Loan watch: Xande Silva makes Super League Greece debut
Three West Ham United loanees were in action this weekend, with Xande Silva making an impressive Super League Greece debut for leaders Aris Thessaloniki FC.
The Portuguese forward came off the bench with just under half-an-hour remaining to help the Yellow-Blacks close out an important 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis.
Having recovered from a long-term lay-off to enjoy a strong end to the Premier League 2 season in 2019/20, 23-year-old Silva joined Aris at the beginning of October as he seeks to get more competitive minutes under his belt this season.
The Greek club have since continued their fine start to the season, with five wins from six matches seeing them enjoy a three-point lead over Olympiakos and AEK Athens at the top of the table.
Silva’s bow for the Greek club came in a match which his side largely dominated at Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, their winning goal coming in the 55th minute as Asteras defender Triantafyllos Pasalidis deflected Bruno Gama’s fizzing cross into his own net.
The Portuguese forward took up a position on the left wing of an attacking trio and shortly after produced a particularly fine mazy run from the halfway line, nutmegging his marker before driving into the box to fire in a low shot, gathered by the away team goalkeeper.
Silva then showcased all his pace to chase onto a Gama through-ball and beat his marker into the area but, with the angle ever-narrowing, his rising finish found the side-netting.
A lovely touch to control the ball later on also saw Silva play in Dimitris Manos, but his powerful shot from just inside the area was beaten away.
“It was a very good experience,” Silva said afterwards. “It’s my first time in Greece and we have a very good team.
“The fans can expect 100 per cent from me – I give 100 per cent every game, and try to help the team win every game.
“I think every week we see improvement. That’s what we have to do – improve every week – and play better every week.”
You can watch Aris' winning goal at 2:40, immediately after which Silva was brought on for his debut.
In Primeira Liga, fellow wide player Felipe Anderson came off the bench to feature in the closing stages as FC Porto slipped to a 3-2 loss away at Pacos Ferreira.
The reigning champions suffered their second domestic defeat in six opening games after going two scruffy goals behind in the first half at Estadio da Mata Real.
Pacos and Porto exchanged VAR-awarded penalties either side of half-time, both converted to make it 3-1 to the home side, before Anderson was introduced in the 72nd minute as his side chased the game.
The Brazilian’s arrival yielded an instant impact as he showed some neat trickery on the left flank to pull the ball back to the edge of the area, where winger Otavio lashed in a thunderbolt of a strike.
Anderson was then forced to showcase his defensive qualities with a good header under pressure as the home team sought to increase their lead, but couldn’t create another opportunity, leaving FC Porto in third place behind Sporting and Benfica.
In League Two, Olatunji Akinola and Leyton Orient recorded a third clean sheet in four games – and just eleven days – as the O’s hammered Bolton Wanderers 4-0 at the Breyer Group Stadium.
Akinola and his defensive colleagues restricted the visitors to not a single shot on target as they racked up the goals, strikes from Danny Johnson and Jobi McAnuff in the first half being added to by Connor Wilkinson and Craig Clay in the second.
After third League Two win in four matches, Ross Embleton’s team now sit eleventh in the table after ten games played, just two points off the Play-Off places.
Elsewhere, Dan Kemp was an unused substitute as Blackpool defeated Burton 2-1 at Pirelli Stadium on Halloween night.