Sporting secured qualification into the knock-out rounds with a comfortable 2-0 victory against a feisty FC Vaslui sides thanks to goals from Evaldo Fabiano and Matías Fernández.
The first half started with Sporting having the most of possession as Vaslui did their best to interrupt Sporting’s attacks whether legally or, mostly, illegally. Former Sporting player Gladstone did well to head away an early Matías Fernández strike that looked dangerous as Sporting held the ball well early on.
Vaslui’s tactics made it hard for Sporting to break the opposition down, the first real chance of the half came after a half hour from Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who’s clever shot, after an Evaldo cross, went just over the bar.
It seemed FC Vaslui were doing well with Viorel Hizo’s tactics until 36 minutes in when a moment of madness by former Portuguese Liga attacker Wesley head butted João Pereira. The Brazilian felt he was fouled by João Pereira in the area and immediately chased after the Portugal right back before head butting him and then going down himself. The French referee though waited patiently for the player to return to his feet before showing the red card.
It didn’t take too long for Sporting to make Vaslui pay. Matías Fernández jinked past defenders in the Vaslui box brilliantly before squaring a pass to allow Evaldo to tap in from close range to put the home side 1-0 up just minutes before half-time.
The second half saw Sporting on top straight away with the excellent Diego Capel threatening the Vaslui defence once more. Capel may be an incredibly one footed player but he’s seemed to master that one foot so well he doesn’t really need to use his right foot.
The game took the complexion of a training match with the inferior Vaslui numbers meaning Sporting had almost all of the possession and spent most of the game in Vaslui’s half of the pitch. Matías Fernández and Diego Capel were the players most threatening as Sporting went forward, Matías Fernández’s free-kick in particular forced a great save out of Claudiu Puia.
Domingos Paciência recognised that Sporting needed to score again to secure the result and sent on the more attacking minded André Carrillo for Bruno Pereirinha.
It was only a minute after the change when Vaslui had their best chance of the match albeit offside. Yero Bello’s header forced Rui Patrício to tip the ball onto the post but the lines man soon raised his flag for offside. It was a warning for Sporting that their 1-0 lead was not entirely secure.
The game was effectively finished as a contest by an excellent counter-attack in which Diego Capel took ran forward a massive distance with the ball before passing to André Carrillo who then found Matías Fernández after nut megging a defender and the Chilean finished with grace to cap a superb goal.
Sporting’s second goal meant they could now afford to rest players for the forthcoming league match against Gil Vicente with Valeri Bojinov and André Martins replacing Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Diego Capel. André Martins making his senior competitive debut for the side in comfortable circumstances.
Sporting had one final great chance before the end of the match, Stijn Schaars had a powerful long range effort that shook the crossbar.
In all it was a relatively easy 3 points for Sporting who, due Zurich’s 1-1 draw with Lazio, are guaranteed qualification to the Europa League knockout stages becoming the first team to do so this season.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Daniel Carriço, Ânderson Polga, Evaldo Fabiano (Scored 43′); Fabián Rinaudo (YC), Stijn Schaars, Matías Fernández (Scored 70′); Bruno Pereirinha (André Carrillo 61′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Valeri Bojinov 73′), Diego Capel (André Martins 78′)
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tiago Ilori, André Santos, Diego Rubio