A young Sporting side failed to keep Lazio at bay as the home side ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Libor Kozák and Giuseppe Sculli.
With top spot in the group already assured with the win over FC Zürich two weeks ago, Sporting had the opportunity to field a second string side. Indeed they did as Domingos Paciência picked a young team with fringe players included as well. Out of the starting eleven and substitutes, Paciência had chosen 5 players currently in the U-19 team as well as giving Diego Rubio his first start.
Lazio knew before the game that this was a match they had to win as well as relying on FC Zürich to win at home to FC Vaslui.
The home side began the stronger side against a weakened Sporting team with Giuseppe Sculli being a constant menace on the right hand side and making it a very tough game for Evaldo. Marcelo Boeck did well on occasions when he was tested but just three minutes before the half-time when Senad Lulić’s cross found the head of Libor Kozák to put the Italian side ahead.
Sporting began the second half as the better side holding more of the possession but Giuseppe Sculli’s goal just ten minutes after the restart ended Sporting’s hopes for a comeback.
The real highlight of the second half for Sporting was the full senior debut for João Mário, captain of the U-19 team. The midfielder looked good when he came on and the former Porto youngster looks like he could be a real prospect for the future.
In the end it was essentially a nothing game for Sporting with the result having no affect. It was though a good opportunity for the youngsters to get European experience as well as giving match fitness to to fringe players. The main focus now, as it always has been, is Sunday’s game away to Académica.
SPORTING XI: Marcelo Boeck; Bruno Pereirinha, Oguchi Onyewu (João Mário 76′), Tiago Ilori, Evaldo Fabiano; André Santos, Stijn Schaars (Daniel Carriço 70′), André Martins; André Carrillo, Diego Rubio (Emiliano Insúa 65′), Valeri Bojinov
Subs Not Used: Tiago Ferreira, Ricardo Esgaio, João Carlos, Betinho