A mix of Falcão, poor defending, and one big decision going against Sporting – that was what separated the two sides after 90+8minutes.
Sporting started off quite brightly and were able to pressure Porto, with Alberto Zapater and André Santos as the two holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 trying to stifle the opposition. It was Sporting too who opened the scoring, as André Santos had a long range shot luckily deflect off Matías Fernández and trickle into the net with goalkeeper Helton stranded after 11 minutes gone on the clock.
This seemed to spark Porto into life as they began to attack, exposing Sporting’s defensive weaknesses. The majority of Porto’s attacking threat came through Silvestre Valera down the left hand side up against Abel as he provided balls in to Falcão. Falcão missed 3 great chances (2 Rui Patrício saves and the woodwork denied him) before finally scoring a header that left Patrício with no chance with 27 minutes gone. The fingers may well be pointed at Torsiglieri and Evaldo for failing to pick up Falcão in the box earlier.
Porto grew into the game more but Sporting looked dangerous on the box, Yannick Djaló should have scored from an Evaldo cross but managed to head over the bar.
Only 5 minutes after the restart, Falcão scored another header, after a well worked corner that resulted in João Moutinho being the provider. Porto continued to have the pressure, and Rui Patrício’s performance cannot be overlooked, the goalkeeper was superb and often looked perplexed by the standard of defending in front of him.
After 64 minutes gone in the match there was cause for optimism as Marat Izmailov finally made his return, playing his first game since the 0-1 defeat to Naval in May of last year. A big concern for Porto will be the injury sustained to Helton not longer after, the goalkeeper took a bad fall after catching a Matías Fernández freekick. After a long period of time he was finally replaced by Beto.
The Sporting defence had a collective sigh of relief 80 minutes gone when Falcão finally departed, being replaced by Walter. Falcao had been superb through the entire match and will consider himself unlucky not to have scored more than his brace.
When Walter scored a goal in the 87th minute, taking advantage of more poor defending, it seemed like it was game over for Sporting. Abel will receive the blame for not managing to keep in line with his fellow defenders and playing the Brazilian on side. The reply from Sporting was instantaneous though as in the 88th minute Matías Fernández got his second goal of the game, smashing a shot past the substitute goalkeeper.
There seemed to be more hope for Sporting as due to Helton’s injury 8 minutes of time was added on to the 90 minutes. It all seemed to be falling into place too when Rolando missed controlled a ball that bounced up and clearly hit the defenders arm but referee Artur Soares Dias waved play on. It was an obvious penalty, and a terrible decision that would be likely to give Sporting a point.
- Rui Patrício, Man of the Match performance despite conceding 3 goals.
- Matías Fernández played very well, his brace proof of that.
- Played well for the most part going forward, especially against such a good team.
- Defence. Falcão won virtually every header he went for today.
- João Moutinho played well and celebrated like a madmen for the 2nd Porto goal.
- Artur Soares Dias missing an obvious penalty.
SPORTING TEAM: Rui Patrício; Abel, Ânderson Polga, Marco Torsiglieri (YC), Evaldo; Alberto Zapater (Simon Vukčević 63′), André Santos; Yannick Djaló, Matías Fernández (Scored: 11′ 89′), Jaime Valdés (Marat Izmailov 64′); Hélder Postiga (Carlos Saleiro 88′)
Subs not used: Tiago, Diogo Salomão, Nuno André Coelho, Daniel Carriço