Sporting suffered their first defeat under Domingos Paciência at the first game back at the Estádio José Alvalade. Valencia’s excellent first half, in which they scored 3 goals, was enough to see off Sporting.
Valencia’s first goal came from a defensive mix up that followed a long thrown-in and the 18-year old Bernat was there to head home in the confusion. It was defensively play most out of line with the previous pre-season fixtures so far.
Sporting first chance came in the 13th minute with Hélder Postiga’s long shot forcing a good save out of the Valencia goalkeeper, Diego Alves. A few minutes later, Diego Rubio (who was in an offside position unnoticed by the assistant referee) broke through on goal and rounded Diego Alves but his shot could only hit the outside of the post and go out.
Sporting were pressing high up the pitch but this meant they were susceptible to balls over the top which Valencia used well linked with the pace in the attack. It was how Valencia got their second goal with Roberto Soldado running through and slotting home with class past Rui Patricio.
Valencia’s new star signing ex-Almeria player, Pablo Piatti made it three goals for Los Che just before the half-time. As the half-time whistle was blown from the referee it was soon a louder whistle from the Sporting fans, unimpressed with the first half performance.
For the second half Sporting had changed kits and made a few changes, with Marat Izmailov, Diego Rubio and Oguchi Onyewu making way for Bruno Pereirinha, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and a debut for Alberto Rodríguez.
The second half was a very different affair to the first, with the ball more settled around the centre of the park, a slower pace and the mass substitutions at intervals affecting the flow of the game.
It was an improvement for Sporting though, with through balls over the top troubling less although Valencia’s width was still a threat. Diego Capel, Andre Carrillo and Luis Aguiar also made their debuts with Carrillo and Diego Capel especially looking like exciting signings
Later on in the game Valencia were close to making it 4-0 but substitute Ânderson Polga made an excellent intervention after Sporting were caught on the counter attack from sending to many players forward for a corner.
Sporting had the ball in the net in the 91st minute but Diego Capel’s goal was chalked off after André Carrillo was correctly ruled offside.
The game was the first showing that this is a brand new team and although the performance against Juventus was an exciting watch there may still be time needed to make sure these players gel together.
SPORTING: Rui Patrício (Marcelo Boeck 66′), João Pereira (YC) (André Carrillo 83′), Daniel Carriço (Ânderson Polga 66′), Oguchi Onyewu (Alberto Rodríguez 45′), Evaldo; Fabián Rinaudo (André Santos 59′); Marat Izmailov (Bruno Pereirinha 45′), Stijn Schaars (Luis Aguiar 59′), Yannick Djaló (Diego Capel 66′); Diego Rubio (Ricky van Wolfswinkel 45′), Hélder Postiga (André Martins 59′)
Subs Not Used: Tiago, Santiago Arias, Atila Turan, Valeri Bojinov