Canadians in Europe: Ugbo stars in Wednesday win
Iké Ugbo paced Sheffield Wednesday to a massive three points, while a trio of Canadian women were difference-makers in cup action in Portugal.
Here's a look at Canadians in Europe over the weekend.
Iké Ugbo, Sheffield Wednesday - Sheffield Wednesday might be poised for relegation from the Championship, but they won't go down without a fight. The Owls picked up a much needed three points on Friday at home to fellow strugglers Birmingham City with Iké Ugbo leading the way. The London-born Canada forward joined Wednesday on loan from French side Troyes during the January transfer window and made his mark at Hillsborough on Friday with two goals in a 2-0 win. Ugbo got things started in the 15th. Pol Valentin came down the left and found Ian Poveda just inside the area. The Colombia forward, on loan from Leeds, turned Andre Dozzell inside out before squaring for Ugbo to sweep home at the near post to make it 1-0 for his first goal in an Owls shirt. He doubled his tally in the 53rd when he leapt over his marker, Lee Buchanan, to head down Marvin Johnson's looping cross at the far post to put the match out of reach. The goal brought Ugbo's Championship tally to six on the season, having previously scored four in the first half of the campaign on loan at Cardiff City. The win took the Owls to 26 points on the season. Wednesday now trails Huddersfield Town by five points for the final safe spot with 17 games remaining in the season.
Olivia Smith, Sporting - North York, Ont.'s Olivia Smith again showed why she's one of Canada Soccer's brightest young talents in the quarterfinals of the Taca de Portugal on Saturday as Sporting took on Damaiense. The 19-year-old Smith has taken the Campeonato Nacional Feminino by storm in her first season in Portugal, scoring six league goals in 11 appearances, as Sporting currently sits second in the table, four points behind leaders Benfica. While 10 points separate Sporting and Damaiense in the league table, there was nothing separating the two sides in cup action on Saturday and it took a piece of magic from Smith to help end matters well into extra time. With 90 minutes solving nothing, it appeared as if the extra 30 weren't going to help any either until Smith took matters into her own hands. Running into the Damaiense half just past midfield, Smith sent an audacious curling ball forward between two defenders to meet United States Under-23 forward Brittany Raphino, who went in alone on the 'keeper and through the wickets to win the game for Sporting in the 111th minute. Moving onto the semis, Smith, who was Canada's youngest team member at last summer's World Cup, has the chance to earn some silverware in her first pro season after leaving Penn State.
Marie-Yasmine Alidou and Chandra Davidson, Benfica - Like their fellow Canadian Smith, Montreal's Marie-Yasmine Alidou and Stoney Creek, Ont.'s Chandra Davidson were in Taca de Portugal action this past weekend, but league-leading Benfica had a much easier go of things than Porto in their quarterfinals tie against Valadares. The tie was turned on its head in the fourth minute when Valadares's Ghana defender Louisa Aniwaa received a straight red. Brazil forward Nycole Raysla made them pay quickly with a marker in the 13th to open the scoring at 1-0. Minutes later, it was Alidou's turn. Perhaps still smarting from being left off Bev Priestman's Gold Cup roster, Alidou showed just what she was capable of in the 19th. Picking up the ball at the edge of the area, Alidou beautifully used her marker as a screen and whipped a ball through her legs and past a diving 'keeper to make it 2-0. That scoreline would carry over into halftime. In the 78th, former Indiana captain Davidson got her first goal in a Benfica shirt finishing off a fine team move. Accepting a pass from Daniela Silva just to the left of the spot, Davidson did well to control before firing off a fine right-footed volley into the net to make it 3-0. UNLV product Paige Almendariz rounded off the scoring in the 85th as Benfica claimed a comfortable 4-0 win.