Sporting Clube de Portugal rounded off their best performance of the season thus far with a 3-0 victory at home to Vitória de Setúbal.
Much like in Sporting’s last match, Sporting opened the scoring within the first 2 minutes. André Carrillo skillfully picked up the ball from the half-way line before making a surging run towards goal his shot rebounding from goalkeeper Diego Silva into the path of Stijn Schaars who put Sporting ahead from close range.
Rui Patrício didn’t not paint himself in glory in Sporting’s last match and had an embarrassing moment not long after the opening goal. Alberto Rodríguez’s sloppy back pass meant Patricio was forced to clear a tough ball and his kick was blocked by João Silva. The on-loan Everton forward went close to scoring after rounding Patrício but Fabián Rinaudo was there to clear the ball off the line.
Vitória had a great chance once again soon after, João Silva found himself in a great position baring down on Patrício’s goal. The Portugal goalkeeper redeemed himself getting a strong arm to punch away Silva’s shot.
Setúbal were soon made to pay for their missed chances as just a minute later João Pereira brought the ball of out of defence and played in Ricky van Wolfswinkel down the channel. The Dutchman still had lots of work to do but managed to take the ball into the area before blasting a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle.
To their credit Setúbal continued to play and came close to scoring again on the 10 minute mark. A freekick from all of 35 yards was magnificently struck by Cláudio Pitbull and clattered onto the Sporting bar with the goalkeeper helpless at their sheer speed and power of the Brazilian’s shot.
Vitória de Setúbal could have scored 3 goals by this time and were once again made to pay. Stijn Schaars pass a corner low to André Carrillo on the outside of the box, his shot was completely miscued and the ball feel instead to Ricky van Wolfswinkel. The in-form striker made no mistake smashing the ball emphatically into the roof of the net to put Sporting 3-0 up after just 15 minutes. Van Wolfswinkel grabbing his 5th goal in Sporting’s last 4 games.
The rest of the half failed to live up the frantic pace of the first 15 minutes and the game gradually became less open with Sporting starting to look more secure at the back. Sporting’s 3 goal cushion meant they no longer need to be as ruthless going forward and only a couple of long range strikes, Stijn Schaars in particular forcing Diego Silva in to a good save, made up the rest of the half’s chances.
Domingos Paciência will no doubt have reminded his players of complacency Sporting’s last game and the Lions looked in no danger of letting this one slip.
Ânderson Polga replaced Alberto Rodríguez at for the second half it’s not clear yet whether this was due to an injury or simply to rest Rodríguez for the upcoming game against Lazio.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel will have felt greatly aggrieved as to having failed to find a goal in a minute in which he had 3 great chances. André Carrillo and Diego Capel too will feel guilty of being unable to find a 4th goal for the home side.
Setúbal failed to create much during the second half through Ney Santos, whose effort forced a great save from Rui Patrício. Sporting’s defence looked far more assured than in recent games and Setúbal were forced to try and taken on efforts from distance.
This was by far Sporting’s best performance of the new season and the only minor concern will be that Sporting didn’t in fact score more goals. Ricky van Wolfswinkel in particular will be annoyed with himself for not having left the Alvalade with a hatrick and the match ball.
Domingos Paciência will be happy to see the team improving on a weekly basis as the new squad begins to gel together more and more. The performance of the young André Carrillo will be of a particular bonus as the Peruvian proved just what potential he has.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Alberto Rodríguez (Ânderson Polga 46′), Oguchi Onyewu (YC), Emiliano Insúa; Fabián Rinaudo, Stijn Schaars (Scored 2′) (Valeri Bojinov 70′), Elias; André Carrillo (Matías Fernández 59′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Scored 7′, 14′), Diego Capel
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Evaldo Fabiano, André Santos, Diego Rubio