SPORTING vs. Nacional Preview

Sporting return to Taça de Portugal action tomorrow in the first leg of the semi-final against Nacional.

With last weekend’s draw against Porto making the chances of winning the league increasingly unlikely it adds to the importance of this year’s taça which is more than winnable for Sporting. Should they progress into the final after beating Nacional then they will either Académica de Coimbra or Oliveirense who Sporting know they have a great chance of beating.

The two sides met just last month in the liga when Oguchi Onyewu’s header gave Sporting a close 1-0 win.

Domingos Paciência’s squad for the forth-coming game is:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck
Defenders: João Pereira, Santiago Arias, Alberto Rodríguez, Ânderson Polga, Oguchi Onyewu, Evaldo Fabiano, Emiliano Insúa
Midfielders: Stijn Schaars, Diego Capel, Matías Fernández, Jeffrén Suárez, Renato Neto, André Martins, Elias
Forwards: Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Valeri Bojinov, André Carrillo, Sebastián Ribas

The inclusions of the returning Alberto Rodríguez and new boy Sebastián Ribas are certainly worth mentioning. It will be interesting to note whether Renato Neto will retain his play in the middle of the park too.

Marat Izmailov picked up an injury in the draw against Porto but it is not thought to be serious and although he may miss this match is thought to be returning soon. Daniel Carriço is still recovering and Xandão also misses out.

One of the most telling omissions is that of André Santos who did not even feature on the bench of the last game. Rumours of him departing are increasing rapidly and Domingos’ recent comments will not help to stop that when he told the media “I have already told him what I think. I talk to my players face to face, with no exceptions.”

Sporting will want to get as a large a win as possible in the first leg to try and make the second leg more manageable with the fixtures being so thick and faster over the next few months.

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