A stunning lack of creativity mixed with one moment of defensive vulnerability meant that Sporting Clube de Portugal lost out at home to Setúbal for the first time in 7 years. Braga managed only a 0-0 draw away to Académica and it means Sporting will need to get a win next week at the Quarry. Perhaps José Couceiro summed it up best afterward when he said that the game “was a reflection of the season.”
Sporting started the game with little urgency to score, but still looking bright going forward. Yannick and Izmailov were energetic and looking dangerous, it seemed as if a goal was going to be a certainty at some point soon. Izmailov in particular had a few good shots either saved or blocked, and Sporting had a healthy looking corner count.
The best chances of the first half for Sporting fell to Hélder Postiga, but he was unlucky not to be able to finish them. The first was a shot from close range that looked destined to be the opening goal for Sporting but Anderson do Ó made a great block to force another corner. The only corner of the game that looked promising fell to Postiga but his header was cleared off the line.
Setúbal for the most part were not too interested in going forward, the only clear-cut chance for them in the first half came not too long before the break, Zeca managed to get his chance all wrong and missed from close range.
The second half continued with the same theme, it was almost identical to the first half. Sporting with plenty of possession but somehow going wrong with their final ball. And so it went until the 55th minute, a matter of seconds went from Torsiglieri being given a yellow card for a rash challenge in the Vitória half of the pitch to the Leões conceding in the Sporting half.
It was great work down the left-side of the pitch from Cláudio Pitbull that sent in a cross that was easy for the well-traveled Jaílson to bury into the net. There was little that Rui Patrício could do about it. It was the first and only time that he had seriously been called into action.
Very soon after José Couceiro made the first substitution, taking off Marco Torsiglieri and bringing on Jaime Valdés. That meant Daniel Carriço went from a defensive midfield position into his more natural centre-back role.
There was still little going forward for Sporting. Matías Fernández had a shot well saved by Diego and Marat Izmailov went close from a clever and well improvised scooping shot but that was pretty much all Sporting could muster. Even the changes of Saleiro for Izmailov and Simon for Cédric could do nothing much for Sporting. Setúbal defended well until the end and the likes of Hugo Leal and Anderson do Ó in particular, will feel their contribution was a big part in this win, which saves Vitória from the prospect of relegation and keeps them in the top flight for another season.
- The young lad, Cédric Soares looked assured on his league debut and looks promising. More experience like this will be good for his development.
- Izmailov isn’t too far away from becoming match fit, but it seems we’ll have to wait until next season now to see the best of him once more.
- Third place is till up for grabs, with a win over Braga.
- There was a huge lack of imagination going forward, Matí tried to pull the strings as best he could but there is certainly something missing. Postiga too, had little to feed on.
- It also seemed that the players were lacking some passion, and there was never really a sense of urgency to equalise until late on after Simon came on.
- We could have taken the pressure of next weeks tricky fixture away to Braga, but now it has become a must-win game.
SPORTING TEAM: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares (Simon Vukčević 86′), Ânderson Polga, Marco Torsiglieri (YC, Jaime Valdés 59′), Evaldo; Alberto Zapater, Daniel Carriço; Yannick Djaló, Matías Fernández, Marat Izmailov (Carlos Saleiro 74′); Hélder Postiga
Subs not used: Tiago, Leandro Grimi, Nuno André Coelho, Diogo Salomão