Portuguese clubs fail to win their Europa League matches, with positive signs overshadowed by inexperience and mistakes.
Marítimo faced the toughest task among all Portuguese teams in the first round of the UEFA Europa League group stage, facing Premier League side Newcastle in Funchal, Madeira. As the Britons opted to play youngsters and reserves, the islanders took a precious point.
English boss Alan Pardew faced the suspension of star player Hatem Ben Arfa and injuries to other starters, but in order to manage the efforts between the domestic league and international competitions rested several players. Marítimo took on the challenge and had control in the early stages of the match. However, the Magpies had the best scoring chances, hitting the woodwork twice. The flow of the match was shared by both clubs and the draw was acceptable, although both teams could have scored.
Meanwhile, in group D, Bordeaux thrashed Club Brugge 4-0.
Coimbra’s dream turns into nightmare
Académica de Coimbra could not have asked for a better start to the match in the Czech Republic, gaining the lead thanks to a goal by Wilson Eduardo in the 19th minute. Nonetheless, the Portuguese paid the price for their inexperience in European Competitions, and Viktoria Plzen turned the game around in the second half. Horvath tied in the 46th minute and Duris dashed Académica’s hopes. Ten minutes before the end, Rajtoral closed the scoreboard.
Reigning Europa League holders Atletico Madrid follow Plzen in the group after a 3-0 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Bore draw in Lisbon punishes slow Sporting
Sporting’s four-game win streak over Basel in European competitions came to an end, as they failed to either score or dominate Thursday’s match. The slow-paced first half saw Sporting gain a slight upper-hand but failing to get ahead – like the Swiss, who had clear chances from Streller.
Early after the break, Brazilian defender Xandão was sent off after losing the ball to Streller and correcting the mistake by bringing him down near the box. Down to 10 men, Sporting played with difficulties while Basel never tried to command the match despite the advantage. The result was a dull draw that leaves both clubs behind Genk (3-0 over Videoton).