Report: Braga 0-1 SPORTING

Sporting Clube de Portugal’s end to a pretty poor Liga season didn’t end with much excitement but it did end with a win. It’s probably an important one for moral, more than the 3rd place the Leões have now gained after Yannick Djaló’s 5th minute goal proved to be the winner.

It was the perfect way for Sporting to quieten down the Quarry. Alberto Zapater was the man with the assist feeding it perfectly for Yannick to slot past Artur in the Braga net.

It should have be a game in which many of the Sporting players staked a claim to stay at the club but once again there was something lackluster about it all. André Santos was perhaps one of the better players on the pitch, doing well to break up Braga’s play.

After the break it was more of the same, Sporting defended well and Braga seemed to lack too much ambition. It was apparent that although 3rd place makes little differences in the grand scheme of things, the Braga players weren’t as bothered about it. They are not part of the “Big 3” of Portugal and so are not expected to always be in the Top 3. Of course, the Minhotos also have a big game on Wednesday to come.

It seemed most of the games action was on the sidelines, as Domingos Paciência, surprisingly, was taking up a huge amount of screen time. It seems almost certain that Paciência will be at Sporting next year so with him possibly facing his future employers it makes for an interesting paradigm.

Braga’s best chance came mid-way through the second half when Meyong headed the ball in the corner of the net. The assistant referee raised his flag right away for offside, and the replays showed that he was right too.

As the score remained 0-1, it was clear Sporting were happy to sit back and retain possession, perhaps best demonstrated by José Couceiro as he brought on the more defensive minded Nuno André Coelho for Matías Fernández. It seems this will almost certainly be José Couceiro’s last game in charge of Sporting.

In the end there was not too much for Rui Patrício to really do and the game ended in a bit of a disappointing whimper. It was probably a fitting end to Sporting’s season.

Positives:

  • A win! After the disappointment against Vitória de Setúbal last time out it was at least nice to see 3 points and a clean sheet.
  • Despite the defensive frailties this season, it was for the most part at least, fairly comfortable.
  • It’s the end of the season. Time to look forward again.

Negatives:

  • It’s still not vintage stuff from Sporting. There was little swashbuckling football.
  • Although he scored the winning goal, Yannick Djaló probably should have had a hatrick. He, as we all know, can be brilliant at times.
  • It’s the end of the season. Now what do we do?

SPORTING TEAM: Rui Patrício (YC); Cédric Soares, Ânderson Polga, Daniel Carriço (YC), Evaldo; Alberto Zapater, André Santos; Yannick Djaló (Scored 5′, YC), Matías Fernández (Nuno André Coelho 87′, YC), Jaime Valdés (Diogo Salomão 78′); Hélder Postiga (Carlos Saleiro 90′)
Subs not used: Tiago, Marco Torsiglieri, Leandro Grimi, Cristiano

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