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Football Whispers
 By Nayib Moran

Raul Jimenez gets another goal; Chucky sent off against Heerenveen

MEXICO CITY -- Another weekend of action is complete for Mexico's footballers in Europe.

Players like Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Omar Govea didn't see action. Hernandez didn't see playing time because West Ham had the weekend off, while Govea was sent off last weekend, which prevented him to take part in Royal Excel Mouscron's 2-2 draw against Waasland-Beveren. This past week several of Mexico's footballers saw action in Champions League and Europa League play, but none were able to celebrate a win.

Here's a look back at the Heroes and Villains:


Raul Jimenez scored his second league goal for February. Jimenez has scored in two of Benfica's past three league games, which is a positive streak with only a few weeks away from Mexico's upcoming friendlies. Benfica continues its title race against FC Porto and, without a doubt, Jimenez's goals will be fundamental as his team seeks another league championship. During January's transfer window, there were reports suggesting that he could come back to Mexico and play for Club America on a six-month loan. It will be interesting to follow where Jimenez will end up after the World Cup, especially if he manages to shine in Russia.

On Thursday, Hector Moreno got his first start with Real Sociedad. La Real hosted Red Bull Salzburg in Europa League action. The Mexican center-back played 76 minutes and finished the night with six accurate long balls. He also won three of his four duels. However, Moreno has yet to see action in league play. Since his arrival to San Sebastian, Sociedad has had three league games, but Moreno hasn't been included in any of the gameday rosters. Based on how he did in his Europa League debut, it won't take long for Moreno to get La Liga minutes.

Real Betis and Real Madrid closed out the weekend in style in Seville. Although Betis lost 5-3 to Real Madrid, Andres Guardado gave an excellent performance. His numbers were on point. He had zero dispossessions, got three tackles, created one big chance and had a 92 percent passing accuracy. It's unlucky that Betis couldn't get a draw or even a victory from this match, but Guardado's performance confirmed that his first season with Betis has been a huge success. He will become a club idol, and his relationship with manager Quique Setien will surely help him turn into an a great manager after his retirement.

It definitely was a tough week for FC Porto, who lost 5-0 to Liverpool last Wednesday, but Diego Reyes still managed to make key defensive plays, and if he hadn't done them, the loss could have looked much worse than it already did. Reyes blocked two shots, and won seven of his nine duels. We'll see if Reyes continues to appear in Porto's XI, but during the time he got minutes as Porto's starting center-back, he showed that he's capable to be one of the starting defenders.

Raul Jimenez, right, celebrates his second goal in February for Benfica.


PSV drew 2-2 against Heerenveen, but once again Hirving "Chucky" Lozano was sent off. Since the start of the season, Lozano has been sent off twice, and both times it happened against Heerenveen. Lozano might have been red-carded, but he still managed to get an assist during the 45 minutes he was on the field.

With Sevilla, Miguel Layun has already played 192 La Liga minutes. Just to put numbers into perspective, with Porto this season he only played 212 league minutes. Layun played as left-back in Sevilla's visit to Las Palmas. He gave away a penalty, but Sevilla fought back to win 2-1. It's great to see that Layun is getting much needed playing time ahead of the World Cup, but he will need to step up his game if he hopes to continue getting league starts.

Nayib Moran covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @nayibmoran.


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