Sporting Clube de Portugal look to take further charge of Group D in the Europa League as they welcome Romanian side, FC Vaslui, to the Alvalade. A win would put Sporting top and at least 5 points clear of any potential second place team.
FC Vaslui so far have drawn their first 2 games in the Europa League and currently stand 5th in the Romanian Liga I. The result against Lazio, in the Stadio Olimpico, was in particularly an impressive result. The former Paços de Ferreira and Leixões forward Wesley has been in superb form – scoring 3 times in those 2 European matches.
Vaslui is also currently the club of former Sporting player Gladstone. The defender, who spent the 2007-2008 season on loan at the Alvalade from Cruzeiro, isn’t always a guaranteed starter at centre-back but will travel back to Lisbon as a part of Viorel Hizo’s squad.
Defenders are very much an issue currently for Domingos Paciência with Daniel Carriço, Oguchi Onyewu, and Ânderson Polga all doubts for the forthcoming match. Sporting ended Saturday’s Taça de Portugal game against Famalicão with Alberto Rodríguez and Evaldo Fabiano as the two centre-backs.
The centre-back troubles does mean that youngster Tiago Ilori could feature in Thursday’s game. The player has been kept on hold and does not travel with his NextGen team mates as the U19 squad travel to Germany to face Wolfsburg. The 18-year old London born defender would be making his debut for the club should he feature at all against Vaslui.
Jeffrén Suárez could finally make his return, the player has been out since the end of August, and if he does feature will probably make his appearance from the bench – with the player being far from match fit. Valeri Bojinov also looks set to return after injury trouble over the international break that put him out of contention for the game against Famalicão.
Sporting then will have a tougher fixture than perhaps predicted with the defensive injuries but in front of the home crowd should be a victory to ease the pressure on getting results in the last 3 fixtures.
Possible Sporting XI:
João Pereira – Oguchi Onyewu – Tiago Ilori – Evaldo Fabiano
Fabián Rinaudo – Stijn Schaars
André Carrillo – Matías Fernández – Diego Capel
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel