Once again a toothless Sporting side failed to create enough to win the game, this time against Beira-Mar with both sides failing to score.
Initially it looked like the game wouldn’t take place, a dispute over the referee for the game following criticisms of Carlos Xistra in the 1-1 draw at home to Portimonense last weekend meant that no referee was too willing to take this one. With fears the game could not go on the clubs themselves took to finding one and managed to do so in Fernando Martins, who had a relatively good game. This meant kick off was delayed for an extra 15 minutes late for the start of the match for the new referee to be able to warm up.
Domingos Paciência made a few changes from the team that drew in Denmark to Nordsjælland last Thursday with Diego Capel, Matías Fernández, and Ricky van Wolfswinkel (making his official debut) all starting. With Yannick Djaló also having come under some criticism for his recent performances it was a surprise to see him start.
The match started exactly where it had let off in Denmark for Sporting. The team lacked creativity and decisiveness in the final third of the pitch and were unable to break down a stern Beira-Mar defence.
One player who did look like a real threat for Sporting going forward was the Spaniard, Diego Capel. There was surprise when he was excluded from the team last time out and he proved why once more. Capel made it a difficult night for Beira-Mar’s right back Pedro Moreira.
So unimpressive where Sporting going forward though Domingos Paciência made a drastic change in making two substitutions early on with Marat Izmailov and Hélder Postiga coming on in place of Yannick Djaló and Matías Fernández. The Russian in particular was lively when he entered the fray.
Worryingly just before half-time, Alberto Rodríguez was brought of with what looked like a calf strain and at the start of the second half Daniel Carriço came on his place to make his first competitive start of the new season. This meant that Paciência was now unable to bring on the likes of André Carrillo and surprise substitute, Valeri Bojinov, as an impact replacement.
The second half was a slight improvement over the dire first, the first real change for Sporting came from a Daniel Carriço header not long after the break. It took until the 69th minute for another meaningful chance for sporting, Hélder Postiga’s header from a Stijn Schaars freekick went directly at goalkeeper, Rui Rêgo.
The best change of the game though came from the impressive Diego Capel. Marat Izmailov did well down the right hand side and hit in a low hard cross in front of the face of goal which was missed until it came out until the far post to Diego Capel. His shot was on target but Pedro Moreira did brilliantly well to clear it off the line with his heel.
That was Sporting’s last great chance, indeed for the later stages of the game, Beira-Mar came more likely to score with new signing, the former Real Madrid and Benfica player, Javier Balboa impressing.
It will be a worrying time for Domingos Paciência now. His body language and facial expressions from the touchline were not reassuring for any Sporting fan to see. It will increase the pressure for the next game, Nordsjælland’s visit to Lisbon. In defence the team looks fairly stable and although Diego Capel and Jeffrén Suárez have looked particularly impressive there is a real lack of creativity going forward that makes it easy for teams like Beira-Mar to defend against.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Ânderson Polga, Alberto Rodríguez (Daniel Carriço 46′), Evaldo Fabiano; Fabián Rinaudo, Stijn Schaars; Yannick Djaló (Hélder Postiga 36′), Matías Fernández (Marat Izmailov 36′), Diego Capel; Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Oguchi Onyewu, André Santos, André Carrillo, Valeri Bojinov