Sporting finished the game with 9 men on the pitch but managed to hang on to a 2-1 victory which sends opponents Portimonense relegated to the Liga de Honra and keeps the pressure on Braga.
It only took 20 minutes for Sporting to get ahead, with Matías Fernández’s cross teeing up Hélder Postiga to head powerfully past goalkeeper Hugo Ventura, but the rest of the evening was not to be as easy as that.
Portimonense looked good going forward and there were two clear chances for the Alvinegros, the South African forward Calvin Kadi forced Rui Patrício in to a fine save. About a minute later Patrício should have been called into action again but Lito’s header went wide when the Cape Verde international should have at least hit the target.
Sporting were always dangerous going forward, and the trio of Matías, Yannick and Izmailov all looked assured and dangerous in possession. This was of course Marat Izmailov’s first start for the better part of a year as he looked to try and prove worth of his new contract.
Portimonense’s chances seemed to spark the Verde e Brancos into life and João Pereira added a second that seemed to sure up the 3 points before the half-time interval. Pereira’s finish was surprisingly composed for a full back after great play fro Matías and Yannick Djaló in the build up.
The second half started off with an early booking from referee Duarte Gomes, to André Santos for his foul on Ivanildo. Although the game was not played with nearly the sort of temperament through-out that would result in the later red cards.
After 63 minutes José Couceiro made Sporting’s first substitution of the game Jaime Valdés came on in place of Yannick Djaló. Valdés soon made an impact, smashing the bar from outside the box, but before the bar at that ending stopped rattling the net at the other end was in action as Portimonense pulled a goal back through Jorge Pires. It was perhaps not surprising that Portimonense scored, they had looked fairly threatening going forward but the game was played at a strolling pace and the result never really seemed to be in doubt until then. Jaime Valdés came close to scoring again soon after but it wasn’t to be for the Chilean.
The match will probably be best remembered for what happened within the last 10 minutes. First, André Santos was sent off for his second yellow of the game for another foul on Ivanildo, this time a cynical pull back (although one Ivanildo made the most of). The second sending off though really had the Alvalade in a fury. João Pereira dissent to Duarte Gomes was apparently enough for a straight red card, leaving Sporting having to see out the remainder of 5 minutes of normal time, and then stoppage time with only 9 men.
And fortunately they were able to do so without truly being threatened going forward, all in all it was a solid 3 points marred by a last 10 minutes of reckless tackles and reckless refereeing.
- Matías had another stand out performance, and proves why he is so important to Sporting’s attacking threat with 2 assists.
- Marat Izmailov started and played 77 minutes before being substituted. There is rustiness to shake off, but he looked good in parts.
- Rui Patrício. Awesome again.
- Duarte Gomes. You must wonder what it was exactly that João Pereira said to the referee to warrant a straight red card.
- Not putting the game to bed. A third goal would have made those last 10 minutes much safer, but trust Sporting not to do things they way they would be done.
- Although there was an element of luck in the goal from Jorge Pires, the defense still looks suspect from time to time.
SPORTING TEAM: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (Scored 43′, RC), Daniel Carriço, Marco Torsiglieri, Evaldo; Alberto Zapater, André Santos (YC, RC); Yannick Djaló (Jaime Valdés 63′), Matías Fernández (Simon Vukčević 72′), Marat Izmailov (Carlos Saleiro 77′); Hélder Postiga (Scored 20′)
Subs not used: Tiago, Abel, Ânderson Polga, Nuno André Coelho