsel, Gaitán (Bruno César 74), Aimar, Nolito (Matic 74), Cardozo (Saviola 84).
Twente: Nikolay Mihaylov, Tim Cornelisse, Douglas, Peter Wisgerhof, Dwight Tiendalli, de Jong, Brama (Denny Landzaat 76), Janssen (Emir Bajrmi 59), Bryan Ruiz, Marc Janko, Steven Barghuis (Ola John 59).

* Benfica join FC Porto in the last 32 at the group stage. Both clubs earn an automatic 7.2 million euros before another ball is kicked.

* quote of the day

"We didn't lose to just any team." Twente coach Co Adriaanse after his side go down 3-1 at Benfica.

24/08/11

* Benfica's Algerian midfielder Hassan Yebda, 27, has signed a three-year deal with Granada, newly promoted to the Spanish top flight. Yebda joins Carlos Martins and Júlio César, on loan from Benfica, and Jorge Ribeiro, who has terminated his contract with the Lisbon club.

* Australian left back Jason has terminated his contract with Paços de Ferreira.

* Central defender Bura has signed for Beira-Mar on a two-year deal from Paços de Ferreira.

* Fewer than 40% of the players used in the first two jornadas of the league are Portuguese. The biggest 'culprit' is Benfica with just one, Rúben Amorim. A total of 258 jogadores have been in action, but only 103 of those could play for Portugal. Only six clubs have had a majority of Portuguese players. (Académica, Beira-Mar, Feirense, Olhanense, Rio Ave and Vitória de Setúbal):

Beira-Mar (11 Portuguese players used from 16)
Feirense (11/17)
Académica (9/15)
Vitória de Setúbal (9/15)
Olhanense (9/17)
Rio Ave (9/17)
Gil Vicente (7/15)
Paços de Ferreira (7/17)
Sporting Braga (6/17)
Sporting (6/17)
Vitória de Guimarães (5/14)
F.C. Porto (4/16)
União de Leiria (4/16)
Nacional (3/14)
Marítimo (2/17)
Benfica (1/18)

(Source: Maisfutebol)

* quote of the day

"In 1987, I had a feeling we weren't going to stop there." FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa reminisces about the European Cup win over Bayern Munich.

23/08/11

* Olhanense and Vitória de Setúbal shared the points in an eventful 2-2 draw in the Algarve (goals). Vitória were two-up in the first half: on 18 minutes, Neca scored from the spot, and on 28 Pitbull delivered a cross-cum-shot from the left that was diverted into the goal by João Silva. Then on 44 minutes, Vitória midfielder José Pedro saw a straight red for a foul on Dady; the dismissal proved decisive. Five minutes into the second half, Wilson Eduardo pulled one back for Olhanense, and ten minutes later, Cauê headed in a free-kick to equalise. Olhanense hit the same post twice in the space of two minutes but that's the nearest they got to taking all three points. They have two points from their two games, Vitória four.
Olhanense: Fabiano Freitas, Jorge Gonçalves, Maurício (Djalmir 76), Mexer, Ismaily, Fernando Alexandre, Cauê, Nuno Piloto (Salvador Agra 34), Rui Duarte, Wilson Eduardo (Figueroa 76), Dady.
Vitória de Setúbal: Diego, Ney, Thiago Veras, Anderson do Ó, Miguelito, Hugo Leal, Neca, Zé Pedro, Jorge Gonçalves (Bruno Severino 79), João Silva (Igor 79), Pitbull (Bruno Amaro 46).

* Sporting Braga have signed giant Brazilian central defender Douglão, 25, from Greek club Kavala.

* Olhanense have signed midfielders Paulo Regula and Jander from Vitória de Setúbal and Brazilian club Juventude, respectively.

* Around 3,000 people were at Portela airport in Lisbon to welcome home the U-20 squad who were runners-up at the World Cup in Colombia. "We feel we did our duty," said coach Ilídio Vale.

* The referees have asked the Liga to intercede and get Sporting to retract the criticism the club has made in the last week about Portuguese refereeing. "We cannot tolerate pressure. The referees have shown that they're united and we ask the league to ensure that they have conditions to do what they love, which is referee games," said Luís Guilherme, president of the Portuguese Association of Football Referees (APAF) after a meeting held in Leiria involving 50 referees and assistants. They will wait until the weekend to decide whether to continue the boycott of Sporting's games; referee João Ferreira refused to officiate the club's match at Beira-Mar at the weekend.

* quotes of the day

"I was treated like a dog at Benfica." Ivory Coast defender Marc Zoro.

"On a normal day we'd have scored five." Olhanense coach Daúto Faquirá after his side draw 2-2 with Vitória de Setúbal.

"They didn't let us take the three points." Vitória's assistant coach Conhé criticises the match officials after the same game.

"Strange things happened." Vitória de Setúbal coach Bruno Ribeiro.

"It's important that Portuguese clubs invest in us. We're just as good or better than foreign players." Nélson Oliveira, voted second best player at the U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

22/08/11

* Sporting drew 0-0 for the second week in a row, this time at Beira-Mar (highlights). The game was shrouded in controversy following referee João Ferreira's refusal to officiate the game due to Sporting's questioning of refereeing standards. It was left to one Fenando Martins, pulled from the district leagues, to do the honours, which he performed well. Sporting can only blame their toothless attack for failing to win here. In the first half, they did not have a single shot on target, and in the second they were guilty of some terrible misses, most notably through Diego Capel, who had the goal at his mercy but allowed the Beira-Mar defence to clear on the line. Sporting coach Domingos Paciência made two substitutions on 35 minutes, bringing Matías Fernandez and Yannick Djaló off, then centre back Rodriguez was injured just before the break, leaving the side hamstrung for the second half.
Beira-Mar:
Rui Rego, Pedro Moreira, Yohan, Hugo, André Marques, Rui Sampaio, Nuno Coelho, Artur (Dominic 85), Nildo, Cristiano (Joãozinho 62), Zhang (Balboa 79).
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Polga, Rodriguez (Carriço 46), Evaldo, Rinaudo, Yannick Djaló (Izmailov 36), Schaars, Matias Fernandes (Hélder Postiga 36), Capel, Van Wolswinkel.

Unlikely leaders of the Liga are Académica, who notched up their second win, this time 1-0 at home to Rio Ave (goal). Éder met a Diogo Valente cross from the left on 17 minutes, and that goal proved enough.
Académica:
Peiser, João Dias, Berger, Abdoulaye, Hélder Cabral, Habib, Adrien (Flávio 81), Diogo Valente (Marinho 64), Sissoko (Rui Miguel 73), Danilo, Éder.
Rio Ave: Paulo Santos, Zé Gomes, Gaspar (Éder Monteiro 37), Jeferson, Tiago Pinto, Vitor Gomes, Wires, Saulo, Braga (Dinei 82), Pateiro (Kelvin 46), João Tomás.

* Sporting Braga beat Marítimo 2-0 at home (goals). The first half ended even, but two minutes into the second, Elderson dived to head in an Alan free-kick from deep on the right. It was from a free-kick again that Braga got their second on the hour. Lima, who looks to be on his way out of the club, shot from 25 metres, the ball hit a post, rebounded and went in off the back of Marítimo 'keeper Peçanha.
Sporting Braga: Quim, Baiano, Paulo Vinícius, Ewerton, Elderson (Nuno André Coelho 73), Djamal, Salino, Mossoró (Hugo Viana 67), Pizzi (Nuno Gomes 89), Alan, Lima.
Marítimo: Peçanha, Briguel, Robson, Roberge, Ruben Ferreira, Roberto Sousa, Rafael Miranda (Olberdam 83), Danilo Dias (Edi 84), Heldon (Ibrahim 67), Sami, Baba.

* Paços de Ferreira beat União de Leiria 2-1 (goals), União's second defeat. It was a bad-tempered game marked by 14 yellow cards and two reds (!), Ozéia for Paços at the end of the first half and Jô for União on 52 minutes. The game was settled in the last 20 minutes: Melgarejo put Paços in front on 70 minutes and Mitchel made it two a couple of minutes from the end. former Paços favourite Maykon pulled one back for Leiria in added time with a goal direct from a corner. The last few minutes were played out in dim natural light after a power cut.
Paços de Ferreira: António Filipe, Marcelo Tchê (Backar 68), Ozéia, Filipe Anunciação, Nuno Santos, André Leão, Luiz Carlos, Vítor (Eridson 46), Manuel José (Melgarejo 65), Luisinho, Michel.
União de Leiria: Luiz Carlos, Ivo Pinto, Diego Gaúcho, Edson, Maykon, Manuel Curto (Luís Leal 75), André Almeida, Tiago Terroso (Patrick 32), Djaniny, Jô, Elvis (Marcos Paulo 59).

* quotes of the day

"Nothing will make us retreat or shut up." Sporting director Carlo Freitas responds to criticism of the club's stand against the quality/impartiality of refereeing in Portugal.

"We gave them a 45-minute head start." Sporting coach Domingos Paciência after the 0-0 draw at Beira-Mar.

"It was a shame we couldn't make more substitutions." Domingos, dissatisfied with his team's performance.

21/08/11

* Portugal lost the Final of the U-20 World Cup 2-3 to Brazil in Bogotá early on Sunday morning, Portuguese time (goals). They were 0-1 down on five minutes, an Óscar free kick from 35 metres headed into his own goal by Sérgio Oliveira, but came back four minutes later, Nélson Oliveira making the line on the right and cutting the ball back for Alex to tap in from close range. On the hour, it was Nélson Oiveira himself who broke down the right and shot in from a narrow angle. Portugal had the best defence in the tournament coming into the game, but two mistakes by the normally reliable Mika lost them the game. Twelve minutes from the end, Dudu crossed from the left and Mika could only push the ball out to Óscar who scored from five metres. the game went into extra time, and Portugal had a superb chance to take the lead again when sub Caetano was put through, but his attempt to chip Brazil goalkeeper Gabriel was weak and low, and the chance was gone. Eight minutes from the end of extra time, that man again, Óscar, sent over a cross-cum-shot that Mika misjudged and it sailed into the goal.
Brazil Gabriel, Danilo, Bruno Uvini, Juan Jesus, Gabriel Silva (Allan 46), Fernando, Casemiro, Willian (Negueba 46), Óscar, Coutinho (Dudu 62), Henrique.
Portugal Mika, Cédric (Júlio Alves 57), Nuno Reis, Roderick, Mário Rui, Danilo, Pelé, Saná (Dias 100), Sérgio Oliveira, Alex (Caetano 82), Nélson Oliveira.

* Mexico came third after beating France 3-1.

* Benfica won for the first time in the Liga, beating Feirense 3-1 (goals) in front of 35,856 at the Luz, but the scoreline belied the difficulty Benfica had in finishing off the newly-promoted side. Nolito scored on 14 minutes to put Benfica in the lead; it was his fifth goal in five consecutive official games, equalling Eusébio's record. Feirense were a different side in the second half, causing Benfica many more problems, notably through the excellent Ludovic, and they drew level on 53 minutes with a goal from Rabiola. But on 75 minutes, Maxi Pereira went on a typical run down the right, made the line and crossed to give Óscar Cadrozo the simplest of chances. Feirense had chances to score again, but it was sub Bruno César who did in added time, beating three before shooting from the edge of the box.
Benfica: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Capdevila, Javi Garcia, Gaitán (Witsel 60), Aimar (Bruno César 77), Nolito (Enzo Pérez 83), Saviola, Cardozo.
Feirense: Paulo Lopes, Pedro Queirós, Fernando Varela, Luciano, Serginho (Stopira 80), Sténio Santos, Siaka Bamba (Mika 73), Diogo Cunha, Diogo Rosado, Ludovic, Rabiola (Jonathan 70).

* quotes of the day

"The fans have to like the players we have." Benfica coach Jorge Jesus defends Paraguayan striker Óscar Cardozo from benfiquista whistling.

"I'm not going to descend to that level." Jorge Jesus refuses to enter into a ping-pong match with FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira, who had criticised his Benfica counterpart's comments on refereeing decisions in Porto's game against Vitória de Guimarães.

"Perhaps we deserved to win, but unfortunately, there's no such thing as a moral victory." Feirense coach Quim Machado after his team loses 1-3 at Benfica.

"Leaving Porto is not a step backwards." Rúben Micael, signed by Atlético Madrid but to be loaned to Zaragoza.

20/08/11

* FC Porto beat Gil Vicente 3-1 (goals) in front of 43,912 at the Dragão in Porto to open the 2nd jornada of the Liga. Gil had snatched a point from Benfica last weekend and were off to a great start this. On four minutes, Sapunaru lost the ball, João Vilela was through and Otamendi had to foul him to stop him. Gil wanted a red card, but Otamendi stayed on. João Vilela dusted himself off and put Gil in front from the spot. It took just seven minutes for Porto to react, Vilela now becoming the villain by bringing Hulk down in the box (a foul contested by Gil). This time Hulk dusted himself off and scored from the spot. On 17 minutes, Sapanaru made up for his earlier mistake by heading Porto in front from a corner. While the difference was still just one goal, Gil stood a chance, but five minutes into the second half, Hulk cracked in a free-kick from just outside the box, and the game was as good as over.
FC Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Otamendi, Rolando, Fucile, Souza, Guarín (Belluschi 72), Moutinho, Hulk, Kléber (Walter 80), Varela (Djalma 72).
Gil Vicente: Adriano, Éder, Sandro, Cláudio, Caiçara, João Vilela (Tó Barbosa 80) Luís Manuel (Richardson 52), André Cunha, Hugo Vieira, Luís Carlos (Pedro Moreira 66), Laionel.

* Referee João Ferreira has refused to officiate the Beira-Mar v Sporting match this weekend citing pressure from Sporting in the media.

* Sporting Braga have signed two players on loan: Samson from Atlético Madrid and Carlão from Kashima Antlers. The latter made his name in Portugal with União de Leiria.

* quotes of the day

"I'm no thief and I've done nothing wrong." Ex-FC Porto striker Radamel Falcao, now of Atlético Madrid.

"FC Porto won with a very dubious goal from a penalty that, in my opinion, didn't exist." Benfica coach Jorge Jesus comments on Porto's win over Gil Vicente.

"Jorge Jesus is egocentric and only looks at his own belly-button." FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira responds to the Benfica coach.

"I'm not going to tolerate the lack of impartiality shown in Sporting's games." Sporting president Godinho Lopes.

19/08/11

* Sporting could only draw 0-0 with Nordsjaelland on their travels to Denmark in the play-off for qualification to the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday. Postiga especially was wasteful in front of goal.
Nordsjaelland: Jesper Hansen, Parkhurst, Kildentoft, Bjelland, Okore, Enoch Adu, Stokholm, Beckmann, Christense, Lawan (Andreas Laudrup 75), Granskov (Rodhe 82).
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Rodríguez, Polga, Evaldo, Rinaudo, André Santos (Matías Fernández 60), Schaars, Jeffren (Izmailov 46), Postiga (Rubio 68), Yannick.

* Nacional started at full gas against Birmingham in Madeira, but they could not take advantage of their early pressure. Mateus was guilty of a missed opportunity in front of goal when the ball was taken off his foot, but after that opening, Birmingham settled and had the better of the play. They hit the woodwork through Caldwell and Wood, twice, but the game finished 0-0.
Nacional: Elisson, Nuno Pinto, Danielson, Felipe Lopes, João Aurélio, Luís Alberto, Rene Mihelic (Diego Barcellos 46), Skolnik (Elizeu 46), Edgar Costa (Candeias 68), Mário Rondon, Mateus.
Birmingham: Myhil, Carr, Davies, Cadwell, Ridgewell, Beausejour, Spector, Murphy, Burke, Wood, Redmond.

* Sporting Braga v Young Boys played out yet another goal-less draw in front of 12,458 at the AXA Stadium, although Braga forward Alan had a good chance in the second half stopped by Ivan Benito, while up the other end, Quim kept out an effort by Affolter. Young Boys' central defender Alain Nef was sent off on 71 minutes, but Braga could not take advantage of the numerical superiority.
Sporting de Braga: Quim, Baiano, Paulo Vinícius, Ewerton, Imourou (Elderson 23), Djamal, Hugo Viana, Salino, Mossoró (Hélder Barbosa 70), Alan, Nuno Gomes (Meyong 70).
Young Boys: Ivan Benito, Zverotic, Alain Nef, Veskovac, Spycher, Silberbauer, Alex Farnerud (Doubai 58), Mário Raimondi (Mayuka 62), Raphael Nuzzolo, Khalifa, Henri Bienvenu (Affolter 78).

* A team that did capitalise on numerical superiority were Atlético Madrid in their game against Vitória de Guimarães. Vitória were not creating much danger, but they were keeping Atlético at bay until the 64th minute when João Paulo lunged at Adrián López in midfield and was sent off. Paradoxically, immediately after that incident, Vitória came closest to scoring on a counter attack, Targino's shot coming back off a post. But then Vitória's world collapsed as sub Elías scored twice to leave the score at 2-0 and give Atlético a good chance to go through.
Atlético Madrid: Joel, Sílvio, Perea, Dominguez, Filipe Luís, Mário Suarez (Juanfran 69), Gabi, Tiago, Salvio (Elias 65), Reyes, Adrián.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, N'Diaye, João Paulo, Anderson, El Adoua, Pedro Mendes, Leonel Olímpio (João Alves 74) Paulo Sérgio (Faouzi 58), Barrientos (Targino 46), Toscano.

* FC Porto striker Radamel Falcao and midfielder Rúben Micael are set to join Atlético Madrid for a total of 45 million euros (40 + 5), subject to medicals. Rúben Micael may be loaned out, possibly to Zaragoza.

* Also leaving the Dragão may be midfielder João Moutinho and Uruguayan full back Álvaro Pereira, who Chelsea are prepared to pay 55 million for (30 + 25), according to the British press.

* Sporting's Montenegrin winger Simon Vukcevic looks to be on his way to Blackburn Rovers for a fee of between 2.5 and 3.5 million euros.

* In his ninth season at the club, Brazilian defender Luisão will play his 300th official game for Benfica at the weekend against Feirense. He is the foreigner with most appearances in the club's history.

* Portugal will play Brazil in the U-20 World Cup Final, to be played in Bogotá, Colombia on Sunday morning at 02.00 (Portuguese time). Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 in the semi-final. The Final is a repeat of Lisbon 1991 which Portugal, including Luís Figo and Rui Costa, won on penalties.

* quotes of the day

"Bearing in mind what I have at my disposal at this stage, I'm satisfied." Vitória de Guimarães coach Manuel Machado after his side lost 0-2 at Atlético Madrid.

"We're going to the Dragão to play eye-to-eye." Gil Vicente coach Paulo Alves ahead of the game at FC Porto.

18/08/11

* After Riyadh in 198 and Lisbon in 1991, Portugal will be in the Final of the U-20 World Cup in Bogotá on Saturday. They beat France 2-0 (goals) in the semi-final in front of 40,598 at the Estádio Atanásio Girardot in Medellin, despite having only 40% possession. But their defensive organisation was such that France rarely got near the goal, and when they did, there was always a lunging leg or body, or Mika's safe hands, to keep the sixth clean sheet of the tournament; indeed, Portugal have conceded no goals whatsoever, although they have scored only five in open play.
The goals came in the first half.
Danilo headed in at the back post from a Mário Rui corner on the right on nine minutes, but the crucial second goal came five minutes before half time after Koulibaly brought Danilo down in the box, and Nélson Oliveira smacked home the spot kick.
In the second half, Portugal were content to manage the lead, and France became increasingly frustrated and desperate as they continued to hit up against the brick wall that was the Portuguese defence. France may have had the more talented players and more experience, but on the night, it was Portugal's superior organisation and spirit that won the day and a chance at glory.
Portugal : Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Cedric, Mário Rui, Pelé, Júlio Alves, Danilo, Sergio Oliveira (Tiago Ferreira 89), Nelson Oliveira (Rafael Lopes 74), Alex (Luís Martins 69).
France: Ligali, Nego, Fontaine, Koulibaly, Kolodziejcaz (Lejeune 73), Grenier, Fofana, Coquelin, Sunu (Kaluta 61), Griezmann, Bakambu (Lacazette 52).

Portugal will play either Brazil or Mexico in the Final; if it's against Brazil, it will be a repeat of the 1991 Final at Benfica's Luz Stadium in Lisbon.

The road to the Final
Group B
v Uruguay, 0-0
v Cameroon, 1-0
v New Zealand, 1-0
Last 16
v Guatemala, 1-0
Quarter-final
v Argentina, 0-0 (5-4 on penalties)
Semi-final
v France, 2-0

* Benfica goalkeeper Júlio César has moved to Spanish club Granada on loan, joining his ex-team-mates Carlos Martins (loan) and Maniche's brother Jorge Ribeiro (definitive). Benfica have also loaned Nuno Coelho, signed from Académica, to Beira-Mar.

* Senegalese winger Christian Atsu, 19, has joined Rio Ave on loan from FC Porto.

* Vitória de Guimarães have loaned Brazilian striker William to Paços de Ferreira, where he served from 2007 to 2010.

* quote of the day

"This is the courageous generation." Coach Ilídio Vale compares the U-20 squad that is through to the World Cup Final with their 'golden' predecessors.

17/08/11

* Benfica drew 2-2 (goals) with Twente in Holland on Tuesday in the first leg of the play-off for access to the group stage of the competition. The Portuguese team started strongly but were behind against the run of play on six minutes, Luuk de Jong given time and space to take aim and fire home from 25 metres. On 21, Cardozo was given a similar opportunity and curled his shot in, also from 25 metres. On 35, Benfica were in front with a superb one-touch team effort that finished with Witsel unselfishly squaring the ball for Nolito to knock into an empty net. The adverse scoreline drew Twente out and gave Benfica the space and several opportunities to extend their lead, but they lacked incisiveness in the last third. At the other end, Artur was performing minor miracles to keep Twente out, and keep them out he did until the 80th minute when Bryan Ruíz rose at the back post and appeared to lean on Emerson before heading in. The two away goals will be valuable for the return to the Luz, but Benfica might have brought an even better result back from Enschede.
Twente: Mihaylov, Cornelisse, Wisgerhof, Douglas, Tiendalli (Buysse 75), Landzaat (Janko 46), Brama, Janssen, Ruiz, De Jong, Bajrami (Ola John 58).
Benfica: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Gaitán (Ruben Amorim 56), Aimar (Saviola 64), Nolito, Cardozo.

* FC Porto have confirmed the signing of French central defender Eliaquim Mangala (6.5 million euros) and Belgian midfielder Steven Defour (6 million), both from standard Liège and both on 5-year contracts.

* FC Porto midfielder André Castro has been loaned to Sporting Gijon for a season. Castro was on loan at the Spanish club for the second half of last season. He was called up to the Portugal Senior squad recently for the friendly against Luxembourg.

* Former Portugal international 'keeper Ricardo has joined Vitória de Setúbal on a one-year contract. "Vitória were always my first choice, despite receiving other invitations", he said.

* Académica have signed Cape-Verdean left back Nivaldo, 23, on a three-year contract.

* Gil Vicente won 1-0 in the official presentation of Limianos, new signing André Nunes the first-half scorer. The game was halted on 75 minutes due to a power cut, and then abandoned.

* Portugal's last Euro 2012 group game at home, against Iceland on 7 October, will be played at FC Porto's Dragão stadium. Before that, Portugal have to travel to Cyprus on 2 September. The final group game is in Denmark on 11 October.

* quotes of the day

"Cardozo is goals." Benfica coach Jorge Jesus after the Champions League draw with Twente (2-2) in which the Paraguayan striker scored a belter.

"No one wins or loses on their own." Modest Benfica goalkeeper Artur after his fantastic display in the same game.

"Benfica is an enormous step in my career" Argentinian central defender Ezéquiel Garay.

"The third Golden Generation of Portuguese football is on its way." U-20 international striker Nélson Oliveira.

"We're clearly candidates for 4th spot in the league." Nacional president Rui Alves.

16/08/11

* Former FC Porto captain Pedro Emanuel got off to a great start as coach of Académica as his side beat União de Leiria 1-2 (goals) on Monday, closing the first jornada of the Liga. Hélder Cabral fouled Jô in the area on 24 minutes, Bruno Morães converting for União. And it stayed 1-0 until the last quarter of an hour. Danilo fired in from the edge of the box to equalise, and ten minutes from time, Marinho stole the ball from Hugo Alcântara, it fell to Éder and the tall striker forced the ball in.

* FC Porto have informed the Portuguese Stock Exchange that they have an agreement in principle to buy the passes of Standard Liège players Steven Defour and Mangala. The Belgian press is talking of a total fee of 13 million euros for the two.

* Equatorial Guinean forward Javier Balboa has terminated his contract with Benfica and is set to join Beira-Mar. Balboa joined Benfica from Real Madrid for four million euros when Quique Flores was coach at the Luz, but he has never established himself in the first team.

* quote of the day

"União de Leiria are going to surprise a lot of people." União's Brazilian forward Jô, after his side lost 1-2 at home to Académica.

15/08/11

* After defeating them in last weekend's SuperTaça (and last season's Taça de Portugal) FC Porto made it a hat-trick by beating Vitória de Guimarães 1-0 on Sunday in the opening game of their defence of the title (highlights). The scrappy match, played on an atrocious Guimarães pitch that cut up very badly, was decided just before the break. Leonel Olímpio was adjudged to have fouled Kléber in the box and Hulk scored from the spot; although Nilson got to the ball and pushed it against the post, it span along the line and in.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, NDiaye, João Paulo, Anderson Santana, Leonel Olímpio (João Alves 66), El Adoua, Faouzi (Saucedo 66), Barrientos, Targino (Paulo Sérgio 66), Toscano.
FC Porto: Helton, Sapunaru, Otamendi, Rolando, Fucile, Souza, Moutinho, Guarín (Ruben Micael 62), Hulk, Kléber (Falcao 68), Varela (Belluschi 74).

* The only other Liga club to win so far was Vitória de Setúbal, 2-1 at home to Paços de Ferreira (goals). Luizinho put Paços in front coming up to half time, capitalising on an Anderson do Ô mistake, but the defender redeemed himself with the equaliser on 53 minutes. A minute later, Paços were reduced to ten men when Cohene was sent off for a second yellow. The visitors resisted the mounting Vitória pressure until added time when João Silva headed home a Pitbull cross.

* Newly-promoted Feirense hosted Nacional in the Estadio de Aveiro (normal home of Beira-Mar) because their stadium is being upgraded; it ended 0-0 (highlights). Carlos Fonseca of Feirense was sent off on the hour.

* Coincidentally, Beira-Mar travelled to Madeira to meet Nacional's neighbours, Marítimo, and the game also ended 0-0, Beira-Mar's 'keeper Rui Rego proving to be man-of-the-match (highlights).

* FC Porto striker Radamel Falcao has admitted that he wants to leave the club. After the 1-0 win at Vitória de Guimarães, where he came on as sub and later missed a sitter, he said: "All players think about playing in the most important leagues, lke the Spanish, Italian or English ones. Anyone who says differently is lying. [...] Atlético de Madrid [who have shown an interest in the Colombian striker] have great fans and it would be a great opportunity for my career. [...] It's the right moment to go elsewhere."

* Gil Vicente have signed Brazilian central defender Halisson, 26, from Santo André on a three-year deal.

* France beat Nigeria 3-2 after extra time and will meet Portugal in the semi-finals of the U-20 World Cup in Colombia, to be played on Wednesday.

* quote of the day

"I ask all participants, and I mean all, to be more serious." Vitória de Guimarães coach Manuel Machado takes an early dig at referees after his side lose to a Porto penalty.

14/08/11

* Sporting copied their Lisbon rivals Benfica by dropping points at home in their first game of the season. They dominated Olhanense for most of the match in front of 33,248 at Alvalade XXI but could manage no more than a 1-1 draw (goals). They were behind on the half hour, Wilson Eduardo, who Sporting had loaned to the Algarve club, unleashing a swinging shot from 25 metres. In the second half, Postiga had the ball in the net but was ruled (wrongly) offside, and it was left to Russian sub Izmailov to equalise: his shot from ten metres was blocked by Fabiano but he had the presence of mind to be first to the rebound and tuck it in.
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Anderson Polga, Rodríguez, Evaldo, Rinaudo, André Santos (Izmailov 46), Schaars, Jeffrén (Diego Rubio 55), Hélder Postiga, Yannick (Diego Capel 63).
Olhanense: Fabiano Freitas, João Gonçalves, Maurício, Mexer, Ismaily (André Micael 86), Fernando Alexandre, Nuno Piloto, Cauê, Ivanildo (Salvador Agra 75), Dady, Wilson Eduardo (Vítor Vinha 63).

* Sporting Braga came up against a brick wall at Rio Ave and left empty-handed, 0-0 the final score (highlights). Rio Ave striker João Tomás, who criticised national team coach Paulo Bento after the game for not selecting him, had a goal disallowed for a narrow off-side. Braga started with just two players from last season, Hugo Viana and Alan, while Rio Ave started with just one new signing, Pateiro.
Rio Ave Paulo Santos, Zé Gomes (Rafinha 80), Gaspar, Jeferson, Tiago Pinto, Wires, Vítor Gomes, Braga (Jorginho 65), Saulo, João Tomás, Pateiro (Tiago Costa 59).
Sp. Braga Quim, Baiano, Paulo Vinicius, Ewerton, Imorou, Djamal, Pizzi (Hélder Barbosa 85), Hugo Viana, Alan, Nuno Gomes (Mossoró 65), Lima (Meyong 75).

* Portugal beat Argentina on penalties in the U-20 World Cup in Colombia to go through to the semi-finals, where they will meet France or Nigeria. The game finished 0-0 after extra time, and so it went to penalties where Portugal trailed 1-3 at one point but recovered to take it to sudden death, where a save by 'keeper Mika from Tagliafico gave Portugal the chance to dream; Portugal won the World Cup at this level in 1989 (Riyadh) and 1991 (Lisbon), with players like Figo, Rui Costa, João Pinto and Vítor Baía in the sides.
Portugal: Mika, Cedric, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Luis Martins (Tiago Ferreira 120), Danilo, Pele, Júlio Alves (Saná 69), Sérgio Oliveira, Caetano (Rafael Lopes 94), Nelson Oliveira.
Argentina: Andrada, Nervo, Gonzalez Pirez, Galeano, Tagliafico, Roberto Pereyra (Vuletich 98), Battaglia, Laba, Luque (Ruiz 81), Lamela, Facundo Ferreyra (Iturbe 60).

Penalties
Portugal 1-0, Nuno Reis
Argentina 1-1, Lamela
P 1-1, Danilo (saved)
A 1-2, Iturbe
P 1-2, Roderick (saved)
A1-3, Nervo
P 2-3, Rafael Lopes
A 2-3, Gonzalez Pirez (saved)
P 3-3, Nelson Oliveira
A 3-3, Ruiz (missed)
P 4-3, Tiago Ferreira
A 4-4, Vuletich
P 5-4, Sérgio Oliveira
A 5-4, Tagliafico (saved)

* According to national daily Correio da Manhã, Benfica will be willing to renew their sponsorship contract with Portugal Telecom … if the latter drops its sponsorship of rivals FC Porto and Sporting.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular sportsperson on earth, if numbers of followers on Facebook (32,419,832) and Twitter (3,732,059) are anything to go by. He also tops the viewings list on YouTube (4,692,607). In general he is 13th in the word on a list headed by Lady Gaga. Benfica is the most popular Portuguese club, with 749,658 followers on Facebook. [A Bola]

* quotes of the day

"The victory was down to belief." Portugal coach Ilídio Vale after knocking out Argentina in the U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

"The goal fell from heaven." Olhanense coach Daúto Faquirá, whose side drew 1-1 at Sporting.

"[National team coach Paulo Bento] showed a lack of courage in not calling up the best Portuguese striker." Rio Ave striker João Tomás, top Portuguese scorer in the Liga last season with 15 goals, on being left out of the squad for Portugal's midweek game against Luxembourg.

* Pre-season games (source: Maisfutebol):
06/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Brasov, 4-0
FC Porto-Tourizense, 7-0
09/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Penafiel, 3-0
Beira-Mar-Brasov, 1-0
Freamunde-Sporting Braga, 1-2
Freiburg-Benfica, 1-9
Rio Ave-Players' Union, 3-0
10/07
FC Gutersloh-FC Porto, 1-10
Servette-Benfica, 1-1
11/07
Olhanense-Crawley Town, 2-1
Sporting Braga-Brasov, 2-0
Dijon-Benfica, 2-1
13/07
Vitória de Guimarães -Beira-Mar, 4-1
Arouca-Feirense, 1-1
Sporting-FC Presikhaaf, 8-0
Desportivo das Aves-Rio Ave, 2-0
Vitória de Setúbal-Iberos CF, 7-1
14/07
Belenenses-U. Leiria, 0-0
Seia-Paços de Ferreira, 0-8
15/07
Gil Vicente-Moreirense, 0-0 (3-4, pens)
Benfica-PSG (Guadiana Tournament), 3-1
Vitória de Guimarães-Rio Ave, 0-1
16/07
Paços de Ferreira-Guarda, 8-0
Académica-Tourizense, 2-0
Telstar-Sporting, 0-3
Borussia Mönchengladbach-FC Porto, 0-0
Arouca-Beira-Mar, 1-0
Leixões-Sporting Braga, 2-2
Feirense-Santa Clara, 0-2
Vitória de Setúbal-Celta B, 2-1
Freamunde-Gil Vicente, 1-1 (1-3 pens)
17/07
Benfica-Anderlecht (Guadiana Tournament), 2-2
F.C. Porto-SC Verl, 3-1
18/07
Sporting-Ankaraguçu, 3-0
19/07
Sporting Braga-Moreirense, 4-1
20/07
Benfica-Toulouse, 1-0
Desportivo das Aves-Vitória de Guimarães, 1-0
Leixões-Feirense, 1-0
Santa Clara-Beira-Mar, 0-1
Oliveirense-Gil Vicente, 0-1
Belenenses-Olhanense, 1-0
Naval-União de Leiria, 0-1
Sporting de Covilhã-Vitória de Setúbal, 0-0
Académica-Arouca, 2-3
Paços de Ferreira-Players' Union, 5-1
21/07
Rio Ave-FC Porto, 1-3
22/07
Celta Vigo-Sporting Braga, 2-1
Académica-Santa Clara, 0-2
23/07
Moreirense-Paços Ferreira, 2-0
Naval-Beira-Mar, 0-0
Sporting de Covilhã-Gil Vicente, 0-1
Penafiel-Rio Ave, 2-0
Sporting Braga-Desportivo das Aves, 2-0
Oliveira do Hospital-União de Leiria, 1-8
Olhanense-Brighton, 2-1
Belenenses-Atlético, 2-2
Académica-Vitória de Guimarães, 1-1
Leixões-Marítimo, 1-2 (abandoned)
Juventus-Sporting, 1-2
24/07
Feirense-Marítimo, 0-0
FC Porto-Peñarol, 3-0
Vitória de Guimarães-Santa Clara, 0-3
26/07
Rio Ave-Marítimo, 0-0
Gil Vicente-Sporting Braga, 0-3
27/07
Atlético-Vitória de Setúbal, 3-1
Penafiel-Paços Ferreira, 1-2
Beira-Mar-Académica, 0-3
Oliveirense-União de Leiria, 2-0
28/07
Feirense-Marítimo,0-2
30/07
Gil Vicente-Tirsense, 4-0
Paços Ferreira-Marítimo, 2-1
Beira-Mar-Celta de Vigo, 0-0
Olhanense-Vitória de Setúbal, 1-1
Académica-Feirense, 4-2
Sporting-Valência, 0-3
31/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Marítimo, 1-1
Lyon-FC Porto, 2-1
União de Leiria-Olhanense, 0-0
03/08
Sporting Braga-Trofense, 4-0
Varzim-Gil Vicente, 0-0
Oliveirense-Paços Ferreira, 0-1
Feirense-Rio Ave, 0-0
Académica-Beira-Mar, 1-1
União de Leiria-Sertanense, 7-0
04/08
Ayamonte-Olhanense, 0-6
05/08
Paços de Ferreira-Sporting Gijón, 3-0
Vitória de Setúbal-Académica, 1-0
Sporting-Málaga, 1-3 (Ramón Carranza Trophy)
06/08
Benfica-Arsenal, 2-1
Sporting Braga-Aston Villa, 1-1
Feirense-Tirsense, 1-0
Rio Ave-Gil Vicente, 0-0
Sporting 2-2 Udinese (9-10 pens) (Ramón Carranza Trophy)
07/08
Farense 3-2 Olhanense
09/08
Olímpico de Montijo 2-5 Vitória de Setúbal
Dia 10
Desportivo de Chaves-Vitória de Guimarães, 1-1

13/08/11

* Benfica have not won their opening league game since 2004/05, and this time they opened with a 2-2 draw (goals) in front of a full-house 12,000 at newly promoted Gil Vicente. Benfica were 2-0 up within 20 minutes. On seven, Rúben Amorim, Benfica's token Portuguese player, found Nolito on the left (in what looked like an offside position), and the Spanish forward cut inside and side-footed past Adriano. On 20, Jara made the line on the right and cut the ball back low for Saviola to knock in. It seemed that Gil might fold, although they had had most of the play up to that point, but they got a vital goal before half-time, Hugo Vieira cracking the ball in from an acute angle at the back post after Rúben Amorim had failed to cut out a cross from the right. In the second half, it was ironically Benfica that had most of the play but Gil who were more pragmatic, and 15 minutes from time, in a moment of inspiration, Laionel sent a shot dipping over Artur from 25 metres out to equalise. The Brazilian forward had scored in the first game last year for Académica against … Benfica.
The teams line up:
Gil Vicente:
Adriano Facchini, Éder Sciola, Sandro, Cláudio, Caiçara, Luís Manuel, André Cunha, João Vilela, Laionel (Pedro Moreira 83) Hugo Vieira (Paulão 90), Luís Carlos (Tó Barbosa 68).
Benfica: Artur Moraes, Ruben Amorim, Jardel, Garay, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Gaitán (Enzo Pérez 60), Aimar (Witsel 46), Nolito, Saviola, Jara.

* Portuguese international midfielder Carlos Martins, 29, has been loaned by Benfica to Spanish club Granada, who will pay all of his salaries in the deal. He is contracted to Benfica until 2013. Martins has already played in Spain, for Recreativo de Huelva.

* American international forward Freddy Adu has terminated his contract with Benfica and returned to his country to represent Philadelphia Union. Adu arrived at Benfica in 2007 but never established himself at the club and was loaned out in subsequent seasons to Mónaco, Belenenses, Aris Salonika and Rizespor of Turkey.

* Cameroonian forward Serge Ngal, 25, has terminated his contract with União de Leiria citing personal problems.

* Cristiano Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes was involved in a car accident outside Madrid on Thursday night. The car, driven by one of Cristiano Ronaldo's brothers-in-law, flipped on a curve. Mendes received treatment in hospital but was released. The brother-in-law, Edgar Caires, and the partner of Cristiano Ronaldo's mother, José Andrade, were hospitalised with fractures.

* quotes of the day

"We want to be champions." Benfica's Rúben Amorim after Benfica's opening game of the Liga, a 2-2 draw at Gil Vicente.

"It was a draw that tasted of defeat." Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.

"We've got the whole championship ahead of us." Benfica's Javier Saviola.

"With the renewal of the squad, it's natural that Sporting are going to experience some difficulties." Sporting coach Domingos Paciência.

"We ask our fans for a bit of support and a bit of time." Sporting director Luís Duque.

"Are we favourites for the title? I accept that people put us in that position, but we'll have to be stronger than last season." FC Porto coach Vítor Pereira.

11/08/11

* Portugal beat Luxembourg 5-0 (goals) in front of 21,283 at the Estádio do Algarve on Wednesday in a friendly to prepare for the Euro 2012 qualifying game against Cyprus on 2 September. Portugal took eight minutes to put in a shot, Danny's effort from just outside the box drifting wide, and it wasn't until 26 minutes in that Postiga opened the scoring. Four more were added by Cristiano Ronaldo (44), Fábio Coentrão (47), and Hugo Almeida (59 and 73). Almeida's first goal was a stunning snap shot from 25 metres that dipped and swerved low past Joubert's left hand. Portugal's second half, with the team looking looser, was more accomplished than the first, in which Luxembourg defended well and Portugal struggled to get a rhythm going.
The teams lined up:
Portugal:
Rui Patrício, João Pereira (Sílvio 65), Pepe (Ricardo Carvalho 46), Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, André Santos, João Moutinho (Raul Meireles 46), Ruben Micael, Danny (Silvestre Varela 58) Hélder Postiga (Hugo Almeida 46), Cristiano Ronaldo (Nani 46). Luxembourg: Joubert, Schnell, Blaise, Hoffmann, Mutsch, Payal, Peters (Joel Pedro 70), Bettmer, Da Mota (Kitenga 58), Laterza (Janisch 79), Leweck (Gerson 53).

* Vitória de Guimarães drew 1-1 at Desportivo de Chaves in the presentation of the latter's squad to their fans. Gustavo scored from the spot to give Chaves the lead on 25 minutes, and Tony equalised, also from the spot, five minutes from time.

* FC Porto's Brazilian forward Kelvin, 18, who cost 2.5 million euros from Paraná, will be loaned to Rio Ave for a season.

* Forward Bebé of Besiktas will be out of action for six months with a knee injury sustained in Tuesday's Portugal U-21 friendly against Slovakia, which was drawn 1-1.

* quote of the day

"It's always the same old story!" An exasperated Hugo Almeida, the Besiktas striker, again denies any contact from Benfica.

10/08/11

* Portugal U-20s have qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Colombia after beating Guatemala 1-0 with a penalty by Nélson Oliveira on seven minutes (goal). Although they had 60% possession, Portugal put in a pale display and almost paid the price for not killing off Guatemala, who came close on several occasions with long shots and hit the post in the dying minutes through a Kevin Morales free kick from 35 metres. Portugal, who have scored just three goals in four matches, will have to raise their game in the quarters against an Argentina side that beat Egypt 2-1.
Portugal lined up:
Mika, Cédric, Nuno Reis, Tiago Ferreira, Mário Rui, Danilo, Dias (Pelé 46), Sérgio Oliveira, Caetano (Roderick 90), Alex (Rafael Lopes 86), Nélson Oliveira.

* Portugal U-21s drew 1-1 (goals) with Slovakia in Estoril in a game to prepare for the Euro 2013 qualifying meeting with Moldova on 1 September. Simonek took advantage of a mistake by Central defender Pedro Mendes early in the second half to put Slovakia in front, with Rui Fonte equalising on 64 minutes from a Josué free kick. Besiktas forward Bebé, on as sub, suffered a bad knee injury in the second half.
The teams lined up:
Portugal:
Anthony Lopes (Cristiano 63), Dani (Ivo Pinto 78), Pedro Mendes (Vítor Bastos 78), João Pereira, Rúben (André Pires 64), André Almeida, André Martins, Diogo Rosado (Ricardo Martins 64), Josué (Leandro Pimenta 78), Wilson Eduardo (Bebé 46, Abel Camará 58), Rui Fonte.
Slovakia: Pavol Bajza (Matej Rakovan 38), Lukas Pauschek (Marek Hlinka 75), Lukas Stetina, Marian Kolmokov, Matus Conka, Juraj Vavrik (Peter Mazan 75), Jan Gregus (Robert Pillar 88), Robert Valenta (Kristian Kolcak 75), Samuel Stefanik (Milan Ferencik 64), Milan Lalkovic (Akos Szarka 64), Arnold Simonek.

* Vitória de Setúbal won their last pre-season friendly, beating Olímpico do Montijo of the third division (fourth tier) 5-2. Henrique, Ricardo Silva, Jorge Gonçalves, Bruno Severino and João Silva got the Vitória goals.

* quote of the day

"It's wrong to say that we're going to be champions this year." Optimistic Sporting president Godinho Lopes.

09/08/11

* International referee Pedro Proença, who officiated the Supertaça between FC Porto and Vitória de Guimarães on Sunday, was assaulted on Monday. He was settling down to have dinner in the Colombo shopping centre in Lisbon, opposite Benfica's Luz stadium, when he was head-butted by a man who was later identified by the police. Proença will press charges and the man could face up to three years in prison.

* Luxembourg, who play Portugal on Wednesday in a friendly, had their hotel rooms burgled while training in Almansil, Algarve on Monday. The thieves got away with mobile phones, computers, valuables and money.

* Pope Bento XVI's upcoming visit to Madrid will put back kick-off of the Europa League play-off first leg between Atlético and Vitória de Guimarães, scheduled for 18 August. The game will now start at 10 pm.

* Vitória Setúbal forward Miguel Fidalgo will have to undergo an operation on his left knee and will be out of action for six months.

* quotes of the day

"It's wrong to say that we're going to be champions this year." Optimistic Sporting president Godinho Lopes.

"People know what they can and can't do. This country has laws and anyway, we should respect others, not only in sport but in life." The assault on referee Pedro Proença as seen by João Pinto, who should know about these things.

08/08/11

* FC Porto won this year's Supertaça (league versus cup winners … or in this case, beaten finalists) with a 2-1 (goals) win over Vitória de Guimarães, who they had met in last season's Cup Final. It was FC Porto's 18th Supertaça, and their sixth in the last seven seasons. A crowd of 18,313 at the Aveiro Municipal Stadium watched Porto take the lead on just three minutes, Ruben Micael feeding Hulk on the right, whose letra cross (hooking his left leg around the back of his standing leg, the right) was met by the head of centre-back Rolando at the back post. It seemed that the goal might open the flood gates for a big Porto win, but Vitória settled quickly and were level on the half hour through Toscana. But before half-time, Porto were back in the driving seat, Rolando once again on hand to finish off a Hulk free-kick. The second half was even, and Vitória came out of it with dignity, but Porto claimed their third Supertaça in a row. Vitória's only trophy ever was a Supertaça in the 1988/89 season … against FC Porto.
The teams lined up:
FC Porto:
Helton, Sapunaru, Rolando, Maicon, Fucile, Souza, Rúben Micael (Guarín 66), João Moutinho (Belluschi 84), Varela (Falcão 66), Hulk, Kléber.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, N'Diaye, João Paulo, Santana, El Adoua, Leonel Olímpio (Pedro Mendes 72), Barrientos (João Alves 66), Targino, Faouzi (Maranhão 56), Toscano.

* History of the Supertaça (source: Maisfutebol)

1979/80:
FC Porto-BOAVISTA, 1-2 (Romeu/ Júlio 2)
1980/81:
Sporting-Benfica, 2-2 (Jordão 2, 1 pen/ Carlos Manuel, César)
BENFICA-Sporting, 2-1 (Nené, Vital/ Jordão pen)
1981/82:
Benfica-FC Porto, 2-0 (Nené 2)
FC PORTO-Benfica, 4-1 (Jacques 3, Costa/ Jorge Gomes)
1982/83:
Sporting Braga-Sporting, 2-1 (Jorge Gomes, Fontes/ Freire)
SPORTING-Sporting Braga, 6-1 (M. Fernandes 3, Jordão 2, Lito/ Vítor Oliveira)
1983/84:
FC Porto-Benfica, 0-0
Benfica-FC PORTO, 1-2 (Manniche/ Frasco, Vermelhinho)
1984/85:
Benfica-FC Porto, 1-0 (Manniche)
FC Porto-Benfica, 1-0 (Vermelhinho)
FC Porto-Benfica, 3-0 (Vermelhinho, Gomes 2)
Benfica-FC PORTO, 0-1 (Futre)
1985/86:
Benfica-FC Porto, 1-0 (Diamantino)
FC Porto-BENFICA, 0-0
1986/87:
FC Porto-Benfica, 1-1 (Gomes/ Rui Pedro)
Benfica-FC PORTO, 2-4 (Diamantino, Dito/ Madjer, Futre 2, Gomes)
1987/88:
Benfica-Sporting, 0-3 (Edmundo o.g., Silvinho, Paulinho Cascavel)
SPORTING-Benfica, 1-0 (Silvinho)
1988/89:
Vitória de Guimarães-FC Porto, 2-0 (Décio, N'Dinga)
FC Porto-VITÓRIA DE GUIMARÄES, 0-0
1989/90:
Benfica-Belenenses, 2-0 (Vata, Lima)
Belenenses-BENFICA, 0-2 (Macaé o.g., Magnusson)
1990/91:
Estrela da Amadora-FC Porto, 2-1 (Miranda, Baroti/ Geraldão)
FC PORTO-Estrela da Amadora, 3-0 (Paille, Semedo, Jorge Couto)
1991/92:
Benfica-FC Porto, 2-1 (Yuran, William/ Jaime Magalhães)
FC Porto-Benfica, 1-0 (Timofte)
(Coimbra) FC PORTO-Benfica, 1-1 aet (4-3 pens) (João Pinto pen/ Isaías)
1992/93:
FC Porto-Boavista, 1-2 (Kostadinov/ Marlon, Artur)
BOAVISTA-FC Porto, 2-2 (Tavares, Marlon/ Kostadinov 2)
1993/94:
Benfica-FC Porto, 1-0 (Rui Águas)
FC Porto-Benfica, 1-0 (Vinha)
FC PORTO-Benfica, 2-2 aet (4-3 pens) (Domingos, Secretário/ Tavares, César Brito)
1994/95:
Benfica-FC Porto, 1-1 (Vítor Paneira/ Rui Filipe)
FC Porto-Benfica, 0-0
(Paris) FC PORTO-Benfica, 1-0 (Domingos)
1995/96:
Sporting-FC Porto, 0-0
FC Porto-Sporting, 2-2 (Domingos 2/ Naybet, Ouattara)
(Paris) SPORTING-FC Porto, 3-0 (Sá Pinto 2, Carlos Xavier)
1996/97:
FC Porto-Benfica, 1-0 (Domingos)
Benfica-FC PORTO, 0-5 (Artur, Edmilson, Jorge Costa, Wetl, Drulovic)
1997/98:
Boavista-FC Porto, 2-0 (Ayew, Timofte)
FC Porto-BOAVISTA, 1-0 (Fernando Mendes)
1998/99:
FC Porto-Sporting Braga, 1-0 (Zahovic)
Sporting Braga-FC PORTO, 1-1 (Formoso/ Capucho)
1999/00:
Beira-Mar-FC Porto, 1-2 (Fary/ Domingos, Esquerdinha)
FC PORTO-Beira-Mar, 3-1 (Jardel 2, Lobão o.g./ Óscar)
2000/01:
FC Porto-Sporting, 1-1 (Alenitchev/ Acosta)
Sporting-FC Porto, 0-0
(Coimbra) FC Porto-SPORTING, 0-1 (Acosta pen)
2001/02:
(Vila do Conde) FC PORTO-Boavista, 1-0 (Jorge Andrade)
2002/03:
(Setúbal) SPORTING-Leixões, 5-1 (Ricardo Fernandes 2, Niculae, Kutuzov, Carlos Martins/Antchouet)
2003/04:
(Guimarães) FC PORTO-União de Leiria, 1-0 (Costinha)
2004/05:
(Coimbra) FC PORTO-Benfica, 1-0 (Ricardo Quaresma)
2005/06:
(Algarve) Benfica-Vitória de Setúbal, 1-0 (Nuno Gomes)
2006/07
(Leiria) FC PORTO-Vitória de Setúbal, 3-0 (Adriano, Anderson, Vieirinha)
2007/08
(Leiria) SPORTING-FC Porto, 1-0 (Izmailov)
2008/09
(Faro) FC Porto-SPORTING, 0-2 (Yannick Djaló)
2009/10
(Aveiro) FC PORTO-Paços de Ferreira, 2-0 (Farias, Bruno Alves)
2010/11
(Aveiro) FC PORTO-Benfica, 2-0 (Rolando, Falcao)
2011/12
(Aveiro) FC PORTO-Vitória de Guimaraes, 2-0 (Rolando, 2/ Toscano)

*
Overall:

F.C. Porto, played 27, won 18
Sporting, 8/7
Benfica, 15/4
Boavista, 4/3
Vitória de Guimarães, 2/1
Sporting Braga, 2/0
Vitória de Setúbal, 2/0
União de Leiria, 1/0
Paços de Ferreira, 1/0
Estrela da Amadora, 1/0
Beira-Mar, 1/0
Leixões, 1/0
Belenenses, 1/0

* The second games of the Taça da Liga group phase were played this weekend.
Results and standings (source
Maisfutebol):

Group A
Belenenses-Leixões, 5-3
Trofense-Penafiel, 1-1

Table
1. Belenenses (played 2, 4 points)
2. Trofense (2, 2)
3. Penafiel (2, 2)
4. Leixões (2, 1)

Group B
Naval-Sp. Covilhã, 2-1
Santa Clara-Arouca, 1-1

Table
1. Naval (played 2, 6 pontos)
2. Santa Clara (2, 4)
3. Arouca (2,1)
4. Sp. Covilhã (2, 0)

Group C
Freamunde-Moreirense, 1-1
Portimonense-Atlético, 1-1

Table
1. Moreirense (played 2, 4 points)
2. Freamunde (2, 4)
3. Portimonense (2, 1)
4. Atlético (2,1)

Group D
Oliveirense-U. Madeira, 2-1
Estoril-D. Aves, 2-0

Table
1. U. Madeira (played 2, 3 points)
2. D. Aves (2, 3)
3. Estoril (2, 3)
4. Oliveirense (2,3)

* Olhanense, resting a lot of players ahead of next week's Liga kick off against Sporting, lost 2-3 to Algarve neighbours Farense in the latter's presentation to their fans. Olhanense's goals came from Mateus and Gerson (own goal), while Farense's were scored by Chiquinho (2) and Bruno Gomes. There was some trouble at the end of the game between rival fans, broken up by the police.

* Portugal will play Guatemala in the last 16 of the U-20 World Cup, being played out in Colombia. The game will take place on Tuesday evening.

* quotes of the day

"Don't ask me to do it on a regular basis." FC Porto centre-back Rolando on his two goals in the Supertaça.

"Good night. See you next time." Vitória de Guimarães coach Manuel Machado loses his patience waiting for the journalists to ask him something and leaves the post-Supertaça press conference before a single question has been asked.

"This is Manchester United!" Nani after scoring two in his team's 3-2 defeat of Manchester City in the Community Shield..

07/08/11

* Benfica won the annual Eusébio Cup in front of 40,883 at the Luz, beating a weakened Arsenal (without Fabregas, Nasry or Walcott) 2-1 (goals). The Londoners were in front on 34 minutes when Gibbs made the line on the left and cut the ball back for Van Persie to knock in the easiest of chances. It was a clear reflection of the relative merits of the two sides in the first half, but the second, in which Benfica brought out their big guns (Aimar, Witsel, Gaitán and Nolito), was a world apart. Aimar equalised on 50 minutes after an intricate little move on the edge of the area and a pass from Nolito, and it was the latter who cracked home a shot from outside the area on the hour to give Benfica the trophy, presented by Eusébio himself, 70 this year.
The teams lined up:
Benfica
: Eduardo (Artur 46), Ruben Amorim (Ruben Pinto 86), Luisão (Fábio Faria 89), Garay (Jardel 46), Emerson (Capdevila 46), Javi Garcia (David Simão 91), Bruno César (Nolito 46), Matic (Witsel 46), Enzo Peres (Gaitan 46, Urreta 86), Cardozo (Aimar 46), Jara (Saviola 46, Mora 86).
Arsenal: Szczesny (Fabianski 46), Sagna (Jenkinson 46), Djourou (Squillaci 46), Vermaelen (Miguel 85), Gibbs (Traoré 56), Rosicky (Lansbury 66), Song (Frimpong 46), Ramsey, Arshavin (Miyaichi 46), Van Persie (Chamakh 46), Gervinho.

* Sporting came fourth in the Ramón Carranza trophy, played out in Cádiz, after drawing 2-2 with Udinese but losing 9-10 on penalties, with Diego Capel and André Martins missing for Sporting (goals). Abdi opened the scoring for Udinese after a quarter of an hour, but Diego Rubio equalised three minutes into the second half. Floro Flores put the Italian side back in front on 82 minutes, and Rubio equalised again near the end from the spot … before the dreaded penalties.
Hosts Cádiz beat Málaga 2-0 to take the trophy.
The teams lined up:
Sporting:
Marcelo Boeck, Pereirinha, Carriço (Rodríguez 45), Polga, Turan (Evaldo 45), Rinaudo, André Martins, Schaars (André Santos 45), Yannick (Capel 45), Hélder Postiga (Rubio 45), Jeffren (Carrillo 75).
Udinese: Handanovic, Danilo, Ekstrand, Basta, Badu, Armero (Pasquale 67), Isla (Surraca 84), Pinzi, Abdi (Fabbrini 67), Piccoli (Floro Flores 45), Di Natale.

* Sporting Braga drew 1-1 with Aston Villa in Braga's official presentation of the squad to their fans (goals).. Alan scored from outside the box on 19 minutes, but N'Zogbia equalised five minutes from half time. Braga had the better of the chances in the second half, hitting the woodwork twice and having a Lima goal disallowed, but the 1-1 scoreline remained.
The teams lined up:
Sporting de Braga:
Quim, Baiano, Paulo Vinícius, Ewerton, Imourou, Djamal, Hugo Viana, Alan, Pizzi, Lima, Nuno Gomes. (Also: Mossoró, Nuno André Coelho, Elderson, Salino, Meyong, Zé Luís, Vinícius, Guilherme.)
Aston Villa: Given, Luke Young, Dunne, Clarke, Warnock, Petrov, Makoun, N'Zogbia, Heskey, Agbonlahor, Bent. (Also: Albrighton, Ireland, Bannan)

* União de Leiria won the Tábua Triangular Tournament, drawing 0-0 with Tourizense and beating Beir-Mar 1-0 with a goal from Marco Paulo. Beira-Mar lost 1-2 to Tourizense, Nildo putting the top flight team in front before the second tier team turned it around through Kané (penalty) and Xavier.

* Rio Ave and Gil Vicente drew 0-0.

* Académica beat Nogueirense 3-1 with goals from Nivaldo, Jerry Sitoe and Fábio Luís.

* Olhanense drew 1-1 at Quarteirense, who went in front through Rodrigo Ãngelo before Dady equalised for the first division club.

* Sporting Braga have loaned Brazilian striker Douglas to Beira-Mar for a season.

* quote of the day
"When I see that Atlético Madrid are interested in Falcao, I laugh." FC Porto president Pinto da Costa doubts that the Spanish club can afford his Colombian jewel.

06/08/11

* Sporting lost 1-3 to Málaga (goals) on Friday in the Ramón Carranza Trophy, being played out in Cádiz, Spain. Júlio Baptista converted a cross for the Portuguese Eliseu to put Málaga in front on 36 minutes, Van Nistelrooy extended their lead six minutes later, Diego Rubio pulled one back on the hour but then Júlio Baptista got his second a quarter of an hour from time to put the game beyond Sporting's reach. Sporting play Udinese on Saturday for 3rd place, while hosts Cádiz will play Málaga for the trophy.
The teams lined up:
Málaga:
Caballero, Gámez, Demichelis, Mathijsen (Kris 81), Eliseu, Toulalan, Joaquín (Portillo 77), Apoño, Cazorla (Buonanotte 68), Júlio Baptista (Juanmi 89), Van Nistelrooy (Rondon 68).
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Rodríguez, Onyewu (Carriço 46), Evaldo, André Santos, Yannick (Jeffen 46), Schaars (André Martins 57), Capel (Carrillo 46), Postiga (Rinaudo 46), Van Wolfswinkel (Rubio 57).

* Paços de Ferreira had better luck against Spanish opposition, beating Sporting Gijón 3-0. Filipe Anunciação opened the scoring on five minutes, jumping on a mistake by 'keeper Cuellár from a corner. On 67 minutes, Manuel José made it two from the spot, and he shot his second and Paços' third ten minutes from time.
Paços lined up: Cássio, Marcelo Tché, Ozéia, Javier Cohene, Nuno Santos, André Leão, Filipe Anunciação, Vítor, Manuel José, Melgarejo, Michel (Also: Carlos, Luisinho, Michel Lugo, Backar, Josué, Silva).

* Vitória de Setúbal beat Académica 1-0 in the former's official presentation in front of 1600 fans at the Estádio do Bonfim. José Pedro got the only goal on 18 minutes from a direct free kick.

* Benfica will have to get past Dutch side Twente (away 16/17, home 23/24), led by former FC Porto coach Co Adriaanse, to go through to the group stage of the Champions League, as dictated in Friday's draw in Nyon. Vitória de Guimarães got the short straw in the draw for the final pre-group qualifying round of the Europa League: Atlético Madrid (away 18, home 25). Sporting Braga have Swiss side Young Boys (h 18, a 25), Nacional play Birmingham (h 18, a 25) and Sporting meet Danish club Nordsjalland (a 18, h 25) again – they played at the sam stage of the tournament last season, Sporting coming out 3-1 winners over the two legs.

* Portugal U-20s beat New Zealand 1-0 with a goal from left back Mário Rui to top Group B at the U-20s World Cup in Colombia

* The first game of the Liga season will be newly promoted Gil Vicente v Benfica on Friday 12 August. The reigning champions FC Porto begin their defence of the title on Sunday at Vitória de Guimarães, who they also play this weekend in the Supertaça.

Friday 12 August:
Gil Vicente v Benfica, 20.45 (local time)
Saturday 13 August:
Rio Ave v Sporting Braga, 18.00
Sporting v Olhanense, 20.15 horas
Sunday 14 August:
Marítimo v Beira-Mar, 16.00
Feirense v Nacional, 17.00
Vitória de Setúbal v Paços de Ferreira, 18.00
Vitória de Guimarães v FC Porto, 19.00
Monday 15 August:
União de Leiria v Académica, 20.15

*
quote of the day
"I have six offers." Benfica's Algerian midfielder Hassan Yebda insists he's wanted by someone, if not Benfica.

05/08/11

* A goal 15 minutes from time sealed a 2-1 win (goals) for Vitória de Guimarães against Danish side Midtjylland in the second leg of the third preliminary round of the Europa League; the first leg had finished 0-0. Nielsen had put Midtjylland in front on 28 minutes, with Faouzi equalising just before the break. Then on 76 minutes, Edgar shot, the ball came back off the post and Targino bundled it in.
The teams lined up:
Midtjylland
: Kasper Jensen, Afriyie, Bak Nielsen, Kristijan Ipsa, Jesper Juelsgard, Mads Albaek (Jonas Borring 87), Jakob Poulsen, Izunna Uzochukwu, Hassan, Jude Nworuh (Tim Janssen 72), Igboun.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, João Paulo, N'Diaye, Anderson Mineiro, Issam El Adoua, Pedro Mendes (Leonel Olimpio 71), João Alves, Targino (Maranhão 82), Abdelghani Faouzi (Edgar 57), Marcelo Toscano.

* Nacional lost by the same score (goals) at Swedish side Hacken but went through to the last qualifying round thanks to their 3-0 win in the first leg. Elisson in the Nacional goal stopped everything Hacken threw at him ... except for the two goals scored by Congolese striker Makondele. Between his goals, however, Rondon equalised (on 40 minutes), which effectively put the tie beyond Hacken's reach.

* Olhanense beat the Spanish side Ayamonte 6-0 to take the António Concepción Trophy. Dady got a hat-trick, supplemented by goals from Wilson Eduardo, Yontcha and Salvador Agra.

* The national team coach Paulo Bento surprisingly called up veterans Nuno Gomes and Quim, both of Sporting Braga, for the upcoming friendly against Luxembourg to be played at the Algarve Stadium on 10 August. another surprise is the inclusion of young Porto midfielder Castro.
The squad:
Goalkeepers:
Eduardo, Rui Patrício e Quim
Defenders: Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, João Pereira, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Sílvio.
Midfielders: Castro, André Santos, João Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Rúben Micael
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny, Hugo Almeida, Postiga, Nani, Nuno Gomes, Varela

* Vitória de Guimarães have signed Algerian striker Hilal Soudani on a three-year contract from ASO Chlef.

* Sporting's Spanish midfielder Alberto Zapater has moved to Lokomotiv Moscow on a free transfer. The contract is for five years.

* quote of the day:
"Pinto da Costa is like a father to me." Hulk gets all soppy over the FC Porto president.

04/08/11

* Benfica drew 1-1 (goals) at Turkish side Trabzonspor to go through to the pre-group play-off of the Champions League on Wednesday; Benfica had won the first leg 2-0. They dominated pretty much throughout and should have finished with a win, but the result of the tie was the most important thing, taking them within two games of the lucrative group stage of the tournament. Nolito put Benfica in front on 9 minutes, meaning that Trabzonspor had to score four to qualify. They got one through Paulo Henrique on 32, but could manage no more and escaped defeat only due to the wastefulness of Benfica's attack, where Cardozo was conspicuous by his absence. Mierzejewski was sent off for the Turkish side on 58 minutes for use of an elbow on Maxi Pereira. Benfica fielded not a single Portuguese on the night.
The teams lined up:
Trabzonspor:
Tolga Zengin, Balci (Halil Altıintop 79), Brozek (Yumlu 63), Kaçar, Celustka, Zokora, Colman, Glowacki, Mierzejewski, Paulo Henrique (Alanzinho 45), Yilmaz.
Benfica: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisão, Garay, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Gaitán (Bruno César 87), Aimar (Matic 64), Nolito, Saviola (Jara 75).

Nélson Oliveira got the only goal of the game as Portugal U-20s beat Cameroon 1-0 to go to the top of Group B of the U-20 World Cup in Colombia. Uruguay and New Zealand drew 1-1 in the same group.

* Sporting have signed winger Jeffrén Suárez from Barcelona on a five-year deal for 3.75 million euros (80% of his pass). "I promise work, enthusiasm and ambition," he said.

* Sporting Braga beat Trofense of the Liga de Honra 4-0 with goals from Meyong, Pizzi, Hélder Barbosa and Nuno Gomes.

* Paços de Ferreira beat Oliveirense, also of the Liga de Honra, with a goal from central defender Ozeia on 70 minutes.

* Académica drew 1-1 with Beira-Mar, the goals coming from Éder and Tiago Barros, respectively.

* Gil Vicente drew 0-0 with Varzim at the latter's official presentation.

03/08/11

* Benfica have been asked by the Portuguese Stock Exchange to clarify the fee paid by Zaragoza for goalkeeper Roberto, since the fee announced by Benfica, 8.6 million euros, does not tally with what the Spanish club have announced. Zaragoza are over 100 million euros in the red.

* Coach Paulo Sérgio has signed for Scottish club Hearts, replacing Jim Jefferies, who was sacked.

* Another Portuguese coach, Carlos Carvalhal, will be the new boss of Ricardo Quaresma, Simão Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida and Manuel Fernandes at Besiktas, replacing Tayfur Havutcu, caught up in the corruption scandal sweeping Turkish football. It will be Carvalhal's second stint abroad, having been at the helm of Asteras Tripolis in 2008.

* Yet another Portuguese coach working abroad, ex-Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira, had a bad day: his Panathinaikos lost 3-4 at home to Danish side Odense (first leg 1-1) and thus miss out on the play-offs to the group stage of the Champions League. the Greek team were booed off the pitch, and Jesualdo's position at the club must now be in jeopardy.

* Argentinian full back José Schaffer has been loaned by Benfica to União de Leiria for one season.

* FC Porto are ranked the third best club side in the world behind Barcelona and Real Madrid, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. Behind Porto in the top ten are Manchester United, Manchester City, Villarreal, Inter, Santos, Vélez Sarsfield and Schalke 04. Benfica are 37th, Sporting Braga 39th, Sporting 63rd, Nacional 283rd and Vitória de Guimarães 307th.

quotes of the day
* "I believe that Portugal can win a title in the next few years." Cristiano Ronaldo, optimistic.
* "For me, there are no foreigners or Portuguese, just Benfica players. I pick the best 11 for each game, not according to their nationality." Coach Jorge Jesus deflects concerns about the preponderance of foreign players in the Benfica squad; they finished last week's Champions League qualifier against Trabzonspor without any Portuguese players on the pitch.

02/08/11

* Benfica have sold Spanish goalkeeper Roberto to Zaragoza for 8.6 million euros. Benfica bought him a year ago from Atlético Madrid for 8.5m, but he never established himself in the hearts of Benfiquistas or between the posts at the Luz.

* Vitória de Guimarães have signed Bolivian winger Maurício Saucedo, 26, on a one-year contract (with an option for an extra year).

* Coach Paulo Sérgio looks set to join Scottish club Hearts on a two-year contract. In Portugal, he led Olhanense, Santa Clara, Beira-Mar, Paços de Ferreira, Vitória de Guimarães and most recently Sporting. He would replace Jim Jefferies, sacked by the Edinburgh club.

quotes of the day

* "I wouldn't swap Hulk for Ronaldo." FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa.

* "It's not the hardest job in the world to win the league with Porto because Porto seem to have it well and truly sorted one way or another over there." Former Benfica boss Graeme Souness.

01/08/11

* FC Porto played and lost their last friendly before the season proper begins, 1-2 (goals) against Lyon in Geneva. Porto were behind on eight minutes, the ex-portista Lisandro López scoring from outside the area. But Porto were on level terms minutes later through Ruben Micael, finishing off one of many incisive runs by Hulk on the right. The Portuguese champions proceeded to dominate the game but were unable to translate this into goals, and ten minutes from time, after Porto had made a number of substitutions, Michel Bastos took advantage of some clumsy defending to knock the ball in from ten metres. After the game, Porto coach Vítor Pereira said: "Negative was the result. Positive: almost everything."
Porto had won five of their previous friendlies (Tourizense, Guterslöh, SC Verl, Rio Ave and Peñarol) and drawn one (Borussia Mönchengladbach). Their next game is the coming weekend against
Vitória de Guimarães for the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira.
The teams lined up:
Lyon
: Vercountre, Réveillère, Cris, Lovren, Cissokho, Gonalons (Koné 78), Källström, Michel Bastos, Briand (Pied 84), Gomis (Belfodil 71), Lisandro López
FC Porto: Helton, Sapunaru (Sereno 77), Rolando, Otamendi (Maicon 77), Fucile, Souza (Fernando 73), João Moutinho (Castro 77), Rúben Micael (Belluschi 63), Varela (Christian Atsu 77), Hulk, Kléber (Djalma 65)

* Vitória de Guimarães drew 1-1 (goals) with Marítimo at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães. the home side were in front on 26 minutes through Barrientos, but Babá equalised on 33. The Vitória crowd jeered their team at the end.

* União de Leiria, playing this season at Marinha Grande, 12 kilometres away, drew 0-0 with Olhanense in their official presentation game.

* Brazilian striker Adriano, 32, who has already represented Nacional, FC Porto and Sporting Braga in Portugal, has signed a one-year contract with Liga de Honra side Oliveirense. Adriano's last clubs were Sport and Santo André in Brazil. "You'll see that I'm not dead", he told reporters.

* The Portuguese
League Cup kicked off on Sunday. The Cup involves only clubs in the top and second division. At this stage, only clubs in the second (Liga de Honra) take part. Results:

Group A
Trofense - Leixões, 1-1
Penafiel – Belenenses, 0-0

Group B
Sporting Covilhã - Santa Clara, 0-1
Naval – Arouca, 2-0

Group C
Atlético – Freamunde, 0-1
Portimonense - Moreirense, 2-3

Group D
Oliveirense – Desportivo das Aves, 0-1
União de Madeira – Estoril, 3-2

 

31/07/11

* (Relative) luck smiled on Portugal in the draw for the qualifying groups for the 2014 World Cup, made in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday: Group F includes Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. The winner of the group qualifies directly, while the second-placed country can qualify through a play-off. Portugal were seeded and thus avoided the main players in European football. Group games begin in September 2012.

* Portual U-20s drew 0-0 with Uruguay in their first match of the World Cup in Cali, Colombia, on Saturday. Sérgio Oliveira was sent off ten minutes from time for a second yellow.

* In front of one of the best crowds (48,952) in the brief history of the Alvalade XXI stadium, Sporting wasted a large part of the goodwill generated by previous pre-season games (five victories, just one goal conceded) by going down 0-3 (goals) to Valência in the official presentation of the new Sporting squad. Bernat on five minutes nipped in to head in under the nose of Rui Patrício. On the half-hour, Soldado raced onto a through ball and was too strong and fast for Carriço before beating Patrrício with ease. And just before the break, Pablo Piatti was quickest to a cross from the left and flicked it in. All three goals came from throw-ins, a detail that will be worrying coach Domingos Paciência. The team left the field at half-time under a barrage of whistles from their long-suffering fans. Sporting kept a clean sheet in the second half, but couldn't manage much up the other end. After the match, Domingos played down the defeat: "We weren't the best team in the world before this game, nor are we the worst now."
The teams lined up:
Sporting
: Rui Patrício (Marcelo Boeck 65), João Pereira (Carrillo 82), Carriço (Polga 65), Onyewu (Rodríguez HT), Evaldo, Rinaudo (André Santos 57), Izmailov (Pereirinha HT), Schaars (Luís Aguiar 57), Yannick Djaló (Capel 65), Rubio (Wolfswinkel HT), Postiga (André Martins 57)
Valência: Diego Alves, Bruno, Rami, Ricardo Costa, Alba, Topal, Albelda, Pablo Hernández, Piatti, Bernat, Soldado. (Also: Jonas, Maduro, Dealbert Feghouli, Mata, Parejo , Mathieu, Miguel, Purtu, Pardo).

* Sporting Braga finished second in the traingular tournament Achille & Cesare Bortolotti trophy, played out in Bergamo. In the first game of 45 minutes, Braga lost 0-1 to Queen's Park Rangers (goals); in the second they beat hosts Atalanta 3-1 on penalties (goals). QPR won the tournament.

* Paços de Ferreira beat Marítimo 2-1 in their official presentation. Vítor got their first goal with a free-kick on 44 minutes. Babá equalised from the spot on 69, but Paços confirmed the win through Josué, also from the spot, five minutes from time.

* Académica beat Feirense 4-2 in the Students' presentation to their fans. Rabiola put Feirense in front but Académica turned it around before the break through Adrien and Éder. They made it four in the second half with goals from William (OG) and Fábio Luís, while William made some amends by adding one for Feirense near the end.

* Beira-Mar drew 0-0 with Celta de Vigo in Melgaço.

* Newly-promoted Gil Vicente beat Tirsente 4-0 with goals from Laionel, Yero (2) and Hugo Vieira.

* Mozambican striker Jerry Sitoe, 20, has joined Académica from Liga Muçulmana de Maputo on a contract that could extend to three years.

* quote of the day:
"Believe in us!"
(Sporting coach Domingos after his team lost 0-3 to Valência.)

30/07/11

* French left back Atila Turan, 19, has moved to Sporting from Grenoble on a five-year contract.

* Sporting will play the Angolan national team in Luanda on 11 November as part of the commemorations of Angolan Independence Day.

* A fervent 35-year-old supporter of FC Porto found his way into the Estádio do Dragão last week and got hold of two cups – the Taça Cândido de Oliveira (Supertaça) and the Taça do Campeonato (Championship Cup) 2010/2011, the national daily Correio da Manhã reports.
Brandishing the cups, he did six laps of the Dragão pitch and pretended to be André Villas Boas, giving orders to imaginary players. Then he returned to where he had found the cups, in the office of club president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, and slept for ten hours. He was caught after using the phone in the office to call his mother to tell her that he was "in heaven".

* Quotes of the day:
"He's as close to Sporting as Higuaín, Drogba or Krkic. It's fiction." (Sporting's Director of Football, Carlos Freitas, denies rumours that Nicklas Bendtner could be on his way to the club.)
"Now I have to concentrate on Benfica and get prepared for the coming season because good things are on their way." Uruguayan international right back Maxi Pereira looks forward to the season with optimism.

29/07/11

* Nacional beat Swedish side BK Hacken 3-0 in Madeira in the third preliminary round of the Europa League on Thursday. They took the lead on 12 minutes through Luís Alberto, and just five minutes later were two-up after Mateus netted. The Angolan international got his second just before the break. In the second half, Rondon headed against the post but the Madeiran side could not extend their lead.
The teams lined up:
Nacional
: Elisson, João Aurélio, Felipe Lopes, Danielson, Nuno Pinto, Luís Alberto, Rene Mihelic, Dejan Skolnik (Edgar Costa 80), Elizeu (Ivan Todorovic 68), Mário Rondon, Mateus (Candeias 84).
BK Hacken: Kallkvist, Forsell, Soderberg, Ostberg, Arkivuo, Bjurstrom, Nystrom (Waris 67), Karlsson, Chibuike, Ranégie, Makondele (Williams 79).

* Vitória de Guimarães drew 0-0 at Danish side Midtyjlland in a scrappy game, with Vitória getting in just one shot on target, El Adoua's shot saved by Jensen.
The teams lined up:
Midtjylland
: Kasper Jensen, Afriyie, Bak Nielsen, Kristijan Ipsa, Jesper Juelsgard, Mads Albaek (Jonas Borring 87), Jakob Poulsen, Izunna Uzochukwu, Hassan, Jude Nworuh (Tim Janssen 72), Igboun.
Vitória de Guimarães: Nilson, Alex, João Paulo, N'Diaye, Anderson Mineiro, Issam El Adoua, Pedro Mendes (Leonel Olimpio 71), João Alves, Targino (Maranhão 82), Abdelghani Faouzi (Edgar 57), Marcelo Toscano.

* Newly promoted Feirense lost 0-2 against Maritimo in the official presentation to their fans, Ibrahim on 11 minutes and Pouga on 64 getting the goals.

* Brazilian right-sided player Danilo has officially completed his move from Santos to FC Porto for 13 million euros. The contract is until 2016 and has a rescission clause of 50 million euros.

* FC Porto have loaned goalkeeper Ventura, 23, to Olhanense; he was loaned to Portimonense last season. Olhanense also take midfielder Fernando Alexandre on loan from Sporting Braga.

* Quote of the day:
"We can't sit in the shade of the banana tree." Coach Ivo Vieira warns against complacency after Nacional beat Hacken 3-0 in the Europa League.

28/07/11

* Benfica beat Trabzonspor 2-0 (goals) in the first leg of the third preliminary round of the Champions League in front of 37,341 at the Luz on Wednesday. They started strongly, forcing Tolga in the Trabzonspor goal to make several good saves, but then the Turkish side slowly found their way into the match and began to create their own danger. However, changes made by coach Jorge Jesus in the second half made Benfica more dynamic once again, and in the last 20 minutes they scored their two goals. For the first, on 71 minutes, sub Nolito latched onto an Aimar pass to hook the ball past Tolga from ten metres, and on 88 minutes, another sub, Witsel, found Gaitán on the edge of the box and his curled shot beat Tolga and found the top left-hand corner of the net. The tie is not over, but Benfica must now travel to Turkey hopeful of qualification.
The teams lined up:

Benfica: Artur Moraes, Ruben Amorim, Luisão, Garay, Emerson, Javi Garcia, Enzo Pérez (Nolito 54), Aimar (Witsel 75), Gaitán, Saviola, Cardozo.

Trabzonspor: Tolga, Balci, Giray Kaçar, Glowacki, Celustka, Zokora, Colman, Yilmaz, Mierzejwski (Brozek 85), Alanzinho (Öztorun 67), Paulo Henrique.

* Rio Ave drew 1-1 in a friendly at St Étienne. João Tomás got Rio Ave's goal after five minutes, with Idriss Saadi replying for the French side.

* Promoted to the Liga de Honra at the end of last season, historic Lisbon club Atlético beat Vitória de Setúbal 3-1 in the official presentation of the former's squad. Pitbull gave Vitória the lead, but an own goal by Igor and two other goals by Tiago Caiero and Aílton gave Atlético's fans something to smile about.

* Another Liga de Honra side, Oliveirense, beat União de Leiria 2-0.

* Forward Yazalde, 22, has been loaned by Sporting Braga to Rio Ave once again. He was second top scorer at the club last season with ten goals.

* Spanish midfielder Zapater looks set to join Lokomotiv Moscow from Sporting.

* Portugal remain 7th in FIFA's ranking of top countries, published on Wednesday.
1. Spain 1588 points
2. Holland 1542
3. Germany 1305
4. Brazil 1202
5. Uruguay 1156
6. England 1146
7. Portugal 1076
8. Italy 1059
9. Croatia 1033
10. Argentina 1013

* Quote of the day:
"Half the world covets Álvaro Pereira." Headline on A Bola's website. FC Porto's Uruguayan left back is a flavour of the month after good exhibitions in the recent Copa America.

27/08/11

* Sporting Braga spoiled newly-promoted Gil Vicente's official presentation to their fans by beating them 3-0 on Tuesday. To add to the ignominy, two of the goals were scored by former Gil player Zé Luís to give Braga a 2-0 half-time lead. Their other goal was scored by new signing Nuno Gomes from Benfica.

* Benfica have named their squad for Wednesday's Champions League preliminary round tie, first leg, at home to Turkish side Trabzonspor. New signing Capdevila was not registered in time:

Goalkeepers: Artur, Eduardo;
Defenders: Maxi Pereira, Jardel, Luisão, Garay, Emerson;
Midfielders: Javi García, Matic, Ruben Amorim, Enzo Pérez, Bruno César, Witsel, Aimar, Gaitán, Nolito;
Forwards: Cardozo, Saviola, Jara

* Portugal may play Romania on 10 August to substitute Argentina in the inauguration of Romania's new 55,000-seat national stadium; the friendly against Luxembourg on the same day would obviously have to be cancelled or re-scheduled.

* Vitória de Guimarães midfielder Rui Miguel is to join Russian club Krasnodar on a three-year contract for one million euros.

* Midfielder André Sousa, 21, has signed for Beira-Mar from Pampilhosa.

* Benfica's historic General Assembly of 1 July 1979 voted in favour of allowing foreign players to sign for the club; Brazilian Jorge Gomes was the first. Now, 32 years later, the club may field a team made up entirely of foreigners, i.e. without a single Portuguese player, which would be another historic moment (featured in the national daily Público).

* One of the most successful foreigners ever in Portuguese football, the Brazilian striker Mário Jardel, formerly of FC Porto (1996-2000), Sporting (2001-2003) and Beira-Mar (2007), is to join Saudi Arabian club Al Taawon at the age of 37. 'Supermário' was top scorer in Portugal five times (four for Porto, once for Sporting). Al Taawon will be the 19th cub of his career.

* Vítor Nóvoa, Jaime Pacheco's assistant when Boavista won their only Portuguese title in 2001, has passed away. The funeral took place in Porto on Tuesday.

* FC Porto have bought the goal in which Falcao got the winner of the Europa League Final against Sporting Braga last season, played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin; the goal will feature in the museum that the club is planning.

* Quote of the day:
"This season, I'm going to explode!" FC Porto's Brazilian midfielder Souza sets out his short-term ambition.

26/07/11

* Benfica have sent the squad list for the upcoming Champions League preliminary round tie against Trabzonspor. Missing are Roberto, Júlio César, Nuno Coelho, Carlos Martins, Urreta and Rodrigo Mora. New signing Capdevila may replace Jardel before Tuesday's deadline:
Goalkeepers: Artur Moraes, Eduardo, José Costa, Bruno Varela;
Defenders: Emerson, Luisão, Maxi Pereira, Ezequiel Garay, Miguel Vítor, Jardel, André Almeida, Luís Martins, Fábio Faria;
Midfielders: Ruben Amorim, Javi Garcia, Bruno César, Nolito, Pablo Aimar, Gaitán, Matic, David Simão, Axel Witsel, Enzo Pérez, Ruben Pinto;
Forwards: Cardozo, Saviola, Franco Jara

* Goalkeepers are in the news in Portugal for a variety of reasons:

* Goalkeeper Ricardo Baptista, loaned by Sporting to Olhanense, has been banned for two years for failing a drug test after the Olhanense v Académica game on the 17th jornada last season.

* Portuguese U-21 international 'keeper Cristiano Pereira has signed a one-year contract for Valência from Sporting Braga.

* Former goalkeeper and assistant to Jaime Pacheco in Boavista's title year (2001), Vítor Nóvoa, was buried on Monday after passing away at the weekend.

* FC Porto's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao has been voted the 5th best player in European competitions by journalists, after Iniesta of Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and Xavi are the top three, who now 'play off'. With 17 goals in the Europa League, Falcao broke Jurgen Klinsmann's 15-year-old record for top scorer in European competitions.

* Quote of the day:
"Real Madrid and Benfica are very similar." Benfica's Argetinian defender Garay catches something from new team-mate Nolito, who thinks Benfica and Barcelona are also very similar ...

25/07/11

* FC Porto beat Uruguayan side Peñarol 3-0 (goals) at the Estádio do Dragão on Sunday in the official presentation of the squad to the Porto fans; it was a repeat of the 1987 Intercontinental Cup. Guillermo Rodríguez put through his own goal on ten minutes, but despite their dominance, Porto had to wait until the 76th minute to extend their lead through Hulk from the spot. Walter completed the score two minutes from time.
The teams lined up:
FC Porto
: Helton (Bracali 66), Sapunaru (Sereno 76), Rolando, Maicon (David 85), Fucile (David Addy 76), Souza (Christian 85), Moutinho (Castro 66), Ruben Micael (Belluschi 66), Hulk (Kelvin 85), Kléber (Walter 71), Varela (Djalma 66).
Peñarol: Sosa, González, Freitas, Rodriguez, López, Valdez, Corujo, Torres, Zalayeta, Albín, Palácios. (Also: Pastorini, Perez, MacEachen, Amodio, Siles, Silva)

* Porto now rest until 31 July when they meet Lyon in Geneva, followed by the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira on 7 August against Vitória de Guimarães (last season's losing cup-finalists).

* Vitória lost 0-3 to Santa Clara, who thus take the Pauleta Trophy (former Portuguese international striker Pedro Pauleta is from the Azores, home of Santa Clara). All three goals were scored by Dincic, on 13, 27 and 49 minutes.

* Marítimo and Feirense drew 0-0 in Fão, with Nigerians Taiwo and Ibrahim making their débuts for the Madeiran side.

* Quotes of the day:
"We're expecting more of the same: victories and titles." (FC Porto central defender Maicon after his side beat Peñarol 3-0).
"There are moments when we should give an opportunity to the younger players." (
Benfica captain Luisão paves the way for an exit from the Luz).

* Other pre-season games (source: Maisfutebol):
06/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Brasov, 4-0
FC Porto-Tourizense, 7-0
09/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Penafiel, 3-0
Beira-Mar-Brasov, 1-0
Freamunde-Sporting Braga, 1-2
Freiburg-Benfica, 1-9
Rio Ave-Players' Union, 3-0
10/07
FC Gutersloh-FC Porto, 1-10
Servette-Benfica, 1-1
11/07
Olhanense-Crawley Town, 2-1
Sporting Braga-Brasov, 2-0
Dijon-Benfica, 2-1
13/07
Vitória de Guimarães -Beira-Mar, 4-1
Arouca-Feirense, 1-1
Sporting-FC Presikhaaf, 8-0
Desportivo das Aves-Rio Ave, 2-0
Vitória de Setúbal-Iberos CF, 7-1
14/07
Belenenses-U. Leiria, 0-0
Seia-Paços de Ferreira, 0-8
15/07
Gil Vicente-Moreirense, 0-0 (3-4, pens)
Benfica-PSG (Guadiana Tournament), 3-1
Vitória de Guimarães-Rio Ave, 0-1
16/07
Paços de Ferreira-Guarda, 8-0
Académica-Tourizense, 2-0
Telstar-Sporting, 0-3
Borussia Mönchengladbach-FC Porto, 0-0
Arouca-Beira-Mar, 1-0
Leixões-Sporting Braga, 2-2
Feirense-Santa Clara, 0-2
Vitória de Setúbal-Celta B, 2-1
Freamunde-Gil Vicente, 1-1 (1-3 pens)
17/07
Benfica-Anderlecht (Guadiana Tournament), 2-2
F.C. Porto-SC Verl, 3-1
18/07
Sporting-Ankaraguçu, 3-0
19/07
Sporting Braga-Moreirense, 4-1
20/07
Benfica-Toulouse, 1-0
Desportivo das Aves-Vitória de Guimarães, 1-0
Leixões-Feirense, 1-0
Santa Clara-Beira-Mar, 0-1
Oliveirense-Gil Vicente, 0-1
Belenenses-Olhanense, 1-0
Naval-União de Leiria, 0-1
Sporting de Covilhã-Vitória de Setúbal, 0-0
Académica-Arouca, 2-3
Paços de Ferreira-Players' Union, 5-1
21/07
Rio Ave-FC Porto, 1-3
22/07
Celta Vigo-Sporting Braga, 2-1
Académica-Santa Clara, 0-2
23/07
Moreirense-Paços Ferreira, 2-0
Naval-Beira-Mar, 0-0
Sporting de Covilhã-Gil Vicente, 0-1
Penafiel-Rio Ave, 2-0
Sporting Braga-Desportivo das Aves, 2-0
Oliveira do Hospital-União de Leiria, 1-8
Olhanense-Brighton, 2-1
Belenenses-Atlético, 2-2
Académica-Vitória de Guimarães, 1-1
Leixões-Marítimo, 1-2 (abandoned)
Juventus-Sporting, 1-2
24/07
Feirense-Marítimo, 0-0
FC Porto-Peñarol, 3-0
V. Guimarães-Santa Clara, 0-3

* Upcoming games:
26/07
Rio Ave-Marítimo
Gil Vicente-Sporting Braga
27/10
Vitória de Setúbal-Atlético
Penafiel-Paços Ferreira
Beira-Mar-Académica
Oliveirense-União de Leiria
28/07
Marítimo-Feirense
30/07
Paços Ferreira-Marítimo
Sporting-Valência
Feirense-Académica
Beira-Mar-Celta de Vigo
Olhanense-Vitória de Setúbal
31/07
Vitória de Guimarães-Marítimo
Lyon-FC Porto
03/08
Oliveirense-Paços Ferreira
Feirense-Rio Ave
Trofense-Beira-Mar
Estoril-União de Leiria
05/07
Sporting-Málaga (Ramón Carranza)
06/07
F.C. Porto-Vitória de Guimarães (Supertaça Portugal)
Benfica-Arsenal
Sporting Braga-Aston Villa
Feirense-Tirsense
Rio Ave-Gil Vicente
08/07
União de Leiria-Tourizense

24/07/11

* Sporting beat Juventus 2-1 (goals) in Toronto on Saturday evening. The Lisbon club were dominant throughout but especially during the first half when they scored two through Yannick Djaló. Del Piero, on as sub, pulled one back for Juventus in the second half. Particularly impressive for Sporting were new signings Rinaudo and Schaars in midfield. Sporting have won all four of their pre-season games so far, scoring 19 and conceding just one.
The teams lined up:
Sporting
: Rui Patrício (Marcelo Boeck 46), João Pereira (João Gonçalves 82) Carriço (Polga 72), Onyewu (Ilori 72), Evaldo, Rinaudo, Pereirinha (André Martins 67), Schaars, Yannick (Bojinov 82), Postiga (André Santos 67), Van Wolfswinkel (Rubio 67).
Juventus: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Barzagli, Ziegler, Marchisio, Pazienza, Pirlo, Quagliarella, Matri, Krasic. (Also: Storari, Motta, Bonucci, De Ceglie, Giandonato, Silvestro, Marrone, Martinez, Luca Toni, Del Piero).

* Sporting Braga beat Desportivo das Aves of the Liga de Honra 2-0 with goals from Pizzi and Guilherme.
Braga lined up: Marcos, Baiano, Paulo Vinicius, Ewerton, Imorou, Salino, Vinicius, Mossoró, Pizzi, Douglas, Paulo César. (Also: Berni, José Luis, Henrique, Hélder Barbosa, Guilherme, Rodrigo Galo, Ukra, Alan, Nuno André Coelho, Palmeira).

* The Leixões v Marítimo friendly was abandoned near the end after home fans invaded the pitch, incensed at tussles between players of both teams. Marítimo had been winning 2-1, Olberdam and Pouga scoring for the Madeiran side, Capela for Leixões.

* Paços de Ferreira lost 0-2 to Liga de Honra side Moreirense, Bruno Moreira and Wagner with the goals.

* Rio Ave also lost 0-2, also to Liga de Honra opposition. Paulo Oliveira and Baptiste scored the second half goals for Penafiel.

* União de Leiria thrashed Segunda Divisão side Oliveira do Hospital 8-1, the goals coming from Cepeda, Bruno Moraes, Luís Leal, Jô, Elvis, Djaniny, Cacá and Carlos Almeida (own goal). Oliveira do Hospital's reply was also an own goal, by Erichot.

* Luís Filipe has swapped Benfica for Algarve club Olhanense.

* Vitória de Setúbal winger Zeca looks set to join Panathinaikos for a reported fee of 300,000 euros.

* Vitória de Guimarães have loaned winger João Ribeiro to Turkish club Orduspor for a season.

* Quote of the day: "Elvis signs for a season." (Headline on A Bola's website. This Elvis is a 33-year old Brazilian central defender).

23/07/11

* Sporting Braga lost 1-2 (goals) at Spanish side Celta de Vigo in the Memorial Quinocho tournament on Friday. Joan Tomás put Celta in front from the spot on 52 minutes, Henrique equalised for Braga 15 minutes later, but Pillado gave Celta the win four minutes after that.
Braga lined up: Quim, Rodrigo Gallo, Nuno Coelho, Ewerton, Paulo Vinicius, Djamal, Alan, Hugo Viana, Guilherme, Lima, Nuno Gomes. (Also: Paulo César, Barbosa, Henrique, Baiano, Meyong, Imorou, Leandro Salino, Zé Luís, Marcos, Palmeira).

* Vitória de Setúbal beat Estoril of the Liga de Honra 3-1, with Bruno Severino getting two and Igor th other, while Licá replied for Estoril.

* FC Porto have signed Brazilian full back Alex Sandro from Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonado for 9.6 million euros. His contract is for five years, the rescission clause set at 50 million euros.

* Sporting have signed Spanish forward Diego Capel from Sevilla on a five-year contract for 3.5 million euros. The rescission clause in his new contract is of 30 million euros. Asked what he could give to the club, he said: "Everything!"

* Carlos Saleiro has moved from Sporting to Swiss club Servette on a two-year contract

* The Public Prosecutor's Office has formally accused members of the board, players and coaching staff of Nacional of fraud in respect of contracts signed between 2002 and 2005. Payments were allegedly made to players and coaching staff in such a way as to avoid the payment of taxes.

 

Benfica's new signing Joan Capdevila arrives at
Lisbon airport, looking like he means business.
Exactly what kind of business, well ...

22/07/11

* Nacional are through to the third preliminary round of the Europa League after beating Icelandic side FC Hafnarfjordur 2-0 (goals) in Madeira; the first leg had finished 1-1. Luís Alberto put Nacional in front on 55 minutes, with Candeias finishing the visitors off on the stroke of time. Nacional play Swedish club Hacken in the next round.
The teams lined up:
Nacional
: Elisson, João Aurélio, Felipe Lopes, Danielson, Nuno Pinto, Luís Alberto, Skolnik (Ivan Todorovic 87), Mihelic (Elizeu 70), Edgar Costa, Oliver (Candeias 74), Mateus.
FH Hafnarfjordur : Gunnleifssson, Bjarnason, Aegeirssson (Saevarsson 81), Vidarsson, Sverisson, Vilhjalmsson, Atli Bjornsson (Atli Gudnason 46), Hallfredsson, Snorrason, Runarsson (Gudmundsson 81), Hannes Sigurdsson.

* Vitória de Guimarães will play Danish side FC Midtjylland in the same round.

* FC Porto beat Rio Ave 3-1 (goals) in the latter's official presentation to their fans on Thursday. Kléber got two headed goals and João Moutinho scored directly from a corner in windy Vila do Conde. João Tomás replied from the spot for Rio Ave.
The teams lined up:
Rio Ave
: Paulo Santos, José Gomes, Gaspar, Eder, André Dias, Bruno China, Vítor Gomes, Braga, Saulo, João Tomás, Pateiro. (Also: Huanderson, Tiago Costa, Jeferson , Tarantini, Tiago Pinto, Dinei, Jorginho, Wires, Feliz, Gilmar, Rafinha).
FC Porto: Bracali, Sapunaru, Rolando, Otamendi, Fucile, Fernando, João Moutinho, Ruben Micael, Varela, Kléber, Djalma. (Also: Beto, David, Souza, Sereno, Castro, Bellushi, Maicon, Addy, Kelvin, Christian, Walter).

* The Portuguese Liga was the sixth strongest in the world last season, according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). Top is the Spanish league, followed by Argentina, Brazil, England and Italy. After Portugal came Paraguay, Colombia, Chile, France and Germany.

* Benfica confirmed the signing of Spanish left back Joan Capdevila, 33, from Villareal on a two-year contract. Capdevila's contract has a rescission clause of 20 million euros. He was in T-shirt and shorts as he was shown around the club's museum by Rui Costa.

* Quote of the day:
"The truth is that there's practically no difference between Benfica and Barcelona." Benfica's new signing, former Barça forward Nolito.

21/07/11

* Benfica beat Toulouse 1-0 (goal) at the Luz on Wednesday in the official presentation of the squad to the club's supporters. Central defender Jardel scored the only goal two minutes from time. The game saw the débuts of Brazilian left back Emerson, Argentinian central defender Garay and Portuguese international goalkeeper Eduardo, who arrived from Génova this week.
The teams lined up:
Benfica: Artur (Eduardo 46), André Almeida (Nuno Coelho 68), Javi García, Fábio Faria (Garay 46), Emerson, Matic (Jardel 68), Urreta (Enzo Pérez 46), Aimar (Witsel 46), Nolito (Gaitán 46), Bruno César (Saviola 46), Cardozo (Jara 46, Mora, 80)
Toulouse: Ahmada, Congre, Fofana (Akpro 81), Abdennour, MBengue, Devaux, Firmin (Sirieix 69), Braaten, Sissoko, Tabanou (Paulo Machado 65), Bulut (Pentecote 69)

* Vitória de Guimarães lost to Desportivo das Aves 1-0, their second defeat of the pre-season. Newcomer Quinaz got the goal for the Liga de Honra side.

* The other Vitória, de Setúbal, drew 0-0 at Sporting de Covilhã.

* Paços de Ferreira beat the Players' Union side 5-1 with goals from Melgarejo (2), Michel, Vítor and Luisinho. Ozeia put through his own goal to give the Union a consolation.

* Académica, under new coach Pedro Emanuel, went down 2-3 to Arouca. Sissoko and Pape Sow got the goals of Os Estudantes, while Babanko, Vinícius and Hugo Monteiro scored for Arouca.

* Beira-Mar beat Azores side Santa 1-0, the goal scored by Artur.

* União de Leiria beat relegated Naval 1-0 with a goal from Jô.

* Newly promoted Feirense lost 0-1 to Leixões, Fausto scoring.

* FC Porto have loaned Argentinian midfielder Tomás Costa to German side Cologne.

20/07/11

* FC Porto have signed Brazilian midfielder Danilo, 20, from Santos for 13 million euros.

* Nigerian striker Ekele Udojoh, 21, has signed for Marítimo, joining João Luiz (ex-Beira-Mar), Domenighini (ex-Cobreloa) and Pouga (ex-Vaslui).

* Sporting Braga beat Moreirense 4-1 in a friendly on Monday. Meyong on 38 minutes (penalty) and Miguel Oliveira (own goal) saw Braga 2-0 up at the break, while Nuno André Coelho and Pizzi made it four in the second half. Bruno Moreira pulled one back for Moreirense near the end.
Braga lined up: Berni, Baiano, Nuno André Coelho, Henrique (Ewerton 31), Imorou, Djamal, Hugo Viana, Alan, Mossoró, Lima, Meyong. In the second half the following came on: Quim, Rodrigo Galo, Custódio, Douglas, Nuno Gomes, Salino, Pizzi, Guilherme, Vinícius.

* União de Leiria will play for the next three seasons at the municipal stadium of nearby Marinha Grande. The Leiria Municipal Stadium, built for Euro 2004, has proved a massive white elephant and money pit, and the city council want to sell it off.

19/07/11

* Sporting ended their training camp in Holland on Sunday with a 3-0 win (goals) over Turkish side Ankuruguçu, with Hélder Postiga, Van Wolfswinkel and Diego Rubio getting the goals. American cenral defender Onyewu came on for his début in the second half. Sporting's next port of call will be Canada where they meet Sporting Toronto (22 July) and Juventus (23).

18/07/11

* Benfica clinched the Guadiana Tournament (their fifth in 11 editions) by drawing 2-2 (goals) with Anderlecht in the Algarve on Sunday. Saviola put Benfica in front, Lukaku and Suarez turned it around for the Belgian side before the break, and Urreta, reportedly on his way out of the Luz on loan, equalised for Benfica five minutes from time.
Benfica lined up: Artur Moraes, André Almeida (Daniel Wass 77), Javi García, Miguel Vítor (David Simão 25), Fábio Faria, Matic, Enzo Pérez (Nolito 46), Witsel (Aimar 46), Gaitán (Bruno César 46), Saviola (Cardozo 46), Jara (Urreta 46).

* FC Porto beat SC Verl 3-1 (goals). The German side went in front through Jeton Arifi, but Porto came back through Kléber, fed by Hulk, Hulk from the spot, and Kléber again, following up a shot from … Hulk.
F.C. Porto lined up: Beto, Sereno, Otamendi, Maicon, Addy, Castro, Fernando, Hulk, Kelvin, Djalma, Kléber (Also: Fucile, Kadu, Sapunaru, Rolando, Souza, João Moutinho, Ruben Micael, Belluschi, Varela).

17/07/11

* FC Porto drew 0-0 (highlights)with Borussia Mönchengladbach in a friendly in Oberhausen, Germany on Saturday. The game was marked by the sending off on 22 minutes of Hulk by German ref Thorsten Kinhofer, who had booked the brazlian international for words and then showed a second card when Porto's best player up to that point applauded sarcastically.
FC Porto lined up: Helton, Sapunaru, Rolando, Maicon, David, Souza, Rúben Micael , João Moutinho, Varela, Hulk, Walter. (Also: Bracali, Fucile, Otamendi, Fernando, Castro, Christian, Kléber, Sereno, Djalma.
After the game, midfielder João Moutinho denied contacts with Chelsea.

* Sporting also had two players sent off in their 3-0 (goals) win against Telstar in Holland: João Mário walked on 79 minutes, Diego Rubio three minutes later. Postiga put Sporting in front on 33 minutes, with Diego Rubio (65) and Wolfswinkel from the spot (77) confirming Sporting's third straight win in the pre-season.
Sporting lined up: Tiago, Pereirinha, Carriço, Ilory, Evaldo, André Santos, André Martins, Ricardo Esgaio, Djaló, Rubio, Postiga. (Also: Marcelo Boeck, João Pereira, Edgar Ié, Schaars, Bruma, João Mário, Zézinho, Van Wolfswinkel, Polga, Juary

* Sporting Braga drew 2-2 at Leixões after being two goals up through Hugo Viana and Meyong. Joel and Wesllem scored for the home side.

* A Bola reports that Spanish international left back Joan Capdevila is on the point of signing a two-year contract with Benfica. the club made the signing of Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay, 24, official on Saturday.

16/07/11

* Benfica beat Paris St Germain 3-1 (goals) in the opening game of the Guadiana Tournament, being played out in the Algarve. Cardozo put Benfica in front on 11 minutes, PSG equalised through Nené on 15, and Jara and Saviola gave Benfica the win in the second half.
Benfica lined up: Artur Moraes, André Almeida, Miguel Vítor, Javi García, Fábio Faria, Matic (Nuno Coelho 68), Bruno César (Witsel 46), Aimar (Jara 46), Enzo Pérez (Nolito 46), Gaitán (Urreta 59), Cardozo (Saviola 46)
PSG play Anderlecht on Saturday.

*
Rio Ave spoiled Vitória de Guimarães' official presentation to their fans, beating them 1-0 with a goal from Gilmar on the hour.

* Benfica will play Turkish side Trabzonspor in the third preliminary round of the Champions League. the first leg will be at the Luz on 26/27 July, the return on 02/03 August.

* Vitória de Guimarães will play The New Saints (Wales) or FC Midtjylland (Denmark) in the third prelimannry round of the Europa League, on 28 July and 4 August. If Nacional beat the Icelandic FH Hafnarfjördur, they will meet BK Häcken (Sweden) or Honka (Finland).

* Midfielder Pedro Mendes has returned 'home' to Vitória de Guimarães after rescinding his contract with Sporting.

* Sporting Braga have been fined 2,000 euros by the Liga's Disciplinary Commission. During half time of the home game against União de Leiria in the 28th jornada last season, photos turned up in the match officials' changing room showing decisions from the first half which went against Braga.

15/07/11

* Portugal's first taste of European football this season saw Nacional draw 1-1 (see goals)in Iceland to FH Hafnarfjördur on Thursday in the first leg of the second qualifying round of the Europa League. Edgar Costa put the Madeiran side in front just before half-time, with Bjarnason equalising on 67 minutes.
Nacional lined up: Elisson, Claudemir, Felipe Lopes, Danielson, Nuno Pinto, Luís Alberto, Mihelic, Skolnic, Candeias (Anselmo, 68), Mateus, Edgar Costa (Márcio Madeira, 85).

* FC Porto have extended Colombian striker Radamel Falcao's contract from 2013 to 2015, with the value of the rescission clause rising from 30 to 45 million euros.

* Fábio Coentrão, on tour with Real Madrid in Los Angeles, USA: "I was never sad at Benfica ... Smiling is normal here. I'm at the best club in the world - I can only be smiling."

* Elections for the top posts at the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) will be held on 10 December.

 

 

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