Sporting progressed into the last sixteen of the Taça de Portugal with a comfortable win over SC Braga, with Diego Capel and, rather fortuitously, Emiliano Insúa providing the goals.
It was a big night in particular for coach Domingos Paciência as he faced the side he sent to the Europa League final last year.
With the international break ensuring some of Sporting’s players who were unavailable for the 3-1 win of União de Leiria returned match fit it meant Domingos chose a centre-back partnership of Ânderson Polga and Oguchi Onyewu.
The game started out fairly evenly with both sides making chances but the first goal came after fifteen minutes when Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s ball found Diego Capel on the bar side of the box. He jinked back into the box and rounded goalkeeper Tommaso Berni to slot the ball home into an empty net.
Sporting’s second came as a result of a freekick after Ewerton was adjudged to have fouled Ricky van Wolfswinkel out side the box. The resulting freekick from Matías Fernández was parried out by goalkeeper Berni but, unlucky for Braga, the ball bounced straight onto the chest of Emiliano Insúa and rebounded in to the net.
Braga were still making a game of it and provided Sporting’s defence a tough time, in particular Braga coach Leonardo Jardim may feel aggrieved that referee Jorge Sousa failed to give a penalty for Polga’s foul on the dangerous Alan.
The game though stayed 2-0 up until half-time with a scoreline that perhaps a tad harsh on Braga for their first half efforts.
Just two minutes after the restart and Braga were down to ten men. Elias was sent through on goal and Uwa Elderson as the last defender took the Brazilian midfielder out to give Jorge Sousa the easiest decision of the night to make.
The sending off meant Sporting were now able to control more possession and play the game at their own pace whilst trying to add further goals. Oguchi Onyewu came close to converting a Stijn Schaars freekick but narrowly missed making contact with the ball.
Braga’s best chance of the second half came through substitute Paulo César whose powerful header hit the inside of Rui Patrício’s post just seconds after he came onto the pitch.
Later it was the turn of André Carrillo to be a substitute to hit the woodwork. The Peruvian’s superbly struck hit from outside the area cannoned back off Berni’s bar. Capel collected the ball but his cross in front of the face of goal failed to be converted by another Sporting player.
In the end it turned out to be a more comfortable evening than perhaps Sporting had imagine. The draw on for the next round of the Taça de Portugal will be decided on Tuesday with Sporting and Benfica now considered favourites after Porto’s shock exit to Académica last night.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Ânderson Polga (YC), Oguchi Onyewu, Emiliano Insúa (Scored 21′, YC) (Evaldo Fabiano 75′); André Santos (YC) (Daniel Carriço 66′), Stijn Schaars, Elias; Matías Fernández (André Carrillo 66′), Diego Capel (Scored 14′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (YC)
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Santiago Arias André Martins, Valeri Bojinov