Portugal Football League
Four matches have been played and only three points separate first place from tenth. While I don’t necessarily expect Nacional and Leixões to be top o’ the table contenders when it’s all said and done, as I’ve intimated in the past, the matches at the start of the season count for just as many points as the matches at the end. A fast start to a football season never hurts, regardless of whatever matches may lie ahead.
This week saw Porto get back to their winning ways after a disappointing draw with new boys Rio Ave last week. Benfica took this year’s first round of the Lisbon derby with Sporting by resoundingly defeating Paulo Bento’s side 2-0 at home. Trofense look sure to go right back down after being promoted this year with yet another trouncing, this time at the hands of smokin’ Manny Cajuda’s V.Guimarães. Here are the rest of the scores, superlatives, and le tableau.
Porto 2 – 0 P. Ferreira
Braga 1 – 1 Naval
V.Setúbal 1 – 0 Rio Ave
Benfica 2 – 0 Sporting
Marítimo 2 – 0 Académica
Nacional 1 – 2 E. Amadora
Trofense 1 – 3 V.Guimarães
Belenenses 0 – 1 Leixões
Hero of the Week — Vidigal, Estrela da Amadora — An away brace to secure the three points against current front runners Nacional is “Hero” material in my book. Although, as you’ll see in the highlights below, the Amadora keeper was no slouch either in doing his part to take home the victory.
Goats of the Week — Trofense — This is more of a “Goats of the Season Thus Far” award, but a 3-1 ass kicking at the hands of V.Guimarães in the fourth match of the season means they’re still without a point. I know they just got promoted, but did they miss the Liga Vitalis that badly that they’ve given up three goals in three of their first four matches?
Clean Sheets of the Week — Helton (Porto), Bruno Vale (V.Setúbal), Quim (Benfica), Marcos (Marítimo), and Beto (Leixões).
Table (After 4 Matches Played)
1.) Nacional – 9
2.) Sporting – 9
3.) Leixões – 9
4.) Porto – 8
5.) Benfica – 8
6.) V.Setúbal – 7
7.) V.Guimarães – 7
8.) Naval – 7
9.) E.d.Amadora – 7
10.) Académica – 6
11.) Marítimo – 4
12.) Braga – 4
13.) Rio Ave – 2
14.) Paços de Ferreira – 1
15.) Belenenses – 1
16.) Trofense – 0
I used to preview the matches for whatever clubs were involved in the Champions League, but since we now have a writer for
the Tripeiros Porto, he’s gladly assumed responsibility for handling that for his club. Go read his musings, and leave me alone!
Since O Belem and Sexy Leixy still have a match to play today, I’ll reserve the weekly superlatives (as I have in the past) for tomorrow’s full recap.
Porto returned to their winning ways and Sporting got worked in the Lisbon derby by a Benfica that got stronger and stronger as the match wore on. Until the recap tomorrow, feast your eyes on the yummy (or not so yummy, depending on who you support) results below…
Porto 2 – 0 P. Ferreira
Braga 1 – 1 Naval
V.Setúbal 1 – 0 Rio Ave
Benfica 2 – 0 Sporting
Marítimo 2 – 0 Académica
Nacional 1 – 2 E. Amadora
Trofense 1 – 3 V.Guimarães
Belenenses v. Leixões
As you’re all well aware (and according to the big bosses, I’ve made you too aware) I’ve been away for a while with vacation and work. I’m back rolling now and after a terrible scolding from the Mormon Alliance who are clearly our largest sponsor on this site, I’m also back to being more topical. I’m sorry if I got off track with filler describing my vacation in Vegas but sometimes T&A is just too exciting not to blog about it (see our “WAGs” section).
Don’t you worry: the man won’t get us down. Since there are about eleven English speaking people with the Internet who are interested in Portuguese football ramblings, we have to keep this blog on the Offside in tact. I let my wife down way too often, so my quota for let downs is maxed out (with my immediate family thus rounding out the total to five). I won’t let you down, my faithful loves. And I don’t think this weekend’s fixture schedule will let you down either.
-=Jornada 4=- (All times Local) We’ve got a hell of a early season derby (hence our friend in the “derby hat” to the left here) between Sporting and Benfica on the docket for tomorrow. It’ll be played at Benfica’s home court, Estadio da Luz, and seeing as how tight Benfica played Porto at home earlier, I don’t expect their early season troubles to make this game anything less of a gem to watch. This week’s edition of FixtureFacts reflects this blog’s fashion forward take on life and brings you each club’s home sock color indicated parenthetically. Yes, we care about what goes on their feet, Lieutenant Dan.
Friday, September 26th @ 21:15 — Porto (Royal blue and white) v. P. Ferreira (Yellow)
Saturday, September 27th @ 17:15 — Braga (Red) v. Naval (Green)
Saturday, September 27th @ 19:00 — V.Setúbal (White) v. Rio Ave (Green)
Saturday, September 27th @ 20:45 — Benfica (Red) v. Sporting (Green and White Hoops)
Sunday, September 28th @ 16:00 — Marítimo (Red) v. Académica (Black)
Sunday, September 28th @ 16:00 — Nacional (Black) v. E. Amadora (White)
Sunday, September 28th @ 20:15 — Trofense (Blue) v. V.Guimarães (White)
Monday, September 29th @ 19:45 — Belenenses (Blue) v. Leixões (Red)
I might be off on some of those colors as I had to research both the Portuguese Liga website as well as Wikipedia and they didn’t exactly agree each time. The Liga website had written descriptions that contradicted the pictures of the uniforms they gave. Feel free to kill me in the comments if you like
Have a great weekend, catch the Sporting – Benfica game if you have access to RTP (10:15 PM Eastern on RTPi). Otherwise, I’ll see you back again on Monday with less gushing over Vegas and more Portuguese football. Kisses ALL AROUND!
I’m back. Back from three days in Virginia for work and four days in FABULOUS, FUCKING AMAZING, SUPER AWESOME NEVER WANT TO LEAVE, Las Vegas. Regular blogging will now resume. Just not right at this moment. Hopefully a bit later on in the day: workin’ man’s got appointments this mornin’, bee-yotches.
The league international break continues through the weekend and the next meaningful league matches are going to be played at the end of next week.
I’m going to Virginia for work this Sunday though Wednesday then on Thursday morning I’m headed to Vegas for my cousin’s bachelor party. You’ll get updates whenever I’m a) awake, b) sober, and c) able to acquire internet. I don’t plan on being b) much in Vegas, and I think the internet might take a back seat to explaining why I’m wearing a wedding ring to some drunk and available blonde ladies. I think I’m going to go with either “I wear it in honor of my wife who I miss dearly and died in a boating accident” for the sentimental value or maybe the hopeless romantic angle: “My wife left me months ago but I still have an amazing love for her and I prefer to be reminded of the great times we had.” I’ll try both out and let you know which one gets me in the sack with a chick that looks like this faster. I know you’ll all be waiting with bated breath.
We’re two matches into the season and the table is starting to take some sort of shape. I used to boycott putting the table in the weekly recaps because I was sick of seeing Porto at the top for the past three years.
However, now that I have my own Portuguese team blog with Sporting I guess I’ll have to transfer the bias over there and do my best to be somewhat objective. I can’t promise that I’ll be entirely unbiased, but neither can the anchors on FoxNews.
This isn’t going to be a weekly bit, as I’ll have the table at the bottom of the recaps going forward. I just figured I’d give you a quick peek at the clubs and what points they’ve gotten so far:
1 – Nacional – 6
2 – Sporting – 6
3 – V.Setúbal – 4
4 – V.Guimarães – 4
5 – Porto – 4
6 – E. Amadora – 3
7 – Braga – 3
8 – Naval – 3
9 – Leixões – 3
10 – Académica – 3
11 – Benfica – 2
12 – P. Ferreira – 1
13 – Belenenses – 1
14 – Rio Ave – 1
15 – Marítimo – 0
16 – Trofense – 0
I obviously don’t think Porto and Benfica will end up where they are presently. The two newly promoted teams are somewhat predictably in the bottom three and top o’ the table Nacional have gotten their six points on two wins over a couple of relatively cocka teams (Leixões and Naval). V.Setúbal have a bunch of promising young stars, led by Portuguese U(fill in the age) attacker Bruno Gama. They may surprise a few people and finish somewhere near the top three this year. Benfica are still a work in progress and could suffer a few more setbacks going forward. A year out of Europe completely isn’t entirely out of the question but I think Quique can right that ship eventually to salvage some sort of decent season.
The table from two matches into a season rarely looks like the table on the final day of the season. On the other hand, the games count just as much at the beginning as they do at the end, so a quick start never hurt anyone.
I’m in surprisingly decent shape this morning after a torrid weekend of drinking my face off and manning the grill for twenty people yesterday. As you probably already know, Quaresma dipped on Porto and headed to Inter Milan with fellow Portuguese midfielder Pelé and some cold hard cash coming Porto’s way.
Given Quaresma’s past failure at Barcelona, I’m surprised Porto were able to hold Inter up for that type of payment and the level of player that Pelé is. While I love Quaresma’s ability and think he has the skill set to be all world, he seems to take whole matches off at a time. He’s shown that he can track back and defend his position somewhat, but those instances are few and far between. For the National Team’s sake I hope Mourinho can get a lot out of him because new Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz failed to include Quaresma in his squad for the two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
While Quaresma had a great deal of the Portuguese football headlines, his old teammates and a few others played some good ol’ football this weekend. Here’s how it shook out:
Belenenses 2 – 2 P. Ferreira
Benfica 1 – 1 Porto
Nacional 2 – 1 Naval
Académica 1 – 0 Rio Ave
Trofense 1 – 2 Leixões
V.Setúbal 1 – 0 E.d. Amadora
Marítimo 0 – 1 V.Guimarães
Braga 0 – 1 Sporting
Hero of the Week — Rodrigo, Belenenses — His team had no answer for substitute William who came on just after the hour mark and tied the match with a 72′ strike and then gave visiting Paços de Ferreira 2-1 lead on the 90th minute. However, he managed to head home the game tying goal in the 95th minute, salvaging a point for Belenenses. A loss would have had them bottom feeding with Marítimo and Trofense who are still seeking out their first points of the season.
Goats of the Week — Paços de Ferreira’s Free Kick Defense — Watch the video below. The defending players allow THREE blue shirts to essentially stand there, decide who has the best angle, have a cigarette, a Sagres and a cheese sandwich, and then head the ball home for the game tying goal. Abysmal.
Clean Sheets of the Week — Peskovic (Académica), Bruno Vale (V.Setúbal), Nilson (V.Guimarães), and Rui Patrício (Sporting)
I’m going to throw a table up tomorrow and discuss it then since I have a decent amount of real life work to get to this afternoon. Going forward, the table will go here. Yay.
It’s week two and already we have a massive match to be played between Benfica and Porto at da Luz. Benfica looked abysmal last week and escaped with a point against new boys Rio Ave. Porto on the other hand looked like they hadn’t missed a step from last year in their 2-0 win over Belenenses. If Porto win to the tune of 3-0, Benfica will be damaged psychologically and cries for Quique’s head will start from the historically impatient fan base. On the other hand, if Benfica can put on a good show in front of their fans and pull this one out, they can use this match as a means of saying “Okay, now we know that the ‘New Benfica’ has finally arrived and we’ve got a shot at this.” Personally, I think this match is way too early in the season for a Benfica which has a gajillion new signings and is still struggling to find its identity. I wouldn’t be surprised with a Porto thrashing of the Eagles here. Benfica have done nothing to impress thus far and if they’re going to continue to rely on Nuno Gomes for their offense, then they’re really in deep shit. On to the matches…
-=Jornada 2=- All times Eastern (New York City). This week’s edition of FixtureFacts drops da knowledge on each club’s current boss. I know I’ve done this in the past but the managerial situation in Portugal is so volatile that since the last time I gave the associated club/boss combos, I’m sure a bunch have changed. Besides, we have two new teams now!
Friday, August 29th @ 15:30 — Belenenses (Casemiro Mior) v. P. Ferreira (Paulo Sérgio)
Saturday, August 30th @ 15:45 — Benfica (Quique Flores) v. Porto (Jesualdo Ferreira)
Sunday, August 31st @ 11:00 — Académica (Domingos Paciência) v. Rio Ave (João Eusébio)
Sunday, August 31st @ 11:00 — Nacional (Manuel Machado) v. Naval (Ulisses Morais)
Sunday, August 31st @ 11:00 — Trofense (António Conceição) v. Leixões (Ulisses Morais)
Sunday, August 31st @ 13:00 — V. Setúbal (Daúto Faquirá) v. E.d. Amadora (Raul Silva)
Monday, September 1st @ 14:15 — Marítimo (Lori Sandri) v. V. Guimarães (Manuel Cajuda)
Monday, September 1st @ 16:15 — Braga (Jorge Jesus) v. Sporting (Paulo Bento)
The big attraction is obviously the Classico between the Dragons and the Eagles in Lisbon. However, Monday night’s encounter between Sporting and the always pesky Braga in Casa Braga should prove to be a difficult test for Paulie Bento’s boys. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend (if you get Monday off, of course), and make an effort to try something new while you’re getting loaded and eating BBQ. I for one will attempt to get my wife to try out a blumpkin. If that fails, I can have a crack at convincing her to get one of her smokin’ hot friends in the sack for a three way. Wish me luck!
With Guimarães losing to FC Basel 1893 last night, Porto and Sporting stand alone as the sole Portuguese representatives in this season’s iteration of the UEFA Champions League.
At the draw, UEFA officials made sure to remind us that a cloud exists over Porto’s participation this year due to their implication in the Golden Whistle bribery scandal. If nothing’s been done with the arduous appeals process that has taken place thus far, I’m sure nothing’s going to happen to their status between now and Matchday 1.
The draw was completed earlier today and the groups for the two are as follows:
For me, Sporting have the easier draw of the two. Some were calling Group G the toughest of the lot, as teams such as Turkish side Fenerbahçe and Ukranian club Dynamo Kyiv tend to pose difficult away test and are tricky encounters no matter where the match is played. In spite of Porto’s domination of the league last year, I actually think Sporting have a better shot of making it through simply by looking at the relative strength of the two groups. On the other hand, Sporting just got their asses handed to them by Real Madrid 3 – 5 in a preseason friendly yesterday and Porto started off the domestic season looking rather dominant, so what the hell do I know?
It’s Judgement Day for Smokin’ Manny Cajuda and his boys from Guimarães. Tonight (locally), they square off against FC Basel 1893 at St. Jakob Park in Switzerland for the right to play in the group stages of this year’s Champions League tournament.
The first match, played at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Portugal, yielded a 0 – 0 draw. Although the match is being played away, Guimarães have the upper hand when it comes to the tiebreaker as the away goals are worth more on aggregate than home goals (sorry for those of you who know this already, I just assume you’re all moronic assholes, since that’s what I encounter 95% of the time in “real” life).
If Guimarães manage to pull this one out, they’ll make it to the group stages of the Champions League for the first time ever. They’ll also join last year’s Portuguese League champions Porto and second place finishers Sporting in the round of 32. Guimarães would probably have their asses handed to them in group play, but the amount of money and prestige that comes with this type of competition is immense, especially to a club like Guimarães.
Even though my favorite club is fresh off a Champions League final heart breaker, nothing gets me going more from a club football standpoint than to hear the music below. Hopefully the theme will ring in the ears of Manny’s men after the final whistle is blown tonight in Basel.