Portillo, still the record marksman in Real Madrid CF's youth teams, had broken his Belgian First Division duck against R. Charleroi SC on 30 September, and he revindicated the decision to bring him on loan from the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday with the 24th-minute opener in Club Brugge's 2-1 win against KAA Gent.
The game was the Spaniard's fourth league start of the season, and he made sure it would be a memorable one as he headed Club Brugge's second 16 minutes from time. Coach Jan Ceulemans hopes the goals will now begin to flow for the 23-year-old, saying: "Just like Boško Balaban, Portillo lives to score goals and today he was very important for us."
'I never doubted myself'
"These are important goals for me and the team," confirmed Portillo. "I have kept calm despite getting criticism for not scoring. I never doubted myself and with the help of the coach and players I knew my luck would change. I hope this is a real start and hope to play against Rapid on Wednesday, because playing in the UEFA Champions League is what I came to Brugge for."
The victory took Club Brugge third in the table, four points adrift of RSC Anderlecht and a further two behind leaders R. Standard de Liège. Standard were reminded of the importance of their captain as they lost 2-1 at R. Excelsior Mouscron on Sunday, with Sérgio Conceição serving a one-match suspension.
Bereft of the Portuguese playmaker the pacesetters fell to their second seasonal defeat, leaving coach Karel Geraerts to say: "Although we won without him five times last season, today we clearly missed his control. Sérgio is the best player in Belgium and it is obvious we would rather play with him than without."
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.