Easah Suliman became the fifth Englishman to start a Primeira Liga match this century last night, playing all 90 minutes for Vitória SC in their 2-0 win against Vitória Setúbal.
He turned in a solid performance for Ivo Vieira’s side, filling in for the injured Bondarenko. The former England under-19 captain made his official debut against Sporting CP last month, coming on for the last few seconds but it was last night in Guimarães where he made his first start.
He put in a solid performance, playing all 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet. The highly rated defender played on the left hand side of a central defensive pair, partnering the 27-year-old Frederico Venâncio.
Suliman joined the Guimarães outfit in January on a four-and-a-half year deal from English club Aston Villa in a bid to play more senior minutes. The 22-year-old made one substitute appearance for Villa during his time in the Midlands. Suliman has followed in the footsteps of fellow countryman Marcus Edwards, another hot prospect who left England for Portugal in pursuit of first team opportunities.
He dealt with the Setúbal danger well throughout, making four clearances, winning one ground duel (100%) and winning three aerial duels. The other side of his game was tidy as well, impressively completing 90% of his 54 passes, including two long passes. He is an intelligent defender especially when moving forward with the ball and he shown this quality last night, being the only central defender on the pitch to successfully complete a dribble (100%).
Suliman’s inclusion in the XI coincided with Vitória claiming their first clean sheet since the restart of the Liga and he will be hoping to make a few more appearances between now and the end of the season. Ivo’s men have five Primeira Liga games left and sit 7th in the table on 43 points, still firmly on the hunt for Europa League football.
By Aaron Barton