Posts Tagged ‘Tiago Ilori’

Mexican Winger Jesus Corona Joins FC Porto

Mexican Winger Jesus Corona Joins FC Porto

Portuguese clubs were busy up to the final hours of this summer’s transfer window. The August 31st deadline marked the end of one of the most eventful transfer periods in recent memory.

FC Porto was the most active in the final days, signing Mexican pair Jesús Corona and Miguel Layún. The club signed Corona from Twente for €10,5 million and will possess 70% of his ownership rights. While, full-back Layún arrives on loan from Watford. He should bolster the club’s flanks after the departure of both Danilo and Alex Sandro.

Porto also loaned out Ricardo Pereira, Adrián López, Hernâni and Juan Quintero. Former Portuguese international Rolando moved to French giants Marseille on a permanent deal, finally ending a long standoff with the club.

Benfica made two low profile signings on Monday. Marvin Loría arrived on-loan from Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica. The deal includes an option to buy. They also signed defender Emir Azemovic from Partizan Belgrade. Both players are expected to remain with the B squad this season. The club also loaned Daniel Candeias to Ligue 2 club Metz.

But it was the deals they made on Tuesday that drew much attention. The transfer deadline was one day later in England than most of Europe and Benfica took advantage, sending two underachieving players on-loan to the Championship. Dutch Winger Ola John joined Reading FC and Nelson Oliveira moved to Nottingham Forest. For Oliveira, it is his sixth loan since 2009.

Sporting sold Chilean striker Diego Rubio to Spanish second division club Real Valladolid. Defender Ramy Rabia was also sold to Egyptian club Al-Ahly for €750,000. Wilson Eduardo, who has spent the last few seasons on loan, was allowed to join Braga. No terms have been released.

Braga and Belenenses bolster their line-ups

Outside of the ‘Big Three’, Braga made several good signings. Os Guerreiros do Minho signed highly rated Brazilian midfielder Filipe Augusto on-loan from Rio Ave. They also signed Spanish midfielder Aarón Ñíguez on a free transfer after he opted out of his contract with Elche.

And they made possibly the most surprising move of any Portuguese club in the final week, sending Pedro Tiba on loan to Real Valladolid. Tiba blamed Braga manager Paulo Fonseca for his loss of playing time.

“Why did I stop being a starter? Ask the manager! I came here [Valladolid] because I knew that I would not be as happy as I was last season. I was called up to three league matches and did not leave the bench. Am I ready to play? Of course I am,” he said.

The club also loaned Colombian forward Erik Moreno to Real Valladolid, along with Tiba. Tiago Gomes moved to Metz on a season-long loan as well. Brazilian defender Aderlan Santos was sold to Valencia. Braga announced that they made a handsome profit of €16,3 million from the transfer window, proving once again that the club is a model of fiscal management.

Lisbon-area club Belenenses qualified for the group stages of the Europa League last week. They significantly boosted their chances of advancing into the knockout stages by making two very cost-effective deals. They signed Cape-Verdan winger Kuca on loan from Karabükspor. He was excellent last season for Estoril. They also signed Luís Leal on a season-long loan from APOEL.

AS Monaco add Marcos Lopes and Fábio Coentrão

Leonardo Jardim continues to put his stamp on AS Monaco, signing Marcos Lopes and Fábio Coentrão. Coentrão arrives on loan from Real Madrid. The Portuguese international will be looking to revive his career after two injury-plagued seasons at the Bernabeu.

Marcos ‘Rony’ Lopes signed a five-year deal with Monaco. His departure from Manchester City caught many by surprise, even his own manager it seems. Just hours before the deal was announced Manuel Pellegrini told media that the 19-year-old would be loaned out this season.

Lopes famously scored just minutes after coming on in his senior debut with the club in a January 2013 League Cup match against Watford. It seemed that he was destined to be the first academy graduate to establish himself in the senior squad since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008. But it was not meant to be.

The deal seems to reflect a new reality in football. Rich clubs like Manchester City are under immense pressure to win championships every season and therefore, they do not have the time or patience to develop young footballers. Teams like City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and others are preferring instead to buy the finished product.

Still, it looks like it could be an excellent move for Marcos Lopes. He spent last season on loan at Lille and knows the French league well.

“Monaco is an excellent club for a player to develop. It is going to be a good challenge for me,” he said.

Monaco will be a club to watch for fans of the Portuguese game. Coentrão and Lopes join Bernardo Silva, Ivan Cavaleiro, Ricardo Carvalho, João Moutinho and Hélder Costa, to bring the total to seven Portuguese players.

In Spain, the club to watch is Valencia, which boasts three talented young Portuguese players in Ruben Vezo, Andre Gomes and João Cancelo. Not to mention Portuguese manager Nuno Espírito Santo. There are also strong Portuguese contingents at Real Madrid and Sevilla.

In two lesser known cases, English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday has a strong Portuguese presence as well. As does Ligue 2 club Metz, which recently added Daniel Candeias and Tiago Gomes.

Elsewhere, Portugal U21 defender Tiago Ilori was loaned by Liverpool to Premier League club Aston Villa. It will be his third loan spell since leaving Sporting in 2013. Undoubtedly talented but he has been terribly unlucky with injuries.

Seleção in action

Portugal will face Euro 2016 hosts France in a friendly on Friday in Lisbon before traveling to Albania for a qualifier next Monday. Fernando Santos will be without Moutinho, William Carvalho, Coentrão and Andre Gomes because of injuries.

According to reports, Santos has been practicing with a midfield trio of Danilo, Adrien and João Mário. The Portuguese manager is expected to drop the ‘false 9’ in favour of Éder as the striker, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani. French-born Adrien spoke about the match against France.

“France is a great squad but so is Portugal. I believe it will be a very close match. We need to control possession and take advantage of France’s weaknesses,” Adrien.

Portugal are in first-place in group I with three matches left. The Seleção lost to Albania 1-0 in their first Euro 2016 qualifying match last September. It would prove to be Paulo Bento’s last match in charge of Portugal. No doubt revenge will be on the mind of some of the players.

Rui Jorge’s new-look U21 squad will also face Albania in its first Euro 2017 qualifier on 8 September. It is the squad’s first match since the loss to Sweden on penalties in the final at the last European Championships earlier this summer. Gonçalo Paciência was forced to withdraw because of an ankle injury. Belenenses winger Fábio Sturgeon has taken his place on the squad.

William Carvalho Could Start In Brazil

William Carvalho Could Start In Brazil

The World Cup is still just over three months away and already many analysts and fans are trying to predict who Paulo Bento will bring to Brazil this summer.

The Seleção manager is expected to make his official announcement on May 19th, just before the squad re-convenes in Cascais for training. Portugal’s 5-1 defeat of Cameroon on March 5th in Leiria only raised expectations ahead of world football’s greatest event.

For most of Portugal’s recent World Cup qualifying campaign Paulo Bento relied on a group of experienced veterans that have been with the squad since he took over in 2010.

The Portugal manager has been criticized for being too conservative with his selections, while not recognizing the age and decline of several of his key players.

But in recent matches, Bento has showed signs that he may be ready to bend, calling up FC Porto midfielder Josué, Benfica defender Andre Almeida, Olympique Lyonnais goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, among others.

Against Cameroon, Bento surprised everyone by starting Sporting Braga’s Rafa Silva and Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro up-front with Cristano Ronaldo. This added to the perception that Paulo Bento is ready to embrace Portugal’s emerging generation of talent.

Here now is a list of 15 young players that could be on Portugal’s World Cup squad in Brazil.

Anthony Lopes, Olympique Lyonnais, Goalkeeper

The 23-year-old goalkeeper has been in excellent form this season for the French club. A serious back injury threatened to derail his World Cup dream in November, however, he has since recovered and resumed his position as Lyon’s number one goalkeeper.

Lopes received his first international call-up in September but is yet to receive a cap. However, he was selected for the recent friendly against Cameroon. Lopes is likely to face competition from FC Sevilla’s Beto and Sporting Braga’s Eduardo for one of the two positions behind Rui Patricio.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Olympique Lyonnais Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes Hopes To Realize World Cup ‘Dream’

André Almeida, Benfica, Right-Back/Defensive Midfielder

A very dependable and versatile player, who has seen his playing time at Benfica dramatically reduced this season. The 23-year-old is most comfortable on the right side, but could also play left-back and in midfield. Although, he is limited on the offensive side of the ball.

Almeida played very well for Portugal in two World Cup qualifiers in October in place of the injured João Pereira. However, he was not selected against Cameroon. Portugal are very deep at the full-back positions and it seems unlikely that Almeida will be going to Brazil.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Benfica’s André Almeida Breaks Through

Cédric Soares, Sporting Lisbon, Right-Back

An offensively gifted full-back that has been a major part of Sporting Lisbon’s success this season. The 22-year-old is widely considered as a future star for the Selecção. He received his only international call-up in October 2013 but did not play.

Soares’ situation is the same as André Almeida. Despite João Pereira’s poor season, he is still widely expected to start in Brazil. Miguel Lopes, Antunes and Sílvio are all more experienced alternatives. But the Sporting right-back is one for the future.

Related Post: PLAYER PROFILE: Cédric Soares Targeted By Several Clubs in England And Germany

Tiago Ilori, Liverpool (On Loan at Granada), Central Defender

The 21-year-old moved to Liverpool this summer after some excellent displays at the end of last season with Sporting Lisbon. He did not see any action with the English club in the first half of that season and was sent on loan to La Liga club Granada.

Portugal does not have a lot of depth at the centre of defence. Pepe and Bruno Alves are both over the age of 30. Ilori is a top-level prospect and if he could manage to put together some consistent performances for Granada, Paulo Bento could decide to bring him to Brazil.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Central Defender Tiago Ilori

William Carvalho, Sporting Lisbon, Defensive Midfielder

William Carvalho’s place on the squad is an almost certainty. If he stay healthy, it is only a question of whether he will start in Brazil or not. The 21-year-old has been a revelation for Sporting Lisbon this season and has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.

Carvalho received his first cap in the deciding leg of a World Cup qualifying play-off against Sweden in November. The youngster was brought on to help preserve the lead. He received his first start against Cameroon and earned rave reviews with his performance. Whether it is a direct result of Carvalho or not, Portugal looked more organized and stable defensively than they had throughout qualifying.

Related Post: Scout Report – William Carvalho

Josué, FC Porto, Attacking Midfielder

A talented midfielder, who has also been used as a winger at times this season with Porto. Josué is a modern playmaker who has great vision, passing ability and a strong sense of the game. However, he has a history of disciplinary issues, including a suspension for spitting earlier this season.

He received his first cap with Portugal against Israel in October. He started his first match with the Selecção just days later against Luxembourg and played very well. Since then, Josué has been regularly selected for the squad. He has received four cap with Portugal so far.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Paços de Ferreira’s Playmaker Josué

Adrien Silva, Sporting Lisbon, Central Midfielder

Adrien Silva is an interesting case. As Sporting Lisbon’s manager, Paulo Bento gave Adrien Silva his senior debut in 2007. Since then, the French-born Silva has been on loan twice. He has been integral to Sporting’s success this season and was recently named his club’s Player of the Year for 2013.

Adrien was selected in September 2013 as an injury replacement for Ruben Micael but did not receive a cap. Portugal’s depth in midfield means that he is unlikely to be selected for Brazil. His name has been around so long that many forget that he is only 24-years-old. His time may not have arrived, yet.

Related Post: PLAYER PROFILE: Sporting Lisbon’s Adrien Silva Is Finally Living Up To His Potential

André Martins, Sporting Lisbon, Attacking Midfielder

Sporting Lisbon’s midfield ‘brain,’ André Martins has been behind many of the club’s scoring chances this season. Martins is probably the closest thing that Portugal has to a ‘pure’ playmaker. He possesses strong offensive instincts, combined with excellent passing and an ability to control the match.

The 24-year-old has received two caps with Portugal but has not been selected since August 2013. Like several players on the list, Martins will likely be a victim of Portugal’s depth in midfield. But with Raul Meireles and Ruben Amorim aging, it is realistic to think that Martins’ days with the Selecção are not too far away.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Promising Midfielder André Martins

André Gomes, Benfica, Central Midfielder

Another supremely talented midfielder, 20-year-old André Gomes has not seen very much first-team action with Benfica this season. Although he has continued to play regularly and produce for Benfica B in the second division. Gomes will need to work his way back into Jorge Jesus’ line-up to have any chance of going to Brazil.

He received his only call-up to the Selecção for an international friendly with Ecuador in February 2013 but did not see any action. The young midfielder was a hot commodity during the January transfer window before his rights were sold to a third-party investment fund. He is certainly one to watch for the future.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Benfica Midfielder André Gomes Is Being Pursued By Europe’s Top Clubs

Rafa Silva, Sporting Braga, Attacking Midfielder/Winger

The 20-year-old was signed by Braga from second division Feirense last summer. Expected to play a limited role, Rafa played himself into a regular starting position this season. He has speed, vision, as well as excellent dribbling and passing ability.

Paulo Bento played Rafa and Ivan Cavaleiro alongside Cristiano Ronaldo against Cameroon on March 5th. He would play the entire first half, making two very good attempts on goal. However, he aggravated a thigh injury during the match and is expected to be out for six weeks. He should be back playing well before the squad is chosen on May 19th.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Braga Midfielder Rafa Silva Is A Potential Future Star

Ivan Cavaleiro, Benfica, Winger

The young winger began this season with Benfica B in the second division. His performances earned him some first-team action. However, since the New Year Benfica manager Jorge Jesus has not used him very much. Eduardo Salvio’s return from injury, combined with Benfica’s title aspirations could mean that Cavaleiro will not play very much before the World Cup.

Cavaleiro had a nervous first-half against Cameroon, but did manage a beautiful back-heel assist to Fábio Coentrão for Portugal’s third goal in the 5-1 win. The Selecção has several of their regular wingers injured, including Nani and Zenit St.Petersburg’s Danny. Paulo Bento could be tempted to take Cavaleiro to Brazil.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro Is Hoping To Break Into The Senior Squad

Bruma, Galatasaray, Winger

The extremely promising Bruma arrived on the scene a year ago with Sporting Lisbon. After a contract dispute this summer, the youngster left for Turkey. He won the Silver Shoe at the 2013 U-20 World Cup, scoring five goals in four matches. He had a positive start to the season with Galatasaray before suffering a serious knee injury in early January.

In October, Bruma was call-up by Paulo Bento as a replacement for the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s final World Cup qualifying match against Luxembourg. However, he was not selected for the Sweden matches in November. Bruma is expected to be out a while longer and faces a race against time just to be ready for Brazil.

Related Post: PLAYER PROFILE: European Giants Chase Sporting Lisbon’s Bruma

Carlos Mané, Sporting Lisbon, Winger

A speedy, skilled winger who has worked his way into more playing time with Leonardo Jardim’s squad in recent weeks. The 19-year-old has earned accolades for scoring some excellent goals this season as well. He has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer.

Mané has yet to receive a call-up to the Selecção but it would be foolish rule it out. Paulo Bento’s change of heart regarding young players on the squad could mean that there is room for Mané. He suffered a thigh injury in a recent match for the U-21 squad which is not expected to keep him out for long. If he continues to play regularly for Sporting, Mané could just earn a spot.

Related Post: SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Carlos Mané Scores Brilliant Goal Against Marítimo

Nélson Oliveira, Benfica (On Loan at Stade Rennais), Striker

A Wild Card at the striker position for Portugal. Oliveira first came to prominence at the 2011 U20 World Cup for Portugal. Currently on loan in Ligue 1, he started the year positively but has not scored since November 2nd. He was selected for Euro 2012 but has not been part of the squad for the last several matches.

Paulo Bento has demonstrated a lot of faith in the 22-year-old in the past. He is currently battling a thigh injury which could keep him out weeks. There is still time for Oliveira to demonstrate that he is ready to produce on the international level. But he needs to start scoring again.

Related Post: TRANSFER WINDOW: Benfica Striker Nélson Oliveira Officially Joins Rennes On One-Year Loan Deal

Pepe Will Lead Portugal's Defence  Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Roger Gorączniak

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Roger Gorączniak

Over the next few weeks Futebol Factory will be analyzing Portugal at each position. At centre back, Portugal boasts a very experienced group of players.

Pepe and Bruno Alves have carried the load for the Selecção for the last few years and are widely expected to do the same in Brazil.

Paulo Bento will bring four centre backs to the World Cup. Luis Neto and Ricardo Costa appear to be front-runners to grab the two back-up positions, but with more than half the season to go there is plenty of time for others to mount a challenge.

Tickets Booked: Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), Pepe (Real Madrid), Luis Neto (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Ricardo Costa (Valencia)

On The Bubble: Daniel Carriço (Sevilla FC), José Fonte (Southampton), Henrique Sereno (Kayserispor), Miguel Vítor (PAOK), Rolando (Inter Milan), Tiago Ilori (Liverpool)

Brazilian-born Pepe will lead the Portuguese back line in Brazil. The 30-year old missed the beginning of the last World Cup with a serious knee injury. One of Portugal’s best performers at Euro 2012, he famously traveled to the shrine-town of Fátima after the tournament to pray. After a poor 2012-12 season, he has been in good form so far this year.

Pepe will likely be partnered with Bruno Alves, who also has Brazilian heritage on his father’s side. The 31-year old is a tough tackler, a free-kick specialist, and is dominate in the air. He is currently playing with Fenerbahçe in Turkey with fellow Portuguese international Raul Meireles.

Manager Paulo Bento has been very consistent with his selections at centre-back. Valencia captain Ricardo Costa and Zenit’s Luis Neto have both performed admirably when called upon.

But that does not rule out the possibility of another player being selected for the squad. Injuries and a decline in form could open the door for someone else.

Rolando, who is on loan at Inter Milan from FC Porto, has received caps during Bento’s time as Portuguese manager. So has Kayserispor’s Henrique Sereno.

After that there are some intriguing players that could play themselves onto the squad. Southampton’s José Fonte has been in excellent form this season for the club and some feel that Bento has unfairly overlooked him.

Former Benfica player Miguel Vítor has also impressed with Greek club PAOK this season. Former Sporting Captain Daniel Carriço is finally healthy and if he manages to put together some consistent performances with Sevilla, Bento could be tempted to select him.

Liverpool youngster Tiago Ilori remains a possibility, but he would need to start playing regular football before he could be considered.

Related Posts:

FEATURE: 10 Portuguese Players Who Need To Improve Before The World Cup

The Goalkeepers: Who Will Represent Portugal At The World Cup In Brazil?

FEATURE: 7 Young Players That Could Help The Seleção Reach World Cup 2014

FEATURE: 5 Players That Could Help Portugal Beat Sweden And Reach Brazil 2014

TRANSFER WINDOW: Portuguese Defender Bruno Alves Officially Joins Fenerbahçe

PLAYER PROFILE: Former Benfica Defender Miguel Vitor Loving Life In Greece

TRANSFER WINDOW: Former Sporting Idol Daniel Carriço Moves To Sevilla On Loan

SCOUTING REPORT: Sporting Lisbon’s Central Defender Tiago Ilori

TRANSFER WINDOW: Portuguese Defender Rolando Loaned To Inter Milan

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/Juntas

Sporting Lisbon manager Leonardo Jardim seldom shows much emotion when he speaks but even he could not hold back after his club’s latest victory on Sunday against Olhanense.

The notoriously serious 39-year old manager praised his player’s effort, saying that they deserved to win because they were the best team on the field.

“Sporting proved to be a team that likes to play good football, pressing hard, offensive-oriented and supportive. I believe that this club will continue to grow,“ Jardim added after Sporting’s 2-0 win.

Sporting’s new signing Colombian striker Fredy Montero scored shortly after the second half began. Portuguese midfielder Andre Martins scored a second at the hour mark to give Sporting the victory over the Algarve club.

The victory was the club’s third in four matches to start the season. The only blemish was a 1-1 draw against city-rivals Benfica. Os Leões sit second in the league behind FC Porto, having outscored their opposition 12-2 so far this campaign.

Just 4 competitive matches into his career with one of Portugal’s ‘Big three,’ Jardim already appears to be winning over many of the club’s faithful who have suffered through some terrible seasons.

What a difference a few matches could make. Sporting dominated Olhanense in the first half of Sunday’s match and were unlikely to be leading at the half. In recent seasons, the club would become visibly frustrated when faced with any kind of adversity.

But this year’s Sporting appears to be different.

Breaking With The Past

The club’ improving performances on the field are the result of a dramatic change of attitude at the club that has permeated down to the players. It has surely taken a long time for this to happen.

Current Portugal manager Paulo Bento was the last to achieve any kind of success with the club. Since he was fired in 2009, Sporting have had eight managers. None of which has achieved any consistent results.

Boasting 18 Portuguese League title, along with 15 Portuguese Cup, the club has not won a single trophy since the 2007-08 campaign. At the same time they have been burdened with mounting debt and disciplinary issues.

In 2011, after two poor seasons, its supporters elected Luiz Godinho Lopes as the club’s new president with the promise that he would attract new investment.

Sporting’s Alcochete academy is one of the most exceptional in Europe, having produced two Ballon D’or winners in Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. The club has historically relied on developing young talent, many of which have gone one to play for Portugal.

Godinho Lopes decided to break with this tradition and purchased expensive foreign imports who, for the most part never managed to improve the club’s performances.

Elias, Danijel Pranjić, Oguchi Onyewu, Gelson Fernandes and others never adapted well to Portuguese football and were loaned out. Others like Stijn Schaars and Khalid Boulahrouz were often injured in their time at Alvalade.

At the same time academy players like Andre Santos, Wilson Eduardo, Adrien Silva and Andre Martins were either benched or loaned to other clubs.

With continuously poor results the club frequently showed signs of having discipline issues. In a January 2012 league cup match against Moreirense F.C, Sporting was given a penalty in the late stages with the score tied.

Bulgarian forward Valeri Bojinov shoved regular penalty taker Matias Fernandez away and took the penalty himself, which he missed. Bojinov never played for the club again and then manager Domingos Paciência was fired soon after.

Paciência’s replacement, Ricardo Sá Pinto was fired after a poor start to the 2012-13 campaign and replaced by Belgian Franky Vercauteren who lasted less than 3 months.

Veteran manager Jesualdo Ferreira was appointed in January 2013 and injected some new players into the club’s formations including central defender Tiago Ilori and über-talented winger Bruma. The club’s performances improved but but not enough to qualify for the Europa League.

A New Hope?

In March, the supporters elected life-long Sportinguista Bruno de Carvalho as the new president. He immediately set out to repair the club’s fledgling reputation. With the club not able to agree on a permanent contract with Jesualdo Ferreira, De Carvalho appointed Leonardo Jardim manager in May.

At the news conference announcing his hiring, Jardim spoke directly to fans and promised that things would be different from now on.

“I want to completely rebuild the club, with the unity and support of all sportinguistas, as well as through hard work. It is in our nature to believe and I know we will give our best to improve. I will not set targets, long or short-term. But we will build on what we have; with enough ambition it is possible to win every match. That is why I am here,” Jardim said.

“I want the unity of everyone at the club, with the objective to return it to its rightful place. In football, it is not only about the manager but also about the strong foundation around them,” he added.

What has emerged is a Sporting Lisbon under an austerity regime that looks re-energized and ambitious for the first time in years.

The club terminated its contracts with Onyewu, Pranjic, Boulahrouz and Bojinov. Schaars moved to PSV, while budding star Bruma demanded a major raise which the club was not able to meet and was sold off to Galatasaray.

The makeup of this year’s Sporting will look very familiar to long suffering fans. 7 of the 11 players in Jardim’s starting XI against Olhanense were academy players.

Wilson Eduardo and William Carvalho have returned from loan spells and have played well for the club. While midfielders Andre Martins and Adrien Silva have received call-ups for the Seleção.

This combined with the addition of Colombian striker Fredy Montero and the resurgence of Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo, Sporting appears destined for a top 3 finish this year.

Speaking to reporters this week, Bruno de Carvalho reaffirmed his belief that the new Sporting has the quality and resolve to win again.

“Leonardo Jardim and I are fulfilling a life-long dream. Our hard work has begun to pay off and with the support of sportinguistas, this could continue for many years. There is a sense with this Sporting squad that when the first negative result arises we could pick ourselves up again.”

Defensive woes were Portugal’s undoing as Edgar Borges’ Under-20 squad fell to Ghana in the round of 16 on two late goals.

Borges’ squad began the match positively in the opening minutes when Bruma set up Aladje for an excellent chance, only to see the striker miss the open net. But Ghana proved to be a stubborn opponent until the end.

In the 19th minute, Ghana’s Kennedy Ashia fired an excellent shot from 30 yards away into the top corner of the net. Ghana went into half-time with the upper hand.

But Portugal did not quit. The Portuguese tested the Ghanaian backline on several occasions in the early stages of the second half. In the 71st minute, Portugal finally broke through when defender Tiago Ferreira fired in a loose ball in the box to even the score.

Moments later, Edgar Ié heads in a brilliant cross from Ricardo Esgaio, giving Portugal the lead. It would be short lived.

In the 79th minute, Sporting’s Tiago Ilori fails to clear a dangerous ball in front of goalkeeper José Sá. Michael Anaba scores to even the score with ten minutes left to play.

In the 85th minute, Richmond Boakye scored off a free-kick deep in the Portuguese zone to give Ghana the victory.

Manager Edgar Borges said after the match that Portugal did enough to win against Ghana and were unlucky to be eliminated. “We felt like the game was on our side and that we deserved to win.”

“Portugal began the match very well, we had two or three good opportunities from the start. Their goalkeeper played very well and deserves credit,” Borges added.

“We dreamed and we fulfilled our obligation by passing the group stage, but we never promised a title because in these elimination matches anything could happen. Therefore, I have to assume the entire responsibility for this result.”

Related Posts:

PORTUGAL: Bruma Joins Squad That Will Represent Portugal At the U-20 World Cup

MATCH REVIEW: Portugal Slumps To Draw Against South Korea At U20 World Cup

MATCH REVIEW: Bruma Lifts Portugal To Victory Over Nigeria At The U20 World Cup

MATCH REVIEW: Bruma Inspires Portugal To Easy Victory Over Cuba At The U20 World Cup

Defensive mistakes continue to plague Portugal, as Edgar Borges’ U20 squad drew 2-2 with North Korea on Monday in Turkey. The Seleção will need a win against Cuba on Thursday to go through the group stage in first-place.

Borges made a few changes to the squad that beat Nigeria on Friday. Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Ilori replaced Tiago Ferreira in central defense. Barcelona’s Agostinho Cá replaced Ricardo Alves in midfield, while Ricardo Esgaio started on the wing, in place of Ricardo Pereira.

The match began well for Portugal, when Alaje scored off a brilliant cross from João Mário. The Seleção continued to press the South Koreans, with Bruma and Aladje looking the most dangerous in the first half hour of play.

But South Korea gradually came into the match in the last ten minutes of the first half. Just before half-time, Seung-Woo Ryu got in between Ilori and Edgar Ié, delivering a brilliant shot that goalkeeper José Sá could not handle.

Portugal began the second-half with a sustained period of pressure. In the 60th minute, Bruma fired a hard shot just outside the box that eluded Korean goalkeeper Chang-Geun Lee. It was the Sporting Lisbon winger’s third goal in two matches.

After a series of poor clearing attempts, Hyun Kim was able to score inside the box to level the score at 2-2 with 15 minutes left.

After the match, manager Edgar Borges stressed that Portugal must start taking advantage of good scoring opportunities.

“It was a very competitive match, with each club playing a different style of football. What made the difference was the efficiency of the South Korean offense. In three good scoring opportunities, they scored two goals. We had many more opportunities, but we did not capitalize on the majority of our chances,” he said of his team’s performance.

“Korea was not surprising, nor did they demonstrate anything that we did not already know. The truth is that they played their game very well,” he added.

VIDEO: Bruma’s Goal Against South Korea At U20 World Cup

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MATCH REVIEW: Bruma Lifts Portugal To Victory Over Nigeria At The U20 World Cup

PORTUGAL: Bruma Joins Squad That Will Represent Portugal At the U-20 World Cup

Two goals by Sporting Lisbon’s Bruma helped Portugal beat Nigeria 3-2 in group B action at the U20 World Cup in Turkey.

Manager Edgar Borges fielded a starting XI with an attacking force of Aladje as the striker along side Bruma and FC Porto’s new signing Ricardo Pereira. Maritimo’s José Sá started in goal and made a number of outstanding saves at key periods of the match.

Benfica’s André Gomes started in midfield, alongside Sporting Lisbon’s João Mário and Belenenses’ Ricardo Alves. Noticeably missing from the match was Sporting’s central defender Tiago Ilori whose father is Nigerian.

After a nervous start by both clubs, the Seleção were the first to strike at the half-hour mark. Sporting Lisbon’s João Mário put Bruma in on goal and he made no mistake putting Portugal ahead. A few minutes later, the Nigerian goalkeeper mishandled a shot by Ricardo Pereira. Aladje was able to score easily on the rebound.

Portugal went into half-time with a comfortable 2-0 lead despite some defensive mistakes and careless giveaways by the midfield. The problems continued early in the second half and Nigeria made them pay. Abdul Ajagun would score in the 57th and 67th minute of play to even the score.

Nigeria’s hopes would soon be dashed when second half substitute Ricardo Esgaio set up Bruma for his second of the night. Edgar Borges’ team held on the rest of the way to open the U20 World Cup with a win.

Borges said after the match that he was happy with the victory, but stressed that the squad needs to minimize give aways and tighten up defensively. “I am very satisfied with the victory, but the truth is that it could have been an easier win. Nigeria are an excellent squad and caused us many problems,” Borges said.

“I would have prefered not to have conceded so many goals to the opposition, but we still did enough to win. The victory was entirely deserving.”

Portugal will play South Korea on Monday. A victory would assure them a position in the knock-out stage.

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GIL VICENTE - SPORTING    ( 2012/2013 )

Sporting Lisbon winger Bruma was the most notable addition to Portugal’s U-20 squad that will participate in the upcoming World Cup in Turkey. Sporting’s Tiago Ilori, Benfica’s Andre Gomes and FC Porto’s Ricardo Pereira also made the squad.

Edgar Borges’ U20 squad finished fourth in the recent Toulon Tournament after losing to France in the third place match. Along with Bruma, Borges added right-back João Cancelo, goalkeeper Bruno Varela, and forward Gonçalo Paciência, who is the son of current PAOK manager Domingos Paciência.

Notables left off the squad include Betinho, Ivan Cavaleiro, Piqueti, André Pereira and Frederico Venâncio, who were all at the Toulon tournament.

Portugal are drawn in Group B, alongside Cuba, South Korea and Nigeria. The squad faces Nigeria in their first match on June 21st.

A defensively-minded squad lead by veteran manager Ilídio Vale surprised everyone by making it to the final of the previous World Cup two years ago, losing to Brazil. Portugal heads into the tournament this year with a squad full of promising players.

When asked about his squad’s chances of winning their third U20 championship, manager Edgar Borges was quick to dismiss any high expectations. “Everyone always hopes for the best. Who does not dream should not be part of a project like this, but we know that it will be very difficult,” Borges told media at the news conference.

“We are very proud to have on our shoulders the expectation to win and we will do everything we can to do so. I cannot promise a title, but we will do whatever it takes to get there.”

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Bruno Varela (Benfica), José Sá (Marítimo) e Rafael Veloso (Belenenses);

Defenders: Edgar Ié (FC Barcelona), Kiko (Vitória FC de Setúbal), João Cancelo (Benfica), Mica (Sporting), Tiago Ilori (Sporting), Tiago Ferreira (FC Porto) e Tomás Dabó (Sporting de Braga);

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó-Zé (FC Porto), João Mário (Sporting), Agostinho Cá (FC Barcelona), Alves (Belenenses) e Tiago Silva (Belenenses);

Forwards: Aladje (FC Aprilia), Bruma (Sporting), Gonçalo Paciência (FC Porto), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto) e Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting).

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FUTEBOL -  Leonardo Jardim apresentado como o novo treinador do Sport

Former Beira-Mar and Sporting Braga manager Leonardo Jardim was officially unveiled as the new manager of Sporting Lisbon on Monday. The 38-year-old replaces Jesualdo Ferreira who took over the club in late December 2012.

“I come to stabilize Sporting with the objective to win. Throughout my career I have consistently won matches and it is this objective that I will bring here. It will not be easy. Sporting is coming off their worst campaign in history and I want to change that by restructuring the club, with hard work and with the unity of all Sportinguistas,” Jardim told journalists at a press conference on Monday.

Club president Bruno de Carvalho told media that Jardim was an easy choice for Sporting manager and added that he fits in well with the club’s philosophy.

“It was a personal choice, as well as one for the club. I am not always easy to work with, but we understand one another very well and for that I want to say that in terms of ideology, projections, will, reach and ambition, there are many things that connect the two of us,” Carvalho said.

Jardim first came to prominence with Beira-Mar when he lead the Aveiro-based club to promotion to the first division of Portuguese football in 2010. A streak of bad results lead to his firing the next season but he was soon hired by Sporting Braga.

Jardim lead Sporting Braga to one of their best campaigns in their history in 2011-12, finishing third behind FC Porto and Benfica. But Jardim left before the start of this season due to his tense relationship with the club’s president António Salvador.

The young manager quickly joined Greek giants Olympiacos where he put up an impressive record. However this January, he was again let go despite the club being undefeated and leading the Greek League by 10 points.

Many Sportinguistas will lament the departure of veteran manager Jesualdo Ferreira who was the only manager since Paulo Bento left in 2009 to produce some positive results. He made the announcement that he would not return at a post-match news conference after the club’s 4-1 defeat of Beira-Mar.

“We never talked about money. This was not motivated by financial issues. I came to this decision with great sadness, it was one of the most difficult moments in my career but it was also a moment of honesty. I could not be the manager for next year if I did not feel that the conditions were not right,” Ferreira told Journalists.

Ferreira was the third manager of Sporting Lisbon this season and replaced Franky Vercauteren in late December. His decision to play young players like Tiago Ilori, Bruma, Andre Martins and Englishman Eric Dier lead to a noticeable improvement in the club’s performance.

Jardim and club president Bruno de Carvalho will no doubt have their work cut out for them turning around the fortunes of a club that has greatly underachieved in the last several years and is burdened by debt. Estimates vary but it is believed to be at least €220 million.

Carvalho will no doubt have to decide on the future of several underperforming players who were brought in under his predecessor Godinho Lopes. They include Khalid Boulahrouz, Stijn Schaars, Evaldo, Elias, Oguchi Onyewu, Danijel Pranjić, Valeri Bojinov and Gelson Fernandes.

Also with Dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s departure to Norwich, Sporting need to find a replacement. They have been linked with Lazio’s Libor Kozák in recent weeks.

The good news is that Sporting have many assets under contract. Their youth development system rivals the best in European football. Forward Wilson Eduardo and defender Nuno Reis spent this year on loan and played well. Will they get their chance to play at Alvalade regularly next season.

In addition, the club has many quality players that other clubs want. Tiago Ilori has been linked to Premier League giants Liverpool. Winger Bruma has been linked with just about every major club in Europe. Cedric Soares is likely to leave for England or Germany this summer.

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio has been strongly linked to Arsenal as well. Plus there is also Andre Carrillo, Zakaria Labyad, Marcos Rojo who Carvalho might choose to cash in on this summer. Many promising young players like Ricardo Esgaio, João Mário, Betinho, Zézinho and Gaël Etock are looking to take their places.

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Portugal will field an impressive squad for this year’s Toulon Tournament which will begin at the end of May. The tournament is an annual event in southern France and will act as a preparation for next month’s U-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Portugal is drawn in the more difficult group B alongside Belgium, Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil. Mexico is the defending champions of the Toulon Tournament which Portugal did not qualify for last year. Edgar Borges’ club will begin the tournament on May 31st against Belgium in Nîmes. Borges has previously coached Portugal’s U-17 and U-19 squads.

A surprising Portuguese club coached by Ilídio Vale reached the finals of the previous U-20 World Cup in 2011 losing to Brazil. Current Chelsea midfielder Oscar scored all three goals in the final to help defeat Portugal 3-2 in extra time.

The Portuguese squad included Nelson Oliveira, Nuno Reis, Roderick Miranda, Cédric Soares, and Amido Baldé. Brazil did not qualify this year for the World Cup in Turkey. This time around, expectations are much higher for the squad.

Benfica’s André Gomes, Sporting players Tiago Ilori, Betinho and Ricardo Esgaio, Porto’s recent signing Ricardo Pereira, as well as Barcelona’s Agostinho Cá and Edgar Ié were just some of the players added to the squad on Friday.

Notable omissions include Sporting 18-year-old winger Bruma and Manchester City’s Marcos Lopes. The squad for the U-20 World Cup will be announced at a later date.

FULL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: André Pereira (Vitória Guimarães), José Sá (Marítimo) e Rafael Veloso (Belenenses).

Defenders: Edgar Ié (Barcelona), Kiko (Vitória Setúbal), Frederico Venâncio (Vitória Setúbal), Michael (Sporting), Tiago Ilori (Sporting), Tiago Ferreira (FC Porto) e Tomás Dabó (Sporting Braga).

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tó Zé (FC Porto), João Mário (Sporting), Agostinho Cá (FC Barcelona), Alves (Belenenses) e Tiago Silva (Belenenses).

Forwards: Aladje (FC Aprilia), Betinho (Sporting), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica), Piqueti (Sporting Braga), Ricardo Pereira (Vitória Guimarães) e Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting).

Manager: Edgar Borges

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