Sporting’s beginning to the a promising new season didn’t exactly go as many had planned at home to Olhanense. Wilson Eduardo’s superb strike against his parent club meant Sporting would have to come from behind but were unable to score until Marat Izmailov’s 77th minute goal.
The game marked the official debuts of a whole host of new signings; Alberto Rodríguez, Fabián Rinaudo, Stijn Schaars, Jeffrén, Diego Rubio, and Diego Capel. It showed too, as there was a lack of cohesion in the team going forward, for all of the Sporting possession there lacked a cutting edge. It’s a familiar theme to last season although there’s still plenty of hope for the rest of the season.
Somewhat surprising was that Domingos Paciência did not go for the 4-1-3-2 formation that had been prevalent through-out most of pre-season instead opting for 3 in midfield with Schaars the more advanced ahead of Rinaudo and André Santos.
Another surprise was that Paciência left Daniel Carriço on the bench instead choosing Ânderson Polga and Alberto Rodríguez as the centre-back pairing and meaning João Pereira captained the team.
It was 29 minutes until Wilson Eduardo’s goal put Olhanense ahead. Wilson Eduardo is one of 3 Sporting players on loan at Olhanense currently along side João Gonçalves and Mexer. There will be concerns with how Eduardo was able to get his shot away without being closed down sooner but the strike was so good that Rui Patrício, on his 62nd consecutive Liga start, could do nothing. It should be noted that Wilson Eduardo did not celebrate after scoring.
The goal was against the run of play though, Hélder Postiga was unlucky not to have scored by that point with Olhanense’s Brazilian goalkeeper Fabiano doing well to prevent a Postiga header and a Jeffrén drive.
There was a controversial moment too after Jeffrén’s well saved shot as the ball bounced back out there looked to be a hand used by the Olhanense player but the referee, Carlos Xistra, did not give a penalty.
In the second half again a Jeffrén delivery caused danger with Hélder Postiga getting on the end of it with a header but it went narrowly wide of the goal.
The equaliser came in the 77th minute with a long cross from Evaldo found Marat Izmailov at the back post who’s shot was well saved by Fabiano but the goalkeeper could only rebound the ball back in to Izmailov’s feet and then passed it calmly into the net.
In the 89th minute a Stijn Schaars strike went narrowly wide to win the game for Sporting but the game finished 1-1.
Although performance wise this wasn’t the worst for Sporting the lack of finishing may well be a concern. Sporting next face Nordsjælland away on Thursday before the next league game in Aveiro away to Beira-Mar.
SPORTING: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Ânderson Polga, Alberto Rodríguez, Evaldo Fabiano; Fabián Rinaudo (YC), André Santos (Marat Izmailov 45′, Scored 77′), Stijn Schaars; Jeffrén Suárez (YC) (Diego Rubio 55′), Yannick Djaló (Diego Capel 63′); Hélder Postiga
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Daniel Carriço, Bruno Pereirinha, Ricky van Wolfswinkel