Portuguese Abroad: Bernardo champion in England; Mário Rui brilliance saves Napoli; Quaresma stunner; Jardim insists “there is no fire” as Monaco freefall continues; Sérgio Oliveira lifts Greek Cup; Caixinha’s Mexico disappointment

Portuguese Abroad: Bernardo champion in England; Mário Rui brilliance saves Napoli; Quaresma stunner; Jardim insists “there is no fire” as Monaco freefall continues; Sérgio Oliveira lifts Greek Cup; Caixinha’s Mexico disappointment

Written on 05/13/2019

Bernardo Silva is celebrating back-to-back Premier League winner medals – his third consecutive league title – after Manchester City were again crowned champions in England. Bernardo played the full match as City won 4-1 at Brighton to move closer to a domestic treble.

Elsewhere, Monaco’s alarming slump now sees Leonardo Jardim’s side in the midst of a relegation battle in France. Meanwhile, a rare goal for Mário Rui gave Napoli a late win in Italy, while Sérgio Oliveira helped PAOK complete a domestic double and Pedro Caixinha's Cruz Azul were knocked out of the Liga MX play-offs.

"Very happy with my season" - Bernardo

For Bernardo and City, victory at the end of what has been a remarkable title race in England. The champions have recorded another lofty points haul, with their 98 total beating nearest challengers Liverpool by one point. The runners-up only lost one match all season – to City – and ended the campaign with nine consecutive Premier League victories.

It was not enough to catch City, however, and Bernardo admits the competitive nature of this season makes the success more enjoyable. “We are so happy with this title because it was so difficult this season against a very strong Liverpool that from the begging was unbelievable,” the Portuguese said. “So what a season for us! After last season we did not think we could get close to the (100) points we got last season.

“We still have the FA Cup which is very important for us because if we win it, we win the treble which nobody has ever done. But we are so happy with this achievement and with the back-to-back titles which this club has never done. How? We won 14 games in a row which is incredible. We are still a little frustrated with the Champions League but it’s been a fantastic season for us.”

Bernardo has been recognised as one of the key players in City’s side, with manager Pep Guardiola recently telling reporters that his Portuguese midfielder could play in any team. Speaking about his second season in England, Bernardo said: “I’m very happy with my season. I prepared for it well. Last season I did not play as much as I probably wanted to, so I prepared well for this season. I am very happy to be an important player in this squad, it’s never easy to get a place in this starting eleven.”

An eventful final day saw Liverpool end with a 2-0 victory over Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield. Rui Patrício, Rúben Neves, João Moutinho and Diogo Jota played for Nuno’s side, while Rúben Vinagre was introduced from the bench as Wolves ended an impressive return campaign to the top flight with a 7th place finish.

Marco Silva’s Everton take 8th place after a strong end to the season continued with a 2-2 draw at Wembley against Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur. André Gomes was in midfield for Everton, who have lost just one of their final eight games. Diogo Dalot was given a runout for Manchester United but was penalised for a dubious penalty in the first half as the beleaguered Red Devils suffered an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat to relegated Cardiff City.

Jardim: “There is no fire”

While Bernardo celebrates his latest trophy, his former club Monaco were beaten 1-0 at Nimes in France this weekend to leave Leonardo Jardim’s side embroiled in a battle to avoid relegation. Monaco are now just two points above Dijon in the direct relegation places and level on points with Caen, who currently occupy 18th place which requires a play-off against a side from Ligue 2.

Monaco, who re-hired Jardim in January following the departure of Thierry Henry, have now gone seven league games without a victory and have lost three of their last four. Of equal concern is the form of Caen, who have taken ten points from their last four games, and Dijon who beat Strasbourg at the weekend. Rony Lopes, Gelson Martins and Adrien Silva all played in the defeat to Nimes.

“There is no fire,” Jardim told reporters after the defeat to Nimes. “We continue to believe in our survival. Monaco still depends on its own results. Victory next weekend at home [against Amiens] is crucial. We lacked intensity. We have two games to save our season. Nothing is finished; we have a job to do.”

Paulo Sousa’s Bordeaux are the out of form side in France, having slipped down to within 5 points of Caen with a fifth consecutive defeat coming in a 1-0 loss at Lille. “It’s frustrating because our team performed well today and the match was balanced,” Sousa said. “We are on the right track and I’m optimistic for the future”. José Fonte started the match for Lille and Rui Fonte was a substitute, while Rafael Leão remained on the bench.

Mário Rui brilliance saves Napoli

Portugal full- back Mário Rui scored a sensational late winner to give Napoli a 2-1 victory at SPAL in Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are secure in second place behind runaway champions Juventus, but needed the former Benfica man’s outstanding strike with three minutes left to secure a third straight league win.

With the first half goalless, Brazilian midfielder Allan gave Napoli the lead early in the second half, but Andre Petagna levelled from the penalty spot on 83 minutes. With the match seemingly heading for a draw, Mário Rui snatched all three points for Napoli with a sharp one-two with Jose Callejon before rifling his shot into the top corner.

Quaresma steals the show in Turkey

Ricardo Quaresma scored his first goal in six months with a spectacular winning strike for Besiktas in Turkey on Monday evening. The Portugal veteran last scored for his side back in November against Genk in the Europa League, but his individual goal in Monday’s 2-1 home win against Alanyaspor maintains Besiktas' outside hopes of a Champions League place.

PAOK clinch historic double; goals in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey

PAOK Saloniki clinched the domestic double in Greece with a 1-0 win over AEK Athens in the final of the Greek Cup. Porto loanee Sérgio Oliveira came on for the final ten minutes for PAOK, who won the Super League this season for the first time in 34 years and the first domestic double in their history. After the triumph, goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis dedicated the occasion to injured Portuguese club captain Vieirinha.

Elsewhere in Europe, there were goals for ex Leiria man Rúben Brigado in Bulgaria during Beroe’s 1-0 win at Botev Plovdiv and João Teixeira who scored a penalty for Politehnica Iasi as they beat Dunarea Calarasi 4-0 in Romania, while Hélder Barbosa got a consolation against Fenerbahce in Turkey as relegated Akhisarspor went down 2-1 in Istanbul.

Portuguese Bosses: Caixinha eliminated in Mexican Play-offs

Pedro Caixinha’s Cruz Azul were knocked out of the Mexican Liga MX quarter finals by fierce rivals America on Sunday evening. Caixinha’s side were beaten by America in the final of the opening championship last year, and bow out at the last eight stage after a 3-2 aggregate defeat following Sunday night’s second leg.

The damage was done in the first leg, with Caixinha’s men going down 3-1 at the Estadio Azteca despite taking the lead. Cruz Azul won the return 1-0 and there was a late barrage of pressure to get the all-important second, but America held on to advance to the semi-finals. Although Caixinha’s side have been in solid form over recent weeks, the defeat to America has raised questions about his position at the club.

Elsewhere, a penalty from former Porto striker Hulk ten minutes into injury time gave Vítor Pereira’s Shanghai SIPG a 2-1 win over Shandong Luneng in China. Pereira’s men were trailing with less than 20 minutes to play but the win keeps them within five points of leaders Beijing Guoan, who have a 100% record after nine rounds of matches of the CSL.

In South Korea, José Morais’ Jeonbuk Motors lost leadership of the K-League 1 with a 2-1 defeat to Ulsan, who move two points clear at the top. Former Sporting boss Paulo Sergio has Sanat Naft as the in-form side in Iran after 13 points from their last five games and holding giants Esteghal to a 0-0 draw this weekend.

By Sean Gillen