Goals from Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Valeri Bojinov ensured Sporting top Group D with a comfortable victory at home over FC Zürich.
Domingos Paciência selected Valeri Bojinov and gave a first start to André Martins in a much changed side to that that lost away to Benfica last weekend.
The game started evenly until about ten minutes in when Sporting started to take hold of the match. Zürich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni did exceptionally well to save Valeri Bojinov’s close range effort and to stop Daniel Carriço’s shot seconds later.
That was a warning for the Swiss side who were soon 1-0 down after just fifteen minutes. Stijn Schaars played a lovely through ball down the right hand channel for Ricky van Wolfswinkel who controlled well before putting a great finish past Leoni.
Sporting were then in the ascendancy and took full control of the game. In particular praise must be singled out for André Martins who, on his full first start for Sporting, was incredibly assured in possession.
In spite of the greater possession though Sporting failed to add to their goal tally in the first half and it was in fact Zürich who had the better of the player in the closing minutes.
After the restart the game carried on much of the same pattern with Sporting firmly in control of the match. Oguchi Onyewu’s header from a corner was well saved on the line as Sporting looked to add a second goal.
That goal game after 58 minutes when Diego Capel curved in a superb cross for Valeri Bojinov to head home from. The Bulgarian getting his third goal for his new club.
This made the game even more comfortable for Sporting and Domingos Paciência could then make chances and rest some of his key players. Immediately after the goal taking Diego Capel off and bringing on Bruno Pereirinha in his place.
Sporting continued to be on top of the possession, a fact perhaps most confirmed by Zürich’s shot on target tally: zero.
André Santos came on in place of Stijn Schaars and immediately had a shot well saved. The ball rebounded out and André Martins was found on the right hand side but his low squared cross was just inches away from falling into the path of Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel was then replaced by Diego Rubio with sixteen minutes of the game left to play which Sporting played out in complete control.
That win means the forthcoming game against Lazio is a dead rubber and Sporting instead can focus in regaining ground in the league.
In particular Domingos will be incredibly pleased with his side’s performance, conceding no shots on target and perhaps unlucky not to have scored more.
Sporting XI: Marcelo Boeck; João Pereira, Ânderson Polga, Oguchi Onyewu, Emiliano Insúa; Daniel Carriço, Stijn Schaars (André Santos 68′, YC), André Martins; Diego Capel (Bruno Pereirinha 59′), Valeri Bojinov (Scored 58′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Scored 15′) (Diego Rubio 74′)
Subs Not Used: Tiago Ferreira, Evaldo Fabiano, João Carlos, Filipe Chaby