Canadians in Europe: Eustáquio plays hero for Porto
Stephen Eustáquio played hero for Porto, Alistair Johnston and Celtic survived a nervy afternoon and Luca Koleosho gave a glimpse of why he's one of Europe's most exciting young talents. Here's a look at Canadians in Europe over the weekend.
Stephen Eustáquio, Porto - Stephen Eustáquio doesn't tend to score a lot of goals, but when the Leamington, Ont. native does find the back of the net, it's almost always an important one. That trend continued on Saturday when Porto played host to Gil Vicente with the visitors appearing on course to steal a point before the 26-year-old Canada midfielder had other ideas. Porto's start to the match couldn't have been better and a fine team effort was rewarded in the eighth with the opener. Wendell found Galeno down the left side. After some fancy footwork into the area, he dropped off for Mehdi Taremi just inside the six-yard box. In no position to shoot, the Iran forward employed a nifty back heel to find Ivan Jaime, who collected with his right foot before beating Andrew to make it 1-0. Porto would hold onto the lead until just before halftime. Against the run of play, Gil Vicente broke on the counter after a turnover at midfield by Eustáquio. Coming forward with a numerical advantage, Martim Carvalho threaded a sensational pass through a pair of Porto defenders for Depu to chip over Diogo Costa to tie things up at 1-1 in the 37th. But the hosts would send the crowd home happy with Eustáquio atoning for his earlier error. In the first minute of stoppage, Wendell whipped a free kick into the area and Eustáquio was first to it, leaping with a backwards header to grab the late 2-1 win. It was his first goal of the season and third since joining Porto in 2021. The three points for Porto kept pace with a Benfica victory and left they atop the table on 16 points.
Alistair Johnston, Celtic - A glance at the scoresheet suggests Celtic's 3-0 victory over Livingston was a straightforward one, but the reality is it was far from it. Alistair Johnston and company were down to 10 men from the 28th minute on when goalkeeper Joe Hart was shown a straight red. The remaining hour-plus was a fight for the Bhoys, but they stood strong to keep their unbeaten start to the season going. The hosts opened the scoring in the 14th from the spot. Greg Taylor played a fine ball in for Reo Hatate, but the Japan midfielder was taken to ground by Luiyi De Lucas and a penalty was awarded. After some stalling, Hatate's low drive was actually met by Shamal George, but the pace of the effort managed to sneak under him and into the net to make it 1-0. Near the half-hour mark, the match was turned on its head. A long ball was played over the top of the Celtic backline for Mo Sangare. As Hart raced out to meet it, he clattered into Sangare just outside of the Celtic box and the ref showed the former England No. 1 a straight red for a professional foul. It was hardly the bounce-back effort Hart was looking for after looking suspect in the team's 2-0 Champions League loss to Feyenoord midweek. With Hart out, Brendan Rodgers withdrew James Forrest and Scott Bain entered the match in Hart's stead. Under siege for the remainder of the first half, Celtic managed to make it to the break with their 1-0 lead. Shortly after the restart, the Hoops got some breathing room. In the 48th, Daizen Maeda couldn't finish a ball floated over to him by Japan teammate Kyogo Furuhashi to the far post, but Matt O'Riley arrived to tap home the rebound to make it 2-0. The scoreline would stay that way until stoppage time where Maeda made up for his earlier miss in style. Pouncing on a Livingston miscue, Maeda put Tom Parkes on skates before whipping in a beautiful shot to wrap up the three points at 3-0 to stay at the top of the table on 16 points. Johnston finished his afternoon drawing two fouls, making an interception and three tackles. After the match, the Vancouver native made it clear that nobody on the team blamed Hart for the red card. “Joe’s a top-class pro, I think we all know that," Johnston said. “I don’t think he had anything to apologize for. He’s the first one to put his hands up but everyone was like, ‘Shut up Joe!’. He’s a great guy and he’ll take it on the chin."
Luca Koleosho, Burnley - As of right now, Luca Koleosho isn't technically a Canada player. He's been called up to the senior side on a number of occasions, but has yet to feature. Right now, he's keeping his options open in terms of who he plans to represent internationally. Born in Connecticut, Koleosho is eligible to represent the United States, Nigeria through his father and both Italy and Canada through his mother. After briefly representing the USMNT at the under-15 level, Koleosho has played for Italy at the under-19 and under-20 levels. He was a member of the Azzurri's U19 Euro-winning team this past summer. The talented 19-year-old winger joined Vincent Kompany's Clarets in the summer in a £2.6 million move from Espanyol and has already opened some eyes in the Premier League and that continued on Saturday when Burnley played host to Manchester United with Koleosho handed a start. In the 13th, his speed was put on display, bursting forward behind Diogo Dalot whose hard challenge to take him down earned the Portugal right-back a yellow card. After his goal was disallowed minutes earlier for an offside on Rasmus Hojlund, Jonny Evans would help United take the lead just before halftime. Floating a beautifully weighted ball to Bruno Fernandes, the Red Devils captain hammered home a first-time volley to make it 1-0 with a sensational strike. The goal would end up being the match's only marker. Koleosho finished his evening after 72 minutes when he was withdrawn for Jacob Bruun Larsen. For the match, Koleosho had two shots, 32 touches and completed 17 of 23 pass attempts. With the Premier League being many fans' first time seeing Koleosho, it's not been hard to understand why John Herdman so desperately wanted him in a Canada shirt.