It was a busy weekend of goalscoring for the Portuguese abroad contingent as leagues across Europe draw to a close. Cristiano Ronaldo is at the forefront of the action, having scored to help Juventus to a priceless victory over Inter in Italy to keep their chances of Champions League qualification alive.
Elsewhere, Bruno Alves produced a sensational goal in Serie A for relegated Parma, while Raphaël Guerreiro also found the net in spectacular fashion for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. More goals came from the likes of João Cancelo, Mathias Pereira Lage and Fabio Martins as Portuguese players hit the net in as many as 12 different countries.
While André Silva and Gonçalo Guedes stole our headlines in the section this week with their doubles for Eintracht Frankfurt and Valencia respectively, arguably the most important goal of the last few days was scored by Seleção captain Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday as Juventus met Inter in Serie A.
Juve’s hopes of Champions League qualification have suffered hugely in recent weeks, but Saturday saw the Bianconeri’s hopes of a top four place given new life after they beat champions Inter 3-2 in Turin. The result, coupled with Milan’s failure to beat Cagliari at home means Juve are just one point behind their rivals with a far more favourable final day fixture.
A tense, VAR-heavy encounter fell into Juve’s favour in the 23rd minute when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Giorgio Chiellini by Matteo Darmian. Ronaldo stepped up to take the spot kick and saw his effort saved by Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, but fortunately for the Portugal man the rebound fell kindly enough for him to tap in from close range.
Inter would twice equalise during the match, with the second leveller coming after 10-man Juve had replaced Ronaldo following the sending off of Rodrigo Bentancur. When Juventus were awarded a second penalty on 88 minutes with the score at 2-2, Ronaldo’s duties were passed over to Juan Cuadrado who converted to give the recently displaced champions all three points.
After the match, Juve boss Andrea Pirlo was asked about Ronaldo’s substitution. “I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off,” Pirlo said. “We were one man down, and he’d have been chasing shadows. He was happy and smiling in the dressing room.”
Juventus remain in 5th but are just a point behind Napoli and Milan above them ahead of next weekend’s final match at Bologna. Most encouragingly for the Bianconeri, rivals Milan face a daunting trip to 2nd place Atalanta next Sunday, leaving the possibility of Ronaldo’s side stealing a top four place on the final day.
Bruno Alves Golaço
Bruno Alves’ goal on the same day in Serie A for relegated Parma was less meaningful for his team but was undoubtedly the best strike of the weekend. Veteran centre-back Alves struck early on in Parma’s 3-1 home defeat to Sassuolo, connecting on the far side of the penalty area with a terrific volley to equalised as the Ennio Tardini just after the half hour mark.
Parma went on to lose the match to record an eighth straight league defeat in what has been a disastrous end to the season. Captain Alves, who turns 40 later this year, will leave the club in the summer and has already been linked with a return to Portugal with Boavista as he looks to extend his career.
Cancelo, Guerreiro on target
Arguably Portugal’s starting full-back options João Cancelo and Raphaël Guerreiro scored goals this weekend for Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in England and Germany respectively. Both players have enjoyed impressive individual seasons and it will encourage Seleção boss Fernando Santos to see their attacking efficiency ahead of the Euros.
Cancelo scored his second Premier League goal of the season just days after his Manchester City side were confirmed champions. City beat Newcastle in an entertaining 4-3 win on Friday night, with Cancelo’s sharp strike with his right foot taking a slight deflection before nestling in the bottom corner to draw his side level at 1-1 in the first half. Bernardo Silva also started, but Rúben Dias was rested by City boss Pep Guardiola.
Guerreiro has been typically productive in the Bundesliga with Dortmund and his goal in the 3-1 win at Mainz took him onto 15 goal involvements in the German league. A superb finish on his favoured left foot gave Dortmund the lead midway through the second half and was Guerreiro’s 5th goal in the Bundesliga to add to an impressive ten assists.
The rest: Mathias Lage, Fabio Martins among goals
Former Portugal U21 international Mathias Pereira Lage scored for Angers away at Marseille in Ligue 1 on Sunday evening. French-born midfielder Lage scored his team’s first goal as they came from two goals down to level at 2-2, but Marseille snatched a late winner five minutes into stoppage time as Arkadiusz Milik completed a hat-trick.
In Switzerland, there was a brace for another ex-Portugal youth international as Mickael Almeida scored twice for Aarau in their 3-1 win at FC Thun in the Challenge League. Almeida, who was part of Portugal’s U17 European Championship winning squad in 2016, scored a particularly nice opener with a swift control and volley in the first half.
Elsewhere, Legia Warsaw lifted the Polish Ekstraklasa title on the final day having clinched the trophy earlier this month. Legia beat Podbeskidzie 1-0 in front of their home fans and Portuguese striker Rafael Lopes scored the winning goal. Also in Poland, former Varzim midfielder Tiago Alves managed a late consolation for Piast Gliwice in their 3-2 home defeat to Wisla Krakow.
Finally, Fábio Martins continued his good goalscoring form in the Saudi Arabian Pro League with his 7th of the season from 22 appearances for Al-Shabab, who were beaten 4-3 at Al-Ittifaq. In Greece, ex Belenenses forward Sturgeon scored in OFI’s 2-2 draw with Panaitolikos, while Tino Barbosa scored to help edge Dudelange closer to the Luxembourg title with a 6-2 win at Una Strassen.
Finally, there were further goals for Marcelo Lopes, who struck for Voluntari in their 3-0 victory over Astra in Romania; Hildeberto for Kunshan in China as they ran out 6-0 winners against Jiangxi Beidamen; Ruben Rodrigues in Notts County’s 2-2 draw with Bromley in the English National League; finally in Cyprus where there were doubles for Diogo Ramos (Sotiras) and André Farinha (Xylotympou) and a goal for Miguelito of Ethnikos Achna.