The season is finally upon us and Sporting Clube de Portugal are back in competitive action with the opener against Sporting Clube Olhanense at the José Alvalade.
It’s been a massive summer for Sporting with a new President, Manager and an entirely new-look and vastly improved squad. Even with the recent friendly defeats it’s hard not to still feel optimistic about the upcoming season.
Olhanense are some way away from them their early form of last year but the Olhão outfit aren’t too shabby. Ivanildo looks to be a good signing for them and manager Dauto Faquirá will be happy for another mid-table finish once more. Perhaps Olhanense will be looking to try and exploit the relative lack of cohesion amongst the Sporting team which is natural after such a massive rejuvenation this summer.
Domingos Paciência will be watched closely with his team selection, some names like Rui Patrício and Daniel Carriço are obvious inclusions but it’s the array of attacking options that will be causing headaches for Paciência.
The likes of Diego Capel, Jeffrén, and André Carrillo will be fighting for the places that would usually have been taken by Yannick Djaló or Marat Izmailov. Up front too Hélder Postiga sees competition from Ricky van Wolfswinkel and the impressive young Chilean, Diego Rubio.
The second centre-back slot along site captain Daniel Carriço will prove to be a headache although it is likely that Alberto Rodríguez is currently in the lead for that position.
Still, regardless of team selection a winning start will certainly be expected especially in front of the home fans.
Some players are doubts for the match, Matías Fernández is properly not entirely fit after his Copa América exploits, Luis Aguiar hasn’t had too much pre-season after an early injury and Valeri Bojinov is almost certainly out.
Possible SPORTING XI:
João Pereira – Daniel Carriço – Alberto Rodríguez – Evaldo Fabiano
Yannick Djaló – Stijn Schaars – Diego Capel
Ricky van Wolfswinkel – Hélder Postiga