SPORTING vs. Nacional Preview

Sporting host Nacional on Saturday and will attempt to recover ground on the two league leaders in the first liga game since the derby defeat.

Opponents Nacional are currently sitting 11th in the league table with 11 points accumulated so far. The Funchal side have yet to win in 90 minutes since a 2-1 win over Beira-Mar in the end of October.

The last time the two sides met at the Alvalade was back in September 2010 when Carlos Saleiro’s goal was cancelled out by Danielson’s equaliser. The last time Sporting won this fixture was the season before in a 3-2 win with Miguel Veloso’s opener before a Liédson brace.

This will be the first game this season in which Domingos Paciência will not be able to choose Stijn Schaars with the Dutch midfielder suspended due to picking up his 5th yellow card in the game against Benfica. It will be the first game Stijn Schaars has missed since the 12th March when he missed AZ’s game against Ajax – also due to picking up 5 yellow cards.

Schaars’ exclusion means Paciência will have to choose between André Santos and the recently impressive André Martins in his place.

There are still plenty of injuries in the Sporting team with Marat Izmailov, Fabián Rinaudo, Jeffrén, and Matías Fernández all out meaning the team will perhaps look very similar to the team that beat Belenenses 2-0 in the Taça de Portugal last Monday.

A win is important to get back on track in the league leaving the game against Lazio free for Domingos to field fringe and youth-team players with no consequence for defeat.

Possible SPORTING XI:

Rui Patrício

João Pereira – Oguchi Onyewu – Ânderson Polga – Emiliano Insúa

Daniel Carriço

André Martins – Elias

André Carrillo – Ricky van Wolfswinkel – Diego Capel

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