Archive for the ‘ Liga Sagres ’ Category

Newcastle vs Benfica Europa League Preview: Hosts’ Europa League hopes hang in the balance






Simpson, Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Gutierrez

Cabaye, Anita
Marveaux, Sissoko, Gouffran
Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo

Matic, Martins
John, Lima, Gaitan

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew faces a lengthy absentee list ahead of Thursday’s crunch Europa League clash, with Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Mathier Debuchy (cup-tied), Davide Santon (hip), Cheikh Tiote (hamstring) and Haris Vuckic (knee) all set to miss the game.

Elsewhere, long-term absentee Ryan Taylor is targeting a return in time for the derby game against Sunderland on Sunday, but Fabricio Coloccini and Massadio Haidara are for a place on the bench against the Portuguese outfit after suffering from back and knee strains respectively.

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus faces very few injury worries ahead of the return leg, with Eduardo Salvio remaining a doubt after picking up a knee problem shortly prior to the first leg between the two sides.

  • Newcastle have beaten Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi Makhachkala in the knockout stages so far, both by a solitary 1-0 aggregate scoreline.
  • Papiss Cisse has now scored four goals in the 90th minute this season after his last-gasp winner against Fulham.
  • The Senegal striker, along with Shola Ameobi, is the Magpies’ top scorer in the Europa League with three goals each.
  • Alan Pardew’s side have conceded just once at home in six games in the competition this term – that goal coming during the 1-1 draw with Maritimo in November.
  • Oscar Cardozo  is Benfica‘s top goalscorer this year with 28 goals, six of which have come in Europe.
  • The Portuguese outfit have scored 107 goals so far this season in all competitons.
  • They currently sit four points clear ahead of Porto at the top of the domestic league and are unbeaten in 25 games since the start of the season.
  • Jorge Jesus’ side have won their last eight games in a row going into the clash.
  • Benfica’s last five quarter-finals against English opposition have all resulted in elimination.

Benfica vs Newcastle 1st Leg Europa League Preview: Eagles hoping to end run of five quarter-final eliminations to English teams

Nicolas Gaitan




Pereira, Garay, Luisao, Melgarejo
Matic, Martins
John, Lima, Gaitan

Simpson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Taylor, Santon
Cabaye, Anita
Marveaux, Sissoko, Jonas

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has very few injury problems to contend with ahead of the visit of Newcastle United in the Europa League on Thursday.

Argentina international attacker Eduardo Salvio (knee) is expected to miss out, while wholesale changes are not predicted following the side’s impressive 6-1 win over Rio Ave at the weekend.

Brazilian striker Lima would have been a likely candidate to make way for former Real Madrid and Bolton man Rodrigo, but he may well retain his place after scoring a hat-trick on Saturday.

Alan Pardew has a considerable number of fitness worries, but the returns of Davide Santon and Tim Krul will be boosts.

Massadio Haidara, Cheikh Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini could potentially be in contention for at least a place on the bench, but they remain doubts.

Ryan Taylor (knee) has joined up with the squad in Lisbon to train, but will definitely not be involved, while Haris Vuckic (knee), Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) and Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) will also be unavailable.

  • So far this season, Benfica have scored 102 goals in all competitions.
  • The Eagles have not lost at home in the Europa League since December 2008 when they were defeated by Metalist.
  • Jesus’ team are on a run of four consecutive wins in the competition.
  • Benfica’s last five quarter-finals with English opposition have resulted in elimination.
  • Newcastle have beaten Metalist Kharkiv and Anzhi Makhachkala in the knockout stages so far.
  • Pardew’s side have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four matches in this competition.
  • However, the Magpies have only managed two away wins all season.
  • Shola Ameobi is Newcastle’s top scorer in the Europa League with three goals in eight matches.

Azerbaijan vs Portugal Preview: Portugal without suspended Ronaldo

Helder Postiga





Shukurov, Sadygov, Ramaldanov, Medvedev
Farjad-Azad, Sadiqov, Abishov, Dzavadov
Ismayilov, Aliyev

Rui Patricio
Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Silvio 
Martins, Voloso, Moutinho
Varela, Postiga, Vieirinha

Cristiano Ronaldo’s yellow card in Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Israel means the Portugal captain will be suspended for Tuesday’s Group F match against Azerbaijan.

His loss further depletes a Portuguese attack that was already without Manchester United winger Nani, who who suffered a hamstring injury on club duty.

Porto’s Silvestre Varela, who started in place of the Manchester United winger in Ramat Gan, is expected to keep his place in Baku, and one of Danny or Vieirinha will replace Ronaldo.

Left-back Fabio Coentrao may also be absent on Tuesday after picking up a foot injury against Israel and Deportivo La Coruna left-back Silvio is on standby should Coentrao be unable to start.

Carlos Martins is also expected to play from the beginning against Azerbaijan in place of Raul Meireles, who has come down with flu.

Azerbaijan boss Berti Vogts has no new injury worries or suspensions to deal with ahead of Tuesday’s match.

  • Portugal head into Tuesday’s match without a win since September 2012—the last time they played Azerbaijan.
  • Silvestre Varela, Helder Postiga and Bruno Alves scored the goals in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Azerbaijan in September—all three coming after the hour mark.
  • With Cristiano Ronaldo suspended and Nani injured, Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida are Portugal’s only available internationals with more than 10 international goals apiece. Postiga has 25; Almeida 16.
  • Azerbaijan have picked up points in three matches so far in World Cup qualifying—drawing with Israel, Luxembourg and Northern Ireland. But their best performance came in a narrow 1-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow.
  • When the latest Fifa rankings came out earlier this month, the home side had risen two places—from 118th to 116th.
  • These two sides have met on three previous occasions, with Portugal winning each of them by a combined score of 8-0.

Israel vs Portugal Preview: Paulo Bento’s boys face a tough trip to Ramat Gan






Gabai, Tibi, Keinan, Gershon
Natkho, Alberman, Benayoun
Melikson, Hemed, Basat

Rui Patricio
Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao 
Micael, Veloso, Moutinho
Varela, Postiga, Ronaldo

Portugal arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday knowing anything other than three points would only further endanger a World Cup qualification campaign that has already had its share of wobbles.

With seven points apiece after four Group F matches, both Portugal and Israel trail Russia by five points, and the victor of Friday’s encounter will give themselves a leg up in the race for the bracket’s play-off berth.

Portugal boss Paulo Bento, who is already feeling the heat, will have to make do without Manchester United winger Nani after the 26-year-old picked up a hamstring injury in the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea. Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho is also doubtful after sustaining a muscle injury in the Champions League against Malaga.

Bento’s squad to face both Israel and Azerbaijan in this round of qualifying includes Wolfsburg winger Vierinha, who was called up for the first time and will be hoping to make his international debut.

On the other side of the ball the main concern for Israel boss Eli Guttman is how, or whether, to use veteran midfielder Yossi Benayoun against Portugal.

Benayoun, who has been capped 90 times for his country, has been dropped previously in this qualification campaign and could start from the bench against Portugal given Guttman’s concerns about the midfielder’s lack of playing time at Chelsea.

However, lack of minutes did not prevent the recalls of Tal Ben-Haim, who has been used sparingly since joining Queens Park Rangers, and Itay Schechter, who has made only four appearances for Swansea.

Guttman has no new injury or disciplinary worries ahead of Friday’s match.

  • Portugal first qualified for a World Cup finals in 1966 but didn’t make it back to the tournament for another 20 years. They have participated in five World Cups.
  • The Seleccao were named Most Entertaining Team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where they came fourth after losing the third-place match to Germany.
  • The Portuguese are winless in their last three matches, losing to both Russia and Ecuador and drawing Northern Ireland and Gabon.
  • Israel’s lone World Cup appearance was in 1970, where they finished bottom of Group 2 but earned an impressive 0-0 draw with Italy.
  • Mordechai Spiegler, who played briefly for both Paris-Saint Germain and New York Cosmos, is Israel’s highest goalscorer with 33 tallies 83 international appearances.
  • Now a member of Uefa, Israel previously competed in the Asian Football Confederation and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup, which they hosted.

Talent Watch: Atila Turan

Atila Turan


Atila Turan is a Turkish-French footballer who plays for Turkish Süper Lig club Orduspor and the Turkish national under-21 team. He plays mainly as a left midfielder, but is also capable of playing as a left back.

19 year-old left back Atila Turan who is of Turkish decent played for his local team before securing a move to Grenoble in July 2008. After three years with the club’s youth academy the defender signed is first professional contract in February 2010 and made his debut in July 2010. Despite Grenoble’s performances during the 2010/11 season, Turan earned individual praise for his performances and was subsequently scouted by several clubs abroad, most notably Barcelona and Fiorentina . The young defender who has been ever present at international youth level, has been capped up to Under-19 level. Compared to Fabio Coentrao in terms of playing style, Turan is technically excellent. With good offensive runs up and down the flanks, Turan has an excellent free-kick. In the summer transfer window of 2011, Turan confirmed he had signed a five year deal with Portuguese powerhouse Sporting Lisbon, making the comparison Coentrao obvious and inevitable.

Talent Watch: Armindo Bruma

Armindo Bagna Bruma


Described as the next Cristiano Ronaldo, is 16 year-old winger Armindo Bagna Bruma who has already impressed in the youth ranks at Sporting Lisbon. Capped at Under-19 level by Portugal where he scored 2 goals in three European  qualifiers at  the  age of  15, Bruma has put in a number of eye catching performances for Portugal’s Under-17s which has attracted attention from clubs all over Europe including Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. With excellent pace and ball control it is easy to see why there are so many comparisons drawn to the Real Madrid ace. Having signed his first professional club with Sporting until 2015, Armindo Bagna Bruma is likely to remain in Portugal to continue his development. He has recently been impressing scouts with his impressive performances in the Next Gen Series, considered the Champions League of youth football for Sporting’s Under-19 side. Helping his team with victories over Molde and Liverpool, Armindo has scored two goals in three games in the tournament.


Porto vs Malaga UCL Preview: Andalusians keen to maintain unbeaten Champions League record

Malaga Team





Danilo, Otamendi, Mangala, Alex Sandro
Lucho, Fernando, Moutinho
Atsu, Martinez, Rodriguez

Sanchez, Weligton, Demichelis, Antunes

Toulalan, Camacho
Joaquin, Isco, Portillo

Malaga will be hopeful of coming away from the Dragao with their unbeaten Champions League record still intact as they face Porto in the last 16.

Manuel Pellegrini will be unable to select either of his first choice full-backs for the visit to their Iberian neighbours; where they suffered their only ever European defeat. Eliseu and Jesus Gamez are both out of contention while Martin Demichelis could return after missing out on the weekend win over Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, Porto, who have will have had an extra few days rest come match day, welcome back James Rodriguez to the starting line-up. Vitor Pereira will stick with the same back four that he has used in every league game as the Dragoes look to improve upon a lacklustre record against Spanish opposition which includes seven losses in front of their own fans in 17 games.

  • Porto, who last lifted the trophy in 2004, are in the knockout stages for the 10th time.
  • The Dragoes were victorious the last time they welcomed Spanish opposition to Portugal. Villarreal were handed a 5-1 thrashing as Andre Villas-Boas led the club to the 2010-11 Europa League title.
  • Porto’s overall record against Spanish opposition leaves a lot to be desired, winning 12 and drawing five in 37 meetings.
  • Malaga remain unbeaten in what is their debut season in the Europa Champions League.
  • The Andalusians’ only defeat in 12 European away games came against former Portuguese giants Boavista in the 2002-03 Uefa Cup.
  • Martin Demichelis  could come up against former River Plate team-mate Lucho Gonzalez.