Sporting Clube de Portugal are a much different team than the one that successfully knocked out FC Nordsjælland in the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League last season and it seems for the better. Much like last time Sporting will be traveling to Denmark for the first leg before the return leg in Lisbon.
Simon Vukčević got the goal that day and although he currently is still with the club his days are numbered. Amongst the team that night were the likes of Pedro Mendes, Maniche and Carlos Saleiro whilst under the management of Paulo Sérgio.
Sporting will be without Luis Aguiar and Valeri Bojinov who although being included in the squad will only possibly be fit for the return leg. Matías Fernández is in contention and it is likely that the Chilean could make his appearance of the bench.
There are some decisions for Domingos Paciência to make again after the 1-1 draw at home to Olhanense on the opening weekend. Some players though, like Jeffrén and Fabián Rinaudo will feel like did enough on the first day to warrant another place in the team.
Diego Capel could be favoured ahead of Yannick Djaló which would only add more interest into the possibility of Djaló possibly leaving the club before the end of the transfer window, especially if Yannick does not play at all – meaning he would not be cup tied for the Europa League. Djaló has been an apparent target of Juventus as of late, with other clubs apparently monitoring the situation.
Daniel Carriço missed out on the first match to Olhanense as Paciência went for a centre-back partnership of Ânderson Polga and Alberto Rodríguez so it will be perhaps likely that the Sporting captain be played against Nordsjælland.
Up front Hélder Postiga was mightily unlucky not to score on day 1 of the Liga and so his position as the first choice striker may be under threat from Ricky van Wolfswinkel who has a point to prove after not being brought on for the bench as Sporting chased for a goal in the last game.
Sporting fans will no doubt be expecting a win, even Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand only rates his team’s chances of progressing as “10 or 20%” but any form of draw, preferably a score draw, will be a bonus. That’s not to say Sporting should be winning but with this being a new team they can’t be expected to function fully straight away.
Possible Sporting XI:
João Pereira – Daniel Carriço – Alberto Rodríguez – Evaldo Fabiano
Fabián Rinaudo – André Santos
Jeffrén Suárez – Stijn Schaars – Diego Capel
Ricky van Wolfswinkel