Sporting return after the Winter break into Taça da Liga action in what will be a packed two months in which Sporting will be playing fourteen matches.
The squad that will travel to face Rio Ave has some notable inclusions: Matías Fernández and Marat Izmailov are included after their respective injuries. Izmailov in particular has done well to recover this quickly after his surgery. New squad members Renato Neto (#31) and Xandão (#13) will not be a part of the squad though. Daniel Carriço misses out after he was injured in the Marítimo match and faces a couple of weeks out – leaving Sporting somewhat light defensively.
Sporting’s full squad traveling to face Rio Ave is:
Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck
Defenders: Ânderson Polga, Oguchi Onyewu, João Pereira, Emiliano Insúa
Midfielders: Elias, Marat Izmailov, Matías Fernández, Stijn Schaars, Bruno Pereirinha, André Santos, André Martins, André Carrillo, Diego Capel
Forwards: Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Valeri Bojinov
The two clubs met earlier this season when Sporting ran out 2-3 winners in what was an entertaining match. Stijn Schaars and Ricky van Wolfswinkel had put Sporting ahead by two goals after just three minutes but Rio Ave pulled it back. It took Oguchi Onyewu’s header to secure the win for Sporting that night. The two have also met in the Taça da Liga before back in 2009 when Simon Vukčević’s goal was enough for Sporting in a 1-0 win that night.
With the fixtures in the League and the Taça de Portugal likely to be considered by Domingos Paciência as more important it wouldn’t be surprising to see him pick a slightly more under strength side. The game big against Porto afterwards could be some distraction so this could be the perfect time for giving fringe players a run out and giving minutes back to those returning from injuries.
Possible SPORTING XI:
João Pereira – Ânderson Polga – Oguchi Onyewu – Emiliano Insúa
André Santos – Stijn Schaars – Elias
André Carrillo – Valeri Bojinov – Diego Capel