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Mexicans in Europe: Jonathan dos Santos on song for Villarreal

Jonathan dos Santos
Jonathan dos Santos was instrumental as Villarreal overcame Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Andres Guardado and Hector Moreno were once again superb for PSV Eindhoven, Porto gained a big win without their Mexican contingent, and Guillermo Ochoa had another busy day in goal.

Here's a look back at the Heroes and Villains for the Mexicans in Europe:


Thanks to a well-timed cross from Jonathan dos Santos, Roberto Soldado was able to provide the game-winning goal for Villarreal during Sunday's 1-0 win over Celta Vigo. Although the assist will technically go to Mateo Musacchio, who helped deflect the cross to Soldado, Dos Santos undoubtedly had a key role in the opportunity that helped gain another three points for Villarreal.

Week in and week out, Andres Guardado continues to be one of the most important figures in PSV Eindhoven's starting XI. On Saturday, the midfield conductor scored a late goal in the 3-1 victory over Go Ahead Eagles. In the backline, Hector Moreno helped control the lead with his several defensive interceptions. The consistency seen from Guardado and Moreno this season has been impressive.

Is it possible to be a hero in the attack if your team loses 2-0 at home? During Real Sociedad's defeat to Athletic Bilbao, Carlos Vela stood out with his playmaking and dangerous passes in the final third. Although Real Sociedad went on to lose the match, Vela's performance was an overt reminder of the talents that the Mexican international has at his disposal. This isn't the same thrilling Vela we saw a few years ago in Spain, but the winger is showing subtle hints of his old self.

Like Vela, Guillermo Ochoa also emerged with a positive performance in a loss. On Saturday, Granada nearly salvaged a draw in a tight 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid. Despite the lone goal in the 84th minute by Antoine Griezmann, Ochoa was in fine form with his numerous saves in goal. Now, the 31-year-old will need to set his sights on the upcoming relegation battle against Sporting Gijon.

After a 7-0 win over Nacional de Madeira, Porto followed their goal fest with another one-sided showing during Friday's 4-0 victory against Arouca. Unfortunately for the Mexicans in the first team, neither of the three saw minutes in the recent game. While Miguel Layun was left on the bench, Hector Herrera and Jesus Corona were both recovering from injuries.


Javier Hernandez and Bayer Leverkusen will likely want to forget the recent 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen. After maintaining a narrow 1-0 lead for most of the match, Leverkusen stumbled through a late goal from Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro in the 79th minute. Adding insult to injury, Leverkusen's Omer Toprak missed a penalty attempt that could have secured a victory in the 96th minute. As for the Mexican striker, Hernandez finished the draw without a single shot.

Following a promising 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund last month, Benfica embarrassed themselves with an ensuing 4-0 loss in the second leg of the Champions league round of 16 series. Striker Raul Jimenez, who has yet to gain a start in 2017, was given a late cameo in the 82nd minute of Wednesday's defeat. Looking ahead, Benfica will have an opportunity to regain some confidence when the Portuguese side hosts Belenenses on Monday.

Another Fiorentina match, another day on the bench for Carlos Salcedo. During Sunday's 1-0 victory against Cagliari, the Mexican defender was once again left without minutes. With no spot in the Europa League left for Fiorentina, it's going to be very difficult for Salcedo to earn a place in the starting XI.

Cesar Hernandez covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @cesarhfutbol.


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