Posts Tagged ‘Paulo Fonseca’

Sporting-Benfica

Lisbon derbys always draw up a lot of excitement in the Portuguese capital. Jorge Jesus’ sensational move from Benfica to Sporting in the summer just added fuel to the already tense rivalry between the two sides. When the final whistle was heard at the Estádio da Luz on Sunday, Jesus had earned the last laugh with a 3-0 victory against his former club.

Despite a positive start for the home side, Sporting managed to grab an early lead when Colombian striker Teo Gutiérrez was able to get on the end of a long pass by Adrien. In the 21st minute, Islam Slimani scored with a thunderous header from a Jefferson cross. And later in the 1st half, Bryan Ruiz pounced on a rebound to put Sporting up 3-0.

Jorge Jesus’ return to the Estádio da Luz could not have gone more to plan. The loss will no doubt sting Benfiquistas supporters as much as it enthralls Sportinguistas.

It was Benfica’s first loss at home in a league match since a 3-2 defeat to FC Porto on 2 March, 2012, ending a run of 55 matches unbeaten. The result also had a far-reaching impact when it comes to the title race. Sporting now sit alone at the top of the table with 20 points after eight matchdays. Benfica remain eight points back, but have played one fewer match than their rivals.

Last year’s champions have now lost the first three matches of the season against the other two members of the ‘Big Three.’ But Benfica will get an opportunity to avenge this loss when they face Sporting again in Portuguese Cup action on 21 November.

What the managers said

Sporting manager Jorge Jesus:

“I did not expect to win 3-0. Did I believe Sporting would win. Yes. But not 3-0.”

“I am very happy to earn three points at the Estádio da Luz, especially considering the environment surrounding this match. I have a lot of respect for our opponents and Benfica. But, I want to give Sporting a lot of credit for the way they played. It is not easy to win 3-0 here.”

“There is a lot of pride in this victory. I spent six years at Benfica and played Sporting 14 times. Sporting only won once. Since I arrived here, we have played Benfica twice and won twice.”

“It was a brilliant victory at a place where I had some brilliant games and brilliant years…I am used to having great moments here [at the Luz]. Sporting played a great match.”

Benfica manager Rui Vitoria:

“It was a very unusual match. We created pressure in the Sporting zone to start, but after a fortunate bounce, they scored. That got into our player’s heads. Afterwards, we raised our game again, but Sporting scored a second and a third. It was a very unjust match because we thought that we were playing well. Sporting really took their opportunities.”

“I have gone through much worse professionally and personally. We do not want to go through moments like this but it is part of the growing process. We need to remember that we are Benfica and at this club we fight until the very end.”

“It is important to know that when we lose we need to be able to analyze. I have gone through a lot but this is one of the worst results I have been a part of.”

FC Porto held by Braga

FC Porto missed their chance to catch Sporting in the late match on Sunday. Julen Lopetegui’s side were unable to solve Braga and had to settle for a scoreless draw. They now sit in 2nd spot, two points behind Sporting. After the match, Lopetegui downplayed the significance.

“We are going into the 9th matchday. There is still a lot of time left. We are on a positive path and if we continue, we will be champions in the end.”

“We put a lot of players forward [against Braga]. We finished the match with three defenders and only one midfielder. We were in control throughout the match. But if we do not score, football will punish you.”

It was another positive result for Paulo Fonseca’s Braga club. Os Arsenalistas beat French giants Olympique Marseille in the Europa League on Thursday to bring their group stage record to three wins from three. The draw at the Estádio do Dragão means they sit in 4th position in the Primeira Liga.

In other action, Rio Ave gave up a late lead to Estoril and drew 2-2. Both clubs finished the match with ten men. Pedro Martins’ side remain in third place. Belenenses’ moved up to 10th in the table after a 1-0 victory against União da Madeira in the Monday night match. Second half substitute Tiago Caeiro scored in the 90th minute to give his team the victory.

Braga Team Photo

Overview: Sporting Braga will look very different this season. On the touchline, Paulo Fonseca replaces Sérgio Conceição who led the club to a 21 point improvement and a place in the Portuguese Cup final last campaign. Conceição’s brash style put him at odds with club president António Salvador.

Fonseca will get a second chance to prove he could handle a bigger stage after his previous tenure at FC Porto ended with him being dismissed in less than a year. Braga has been a good breeding ground for young managers in the past. Leonardo Jardim, Domingos Paciência and Conceição have all done well there.

The club lost several important players from last season including Pardo, Danilo, Sasso, Ruben Micael, Éder and Zé Luís. In response, Braga loaded up on unproven youngsters with good potential such as Matheus Pereira, Joan Román and Fábio Martins.

Os Arsenalistas are hoping to hold on to goalkeeper Matheus, as well as highly-rated midfielders Rafa Silva and Pedro Tiba. The departure of Éder and Zé Luís has left the club without a proven striker as well. Although neither were entirely convincing last season, they still managed to score 18 goals between them. Fonseca will need to replace that production.

Key Additions: Crislan (Penapolense), Rui Fonte (Benfica), Matheus Pereira (Corinthians), Ricardo Ferreira (Paços de Ferreira), Joan Román (Barcelona), Alef (Marseille), Rodrigo Battaglia (Moreirense), Fábio Martins (Sp. Braga B), Rodrigo Pinho (Madureira), Tiago Sá (Sp. Braga B)

Key Subtractions: Pardo (Olympiacos), Danilo (Valencia), Zé Luís (Spartak Moscow), Dolly Menga (Tondela), Sasso (Sheffield Wednesday), Éder (Swansea), Salvador Agra (Nacional), Vítor Golas, Ruben Micael (Shijiazhuang Yongchang)

Manager Profile: 42-year-old Paulo Fonseca is going into his first season with Braga. He had previous success in two stints with Paços de Ferreira, leading them to a best-ever third-place finish in 2012-13. He won the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira in 2013 during his time with FC Porto.

Players To Watch: Portuguese U21 midfielder Rafa Silva has been linked with several big clubs. If he stays, he should play a central role in Paulo Fonseca’s system this season. With Ruben Micael leaving for China, Rafa could move back to his natural position as playmaker or ‘number 10’ in midfield after playing as a winger for most of the past two seasons.

Expectations: Winning the league title is probably beyond any fan’s realistic projections. However, a top-three finish is very possible especially if things do not go well for one of the ‘Big Three.’ The club will be taking part in the group stage of the Europa League this season and should advance to the knockout stages, at least.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer

Portuguese sports website Maisfutebol is reporting that Ricardo Quaresma will sign a two and a half-year deal with FC Porto. The contract could be finalized as early as this week.

The Portuguese winger rescinded his contract with Dubai-based club Al Ahli and is expected to return to the club where he had the best moments of his career. Quaresma would arrive as a free agent which means the club will not pay a transfer fee.

Maisfutebol is reporting that the 30-year-old was in Porto last week and has now settled into a house north of the city. Porto manager Paulo Fonseca is currently planning to integrate Quaresma into training, according to the same reports.

Supremely talented, but with a volatile personality, Ricardo Quaresma never really fulfilled the potential many people had of him when he burst onto the scene.

He is best known for his exceptional ability, in particular the famous ‘trivela,’ which consists of striking the ball with the outside of the foot with great voracity. Goalkeepers were unable to read which direction the ball would be going until it was often too late.

A product of Sporting Lisbon’s famed academy, Ricardo Quaresma dazzled fans in his early days with the club. In 2003, he received his first call-up to the Portuguese national team. His performances earned him a transfer to FC Barcelona that same year.

At this time, most people considered him a better prospect than even Cristiano Ronaldo, who is two years younger. Ronaldo would move to Manchester United in 2003 and the rest as they say is history.

At Barcelona, Quaresma did not have a particularly great season, and fell-out with then manager Frank Rijkaard. A sign of things to come. Refusing to play for the club any longer, Quaresma moved to FC Porto.

Between 2004-08, Quaresma enjoyed the best years of his career. He won three league titles with the club and was named the best player in the league in 2006.

In 2008 he moved to Serie A club Inter Milan, who were then coached by José Mourinho. He saw very little game action over his two years at the Italian club. Quaresma’s attitude is said to have been a problem. He played no role in Inter’s 2009-10 Champions League win.

Quaresma was released ahead of the 2010-11 season. He signed with Turkish club Beşiktaş where he put together some good performances the next two seasons. He was re-called to the Portuguese national team and was even selected for Euro 2012.

But his personality would once again be a problem. At Beşiktaş he clashed with Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal and eventually the club released him. He signed with Al Ahli in January 2013.

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FC Porto have officially announced that former Paços Ferreira manager Paulo Fonseca will be in charge of the club next season. The 40-year-old Fonseca has signed a two-year contract with the Portuguese Champions, which includes a transfer clause of €15million.

Fonseca is coming off a season where he lead Paços Ferreira to an impressive third place finish in the Portuguese league, which included a Champions League playoff position for next season. He replaces Vitor Pereira who announced on Sunday that he would be joining Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia next season.

“I feel an enormous sense of pride, a wonderful feeling to be able to represent the national champions FC Porto. I could not be happier anywhere else,” Fonseca told media.

“I am an ambitious manager and this is what my squads have demonstrated. I like to have a good balance, it is important to control possession, this is the trademark of my squads.”

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The Portuguese Champions continue to load up on promising home-grown talent by signing midfielder Josué and forward Licá to four-year deals. 22-year-old Josué Pesqueira is a former Porto youth player who for the last two season has been playing with Paços Ferreira. While 24-year-old Licá has played the last two seasons with Estoril.

The deal comes several weeks after the club announced the signing of two other Portuguese youngsters Ricardo Pereira and Tiago Rodrigues from Vitória Guimarães. FC Porto have also signed Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo and Mexican defender Diego Reyes so far this transfer period.

The two players were unveiled together on the regional television channel Porto Canal and spoke about their excitement to join Os Dragões.

“I knew one day I would return (To FC Porto) but I never thought it would be so soon. I am a Portista at heart. This club is a winner and I am as well,” Josué said.

Josué was released by Porto in 2011 before signing with Paços Ferreira. He was a major reason why the club finished in third place this past campaign. “I was able to change my mentality. I was rebellious but I have changed. I will be able to win a lot because of it,” he said about his days at Porto.

Josué is nominally an attacking midfielder, but Paços manager Paulo Fonseca also played him on the left side this season. “I will be comfortable in any position the manager decides to play me. At Paços, I played as a false forward,” he said Wednesday night.

He scored 5 goals in 32 total matches this season and was the main creative force behind a surprising Paços Ferreira club.

Luís Carlos Pereira Carneiro, better known as Licá took the long road to the top of Portuguese football. He originally began playing with his local club Social Lamas in Lamelas. In 2007, he moved to top flight club Académica where he struggled for playing time. Eventually, he was loaned to Tourizense and Trofense.

In 2011, he moved to Estoril who were then playing in the second division Liga de Honra. Licá helped the club gain promotion the following season to the first division. This past season with Estoril, he scored 6 goals in 30 matches for the club.

According to Portuguese football website Maisfutebol Licá is an unconventional forward who likes to exploit the flanks and play in a more wide position. It is believed that FC Porto like this aspect of his game.

Licá talked about how Porto is the club he grew up admiring. “I was born into a family of Portistas and I am a Portista. I am enormously happy, it is a dream to wear the jersey of FC Porto,” he told media Wednesday.

“I always believed that, if I continued to work hard, I could achieve what I wanted and this is what has happened. I had an excellent season at Estoril, Porto noticed me and now I am here. I am 24 years old and FC Porto has won many titles since I was born. It is a winning club.”

“I will be very content in whatever position the manager chooses to use me. I prefer to play on the left side of attack but I am completely at their disposal.”

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Portuguese midfielder Josué has been one of the major breakthrough performers in the Liga Zon-Sagras this year. Known as a natural playmaker, the 22-year-old has been the focal point of an impressive Paços de Ferreira team that currently sits in fourth place.

In recent years, the Seleção has relied on a trio of box-to-box midfielders to distribute the ball to the wings to create offensive. Portugal has lacked a true playmaker since Brazilian-born Deco played for the team. And before him, former Fiorentina and AC Milan player Rui Costa. But now, it finally looks like they have one in Josué.

Born Josué Filipe Soares Pesqueira (Or just Josué) in Ermesinde, the young midfielder entered the junior ranks of near-by FC Porto in 2007. After graduating to the senior side in 2009, Josué was loaned to S.C. Covilhã, F.C. Penafiel and finally to Dutch side VVV-Venlo in 2010-11.

In 2011, Josué was released by Porto and eventually signed by his current club Paços de Ferreira. This year, he has flourished as part of a resurgent club under manager Paulo Fonseca that is well on its way to producing the best record in the club’s history.

Josué was recently named the best young player in the Portuguese league for the month of February and spoke about the impact Fonseca has had on his development.

“I have learned a lot from manager Paulo Fonseca, who has always said that a player needs to be balanced. I have remained balanced emotionally, and I keep both feet firmly on the ground, because football is a game of moments. Right now I am living through a good moment and I will take full advantage of that,” he said recently.

In March 2013, Portuguese media reported that Josué was on Portugal manager Paulo Bento’s pre-squad for World Cup qualifiers against Israel and Azerbaijan, though he was left out of the final squad. A regular on Portugal’s junior squads, perhaps his first call-up to the senior side is not too far away.

Speculation has linked Josué with a transfer to Portugal’s traditional big three clubs, as well as a move abroad to Europe’s best leagues.

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FUTEBOL - antunes no treino da Seleccao AA de Futebol Na Praia D¿el

Left-back Vitorino Antunes joined the Selecção at their training facility in Óbidos on Tuesday. Paulo Bento had originally left him out of the Portugal squad for two upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifying matches announced last week.

Antunes’ call-up was considered by some to be long overdue. Antunes has been in terrific form this season with Portuguese club Paços de Ferreira and on-loan with La Liga club Málaga. He was a late selection to the squad, and his place will not impact any other player’s position in the squad.

The 25-year-old already has 3 caps to his credit, having first been called up in 2007. But after being signed to Italian giants AS Roma, he did not received much playing time and his career began to stagnate.

Upon arriving with his teammates in Óbidos, Antunes talked about what representing Portugal means to him. “I have worked very hard to be called up. The news was very welcome at home by my family and especially by me. I am always very proud to represent Portugal,” he said.

He was also asked whether he thought he deserved to be selected earlier. “Should I been called sooner? I cannot make that sort of evaluation. I just need to do my work, give my all with my club and in the opportunities that arise. The manager thought it was the right time to call me,” Antunes added.

It has certainly been a long journey for him. Antunes began playing for his local club Freamunde in the third level of Portuguese football. In 2006, he was signed by near-by Paços de Ferreira where he began to make a name for himself at the professional level.

While at Paços, Antunes helped the club finish 6th in 2006-07 and qualify for European competition for the first time in the provincial club’s history. He played in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup and received his first call-up to the Portuguese national team that year.

It looked like Antunes would be Portugal’s left-back of the future. Many clubs took notice, but Antunes was signed by Serie A giants AS Roma on loan for the 2007-08 campaign. Despite playing sparingly that year under then manager Luciano Spalletti, the club exercised an option to sign him to a permanent deal.

The following season, he was sent on loan to newly promoted Lecce. This was followed by another loan to Portuguese-side Leixões, followed by Livorno and Panionios in Greece.

In June 2012, Antunes was finally released by Roma. His old club Paços de Ferreira eventually re-signed him to a new three-year deal. Antunes quickly took advantage of his new opportunity, earning a starting position at left-back with Paulo Fonseca’s club.

Antunes was one of the best performers in the first half of the Portuguese Championship, starting 14 matches and scoring 3 goals for the surprising Paços de Ferreira side who currently stand in fourth position.

His performances earned him a loan deal to La Liga’s Málaga who were looking to replace Nacho Monreal, now at Arsenal. Antunes has been manager Manuel Pellegrini’s first-choice left-back from the start. Most recently, Antunes helped the Spanish side eliminate Porto in the Champions League.