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Monday, 25 August 2014 09:47

Weekend round-up: Mané saves Nani’s blushes, Jackson scores again

Rio Ave, V. Guimarães, Belenenses, Porto and Benfica lead the way

carlos-mane-arouca.jpgPorto, Sporting and Benfica all won 1-0 this weekend. Jackson Martínez (who else) scored for the Dragons at Paços de Ferreira, a last-gasp goal from Carlos Mané earned Sporting all three points at home to Arouca, while Eliseu’s fine strike gave Benfica victory on Boavista's artificial pitch last night (match report). 
Elsewhere Vitória Guimarães, Belenenses and Rio Ave (top of the nascent league) all continued their fine starts to the season with convincing second straight wins.
The story of the weekend took place at Sporting’s Alvalade stadium on Satruday night, where a crowd of close to 40,000 turned up to watch Nani’s homecoming. Despite showing some lovely touches, with a series of clever turns and threatening crosses, the Manchester United player’s big day threatened to go sour when he insisted on taking a spot kick instead of regular penalty-taker Adrien. Well into the second half, with the game still goalless, Nani’s effort was superbly saved by Arouca’s impressive Uruguayan goalkeeper Goicoechea, and shortly afterwards Nani was substituted, to his evident frustration.

Mané at the death

Without playing particularly cohesive football Sporting had been probing all match, only to be denied by the inspired Goicoechea time and time again. Coach Marco Silva went all out attack, playing the final 15 minutes in a 4-1-5 formation, in which the lone midfielder Adrien was outstanding. Just when it seemed Arouca would escape from Lisbon with a point, Japanese striker Tanaka’s close-range shot came back of the post and Carlos Mané pounced to knock in the rebound and give Sporting their first win of the season.
Earlier in the day Jackson Martínez’s typically opportunist strike proved the winner as an uninspired Porto laboured to victory at Paços de Ferreira. There was a blow ahead of Porto’s crucial Champions League second leg against Lille in midweek as Tello limped off the pitch early with a thigh strain, although substitute Quintero did a fine job as his replacement, and provided the cross for the only goal of the game.

New signing

Porto’s most expensive summer signing Adrián López failed to impress on his debut, while coach Lopetegui dropped Quaresma from the squad altogether, reportedly after the winger had expressed his disappointment playing only the last minute of the first-leg match against Lille. Nevertheless, the northerners appear to have the squad with the most solutions, and were further strengthened with the weekend purchase of Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar.
Pedro Martins has made a fine start to life as Rio Ave boss. After narrowly losing the Super Cup to Benfica, and still well in contention to make the Europa League group stage, the Vila do Conde side thrashed Estoril 5-1 away yesterday to top the standings. A hat-trick from Egyptian striker Hassan and a brace from Pedro Moreira blew away the Canarinhos.
Vitória Guimarães also made it two wins out of two with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Penafiel. Ghanaian forward Bernard Mensah, just 19 years old, again showed he is one to watch with a brace, Tomané adding the third near the end.

All smiles at Belenenses

Belenenses had a long-suffering campaign in 2013/14, only guaranteeing survival on the final day of the season, but things look different this time round. Goals from Deyverson, Dantas and Fredy gave the Azuis a 3-1 victory over Nacional, which sees them among the group of early pace-setters on six points.
Marítimo and Vitória Setúbal both clocked up home wins over Académica and Gil Vicente respectively.
Week Two comes to a close tonight with Moreirense v Braga.
by Tom Kundert 

Comments (3)
Nani wasn't bad
3 Monday, 25 August 2014 20:32
I don't usually watch Sporting games.. but I was curious to see Nani back in green and white.

I thought he did just fine and helped Sporting maintain possession. The Arouca goalkeeper made some outstanding saves. He finger tipped Nani's penalty off the post.

Nani must learn his role as a contributor and not try to be a star.
Thankful Sporting got win they deserved!
2 Monday, 25 August 2014 16:52
Sporting totally dominated this game all throughout but Arouca did play really tight at the back. However Sporting should've made more of their chances as well, Fredy needs to get back lethal. Sporting keeping Slimani would be good cause Slimani is a powerful striker who would've finished those chances in my opinion. Gameplay possession wise Sporting were great just need to be more lethal in finishing.

Well pointed out Val, Adrien was incredible again as he has been for a long time now, Adrien is the engine and heart of Sporting thats a fact the man has been amazing all last season too, thats why he obviously should have been on the national team and why all Sportinguistas were screaming for his selection. He not only could've been a great sub, but actually is ready to start. A midfield of William, Adrien and Moutinho would've been good. Anyways its great that Adrien is keeping on playing amazing and Bento can't ignore it anymore.

Nani actually played really well, his touches, passes dribbling, crosses, runs were all amazing and a great sight to watch, the guy's incredibly talented and a great player for Sporting. Now whether we play Nani and Carillo or Nani and Mane we're sure to have an incredible wing duo. Its a pity he missed the penalty, Adrien is clinical at those and really should continue to take them, but don't fault him for trying to take it, was his first game back and it would've been special to score it. Apart from that he played great and showed that he's top class. If Slimani had played Sporting woud've benefited much more from Nani's crosses too. He's a great player for us and we'll do great going forward.
Same ol Nani
1 Monday, 25 August 2014 13:44
This should of been a fantastic return to his roots but instead it highlighted the problem with Nani all along, SELFISH and dumb.

This reminded me of the time Ronaldo ran through 4 Spanish players (2010 friendly) and chipped the ball over Casillas. As the ball was sailing into the netting for a goal of the century, Nani decides to try and steal the glory by heading in the ball. He was called offside, and Ronaldo livid...........

Fast forward 5 years and its the same ol Nani, million dollar legs, 5 cent head.

Anyhow it was a great game to watch and really made me realize the true star was not brought in, but already there, Adrien!! Wow, what a fantastic player, very excited to watch him grow every season. Classy as well in the interview. Forget Nani, Adrien Silva is the true heart of Sporting.

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