Raul Gudino makes history as Hirving Lozano continues to dazzle
While FC Porto lost to RB Leipzig, with Hector Herrera and Miguel Layun in the starting eleven, and Benfica lost to Manchester United with Raul Jimenez among the starters, Mexican footballers in Europe had one of their most important weeks this season. It hasn't been an easy start for El Tri's European legion, but at least this week will be remembered as one where many of them got minutes.
Oct. 17, 2017 will now be marked as an important day for Mexican football history as 21-year-old Raul Gudino became the first Mexican goalkeeper to make an appearance in a Champions League game. Other noteworthy events included Carlos Salcedo's performance against Borussia Dortmund, where he played as both a right wing-back and center-back, and Guillermo Ochoa's display in Standard Liege's 3-1 win over Omar Govea's Royal Excel Mouscron.
Andres Guardado and Hirving "Chucky" Lozano continued playing well at their clubs. Here's a look back at the Heroes and Villains:
Similar to Govea, Gudino's playing rights still belong to FC Porto and he was allowed to leave this season to gain more experience. His chosen destination was Cypriot First Division side, APOEL. When the season began to gain momentum, it was looking less likely that Gudino would get significant looks on goal. But in APOEL's home game against Dortmund, starting goalkeeper Boy Waterman was injured and the Mexican youngster came in to replace him.
Since then, he's maintained the starting role and even participated in the club's recent league game, where it lost against AEK Larnaca 3-1. This opportunity is unprecedented for Gudino, and now it's up to him to keep the starting spot in the weeks to come. Gudino already has experience playing in First Division, as he did so in Portugal with Uniao da Madeira.
There's no one stopping Lozano from breaking records this season. He already has seven goals in seven Eredivisie games. His recent goal came in PSV's 3-0 win over Heracles, and as the Comex Masters website notes Lozano is already two goals away from tying the nine goals that Chicharito has scored in 2017 at club level. Of Chicharito's nine goals, six were scored with Bayer Leverkusen, and only three have been scored with West Ham.
Jesus "Tecatito" Corona didn't start in FC Porto's important game against Sporting. The game finished 0-0, but for Corona the last weeks at Porto have been complicated. His appearances in the XI had started to drop, but he did start on Sunday in Porto's 6-1 win over Pacos de Ferreira. Corona scored a goal and added an assist. FC Porto remains undefeated after the first nine games in the Liga NOS.
Finally, Hector Moreno received a league start from manager Eusebio di Francesco. AS Roma went on to win 1-0 against Torino, and Moreno completed 87.5 percent of his passes. He also had four accurate long balls out of the the seven he attempted. Getting a consistent a starting role won't be easy for Moreno, but the fact that he got a chance in the last weeks of October could allow him to slowly start winning over a spot.
Two of the three starts Raul Jimenez has received this season have come in Champions League play. The opponents were FC Basel and Manchester United. In both cases Benfica lost and couldn't get on the score sheet. Many will remember Jimenez as the substitute that manages to get important goals at the end of the season, but not as a striker who won over a starting role and scored many important goals for the club. So far in the new season, Jimenez has zero goals in league and Champions League play.
Real Sociedad just completed a phenomenal week in league and Europa League play. La Real defeated Alaves 2-0 last weekend and on Thursday beat FK Vardar Skopje 6-0. Carlos Vela didn't see a single minute in either of the games. It will be interesting to see if manager, Eusebio Sacristan, decides to give him minutes in Monday night's game against Espanyol. Just as Jimenez, Vela has yet to score a goal this season.
Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.