Brazilians Abroad: Oscar, Lucas Piazon and Philippe Coutinho Make Their Mark
It's been another busy weekend of footballing action around Europe and, once more, Brazilian stars had their say in cups and leagues the continent wide.
It was a quiet weekend in the Premier League, with only Philippe Coutinho's Liverpool side in action, but across France, Spain, Italy, Germany and beyond there were plenty of Brazilian players in action. In England, of course, there was also the FA Cup where Oscar's Chelsea were in goalscoring form.
In the Middle East, one of Brazil's seemingly forgotten forwards was among the goals, while Manchester United's Rafael may still add to the weekend's notable contributions on Monday night when his side take on Reading.
Ahead of a busy week of Champions League action, let's take a look at the big stories concerning Brazilian players from this weekend's action.
Oscar Puts on FA Cup Show
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
It may not have been top-class opposition, but Chelsea midfielder Oscar took centre-stage as the Blues progressed with relative ease to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 4-0 victory over Brentford.
It took a replay for the Stamford Bridge side to overcome their less-illustrious West London neighbours, but they eventually won through courtesy of four second-half goals at Stamford Bridge.
Once more Spaniard Juan Mata and the evergreen Frank Lampard were influential, but it was Oscar who proved the real inspiration in a busy all-around display.
An untimely slip meant he squandered a good first-half opportunity, striking the post. However, a flicked backheel for Chelsea's second goal made amends, before an inch-perfect cross picked out John Terry at the back post to add the icing on the cake for his side.
Slightly disappointing, though, were the actions of compatriot David Luiz.
With his side 4-0 up, the defensive midfielder was lucky to avoid a red card for what appeared to be a deliberate shoulder to the face of Brentford midfielder Jake Reeves in the final moments for the game.
Lucas Piazon Impresses on Full Malaga Debut
Julian Finney/Getty Images
While his Chelsea colleagues were preparing for their Sunday fixture with Brentford, on-loan forward Lucas Piazon was busy making his first start for Malaga in a 1-0 La Liga victory over Athletic Bilbao.
The former Sao Paulo forward (pictured appearing for Chelsea), who this week expressed his relief at escaping West London (ESPN), wasted little time in making an impact for his new club.
On 18 minutes, the 19-year-old showed great strength to create space on the left flank. His pull back then found Argentine striker Javier Saviola unmarked to fire home and give the Andalusians an important win in their chase for fourth place and Champions League qualification for 2013-14.
The Brazil Under-17 international will likely return to his substitute role for a midweek trip to Porto in the Champions League, but there are promising signs of an increase in playing time for the ambitious youngster.
An important few months lie ahead.
Coutinho Begins Liverpool Life with a Bang
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Swansea may have handed Liverpool the three points on a plate with their much-changed team selection, but the Reds were still highly impressive in their 5-0 demolition of the South Wales side at Anfield on Saturday.
Promisingly for Brendan Rodgers and his side, there were also glimpses of the contribution that recent 20-year-old signing Philippe Coutinho can make to the club's pursuit of a top-six finish.
The young attacking midfielder may have missed an early opportunity to give his side the lead, but redeemed himself with a surging run onto Luis Suarez's clever pass before squaring up his marker and firing home.
Post-match, Rodgers pleaded for patience with his young star as expectations soared following an impressive first start (via the official Liverpool website). However, he must have been very pleased with what he witnessed from the former Inter Milan player in his first proper foray in a Red shirt.
Lima Hits the Spot for Benfica
Final-minute winners are always a dream scenario for strikers, and this weekend it was Benfica's Brazilian striker Lima (pictured in his Braga days) left celebrating as his 95th-minute penalty secured his side a 1-0 victory over Academica.
When Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan was fouled in the penalty area, it was left to the striker to put the match to bed from 12 yards, and as per usual he made no mistake.
Lima, who now has 15 goals since joining Benfica last summer, reached the 20 league goal-mark with Sporting Braga last season and has continued his fine form in front of goal at the Estadio da Luz this campaign.
Despite his relative success and Brazil's current lack of a settled No. 9, though, Lima's lack of a high profile in his homeland means he is highly unlikely to be considered for the Selecao anytime soon.
Alex Scores in Shock PSG Defeat
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain may still have a three-point lead at the summit of Ligue 1, but they lost ground on their nearest rivals this weekend with a shock 3-2 away defeat to Sochaux.
When Brazilian centre-back Alex gave his side the lead on the half-hour mark, with a headed goal from a corner, it all looked to be heading very differently for the Qatari-funded Parisiens.
Just over an hour later, though, and Carlo Ancelotti's side were left staring defeat in the face as Cedric Bakambu gave the 14th-placed side the lead for the second time on the afternoon.
PSG's stuttering season continues and, on this occasion, they were consigned to defeat in the absence of Brazilian forward Lucas Moura, who missed the encounter through injury.
He was joined on the sidelines by big-name recent recruit David Beckham, who is not yet at full fitness after his January switch from MLS side LA Galaxy.
Michel Bastos at the Double for Schalke
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Another big-name January transfer was that of Brazilian winger Michel Bastos from Lyon (where he is pictured) to Schalke on loan until the end of the season, and he has made an immediate impact since arriving in Gelsenkirchen.
Two goals in a 2-2 draw with Mainz took his Bundesliga tally to three goals since his move last month, but Schalke have failed to win a game since his arrival at the club last month.
"I'd much rather have won than score two goals because I still haven't been able to celebrate since joining the club," Bastos complained to reporters, despite his starring role at the Veltins-Arena (via Bundesliga.com).
On Wednesday night, the Brazilian and his Schalke side travel to Galatasaray to take on the Turkish side in the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Elsewhere: Turkish Delight for Cristian Baroni, Nilmar Hat-Trick in Qatar
In Turkey, midfielder Cristian Baroni scored his side's second goal of the evening as Fenerbahce overcame Trabzonspor 3-0 on Sunday evening, largely thanks to an excellent performance from former Newcastle midfielder Emre.
With Trabzonspor struggling this campaign, Fenerbahce were expected to be too strong for their former title rivals, and so it proved, with the visitors running out comfortable winners. Brazilian defender Alanzinho appeared as a substitute for the 12th-placed host side.
Elsewhere, in Qatar, forgotten man Nilmar took advantage of some lackadaisical defending to score a hat-trick as Al-Rayyan overcame bottom-placed Al-Sailiya 7-3 in the Stars League.
Nilmar was joined on the scoresheet by teammate Rodrigo Tabata, who added a brace, as well as opponents Keninha Goiana and Marcelo Tavares.