Joao Paiva curses winter break PDF Print E-mail

Striker and team on the up after poor start to season

Joao PaivaJoao Paiva admits that the winter break in Switzerland has come at the worse possible time, after the Portuguese striker helped his side to a memorable 5-1 win over champions Basel at the weekend.

It has been a campaign to forget for Luzern thus far, with the team having spent most of the season bottom of the table, several points adrift of safety. Indeed, Paiva’s men had won just two of their sixteen matches heading into Sunday’s match at home with last season’s double winners Basel at Stadion Allmend.

However, Luzern defied their position by running out 5-1 winners, with Portuguese Nelson Ferreira putting them 3-1 up ahead of half time, and second-half substitute Paiva emerging from the bench to score twice. The striker now has four goals in two matches, having bagged a brace in the 4-1 win over La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss Cup four days earlier.

Second-half weapon

“It was good, very important,” Paiva said. “After I scored the goals in the cup I hoped to start (against Basel) but the manager said he was holding me back for the second half. And after all, when I came on we were already winning 3-1. I scored the last two goals.

“How did we do it? We played well and we caught Basel tired and unmotivated after their defeats in the Champions League. We are improving and recovering our form. For the team the winter break arrived at the worst possible time. For me, also: now I scored four, football goes on Holiday….”

Former Sporting trainee Paiva has been in Switzerland since the summer, when he joined from Cypriot club AEK Larnaca, having previously been a national champion and regular goalscorer with Apollon. However, his last season in Cyprus with AEK was difficult, and Paiva struggled for offers before choosing to sign for Luzern.

Portuguese clubs prefer foreigners

“AEK had many problems and I asked to leave. I helped the team, which was struggling not to go down, to finishing in a historical 4th place in the league. It was good. Then I waited for offers from more competitive championships, but people still look at Cypriot football with cynicism and nothing appeared. I came to Luzern and now things are going well.

“Would I return to Portugal? The current market is not interested in Portuguese players that play abroad. In my position, they will mainly look to sign foreign players. While it is like this, it will be difficult to return,” concluded the 25-year-old.

December 17 2008, by Sean Gillen

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