Sporting progressed through to the final of the Taça de Portugal to face off against Académica after beating Nacional 3-1 (5-3 agg.).
The game saw the return of Fabián Rinaudo to the Sporting team after he picked up his bad injury in the Europe League game against FC Vaslui back in November. Domingos Paciência also gave a debut to Brazilian central-defender Xandão on loan from São Paulo.
In truth it was Nacional who began the better side but after just 19 minutes Fabián Rinaudo marked his return with his first ever goal for the club. Rinaudo’s strike from outside the area hit Vladan Giljen’s left-hand post and went in.
Nacional to their credit continued with the best of the game but were unable to find an opening to goal.
Things though went from bad to word for Nacional as Mario Rondón received a red card for his second bookable offence after a foul on the returning Rinaudo.
After the break though Pedro Caixinha’s did finally manage to score. A mix up in defence between Rui Patrício and Ânderson Polga allowed Diego Barcellos to head-in the equaliser for the home side after 64 minutes which would have meant Nacional would go through on away goals.
Sporting took the lead again when Claudemir pulled down Emiliano Insúa in the penalty area to concede a penalty. Ricky van Wolfswinkel confidentially slotted home to put Sporting ahead.
With the extra man advantage Sporting were able to take control of the game and, in stoppage time, João Pereira’s superb run and finish finished the game off for Sporting.
Sporting will have Académica at the Estádio do Jamor on Sunday 20th May for the Taça de Portugal. It is a welcome reprise from the shabby start to 2012.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Xandão (YC), Ânderson Polga (YC), Emiliano Insúa; Fabián Rinaudo (Sebastián Ribas 71′), Elias, Matías Fernández; André Carrillo (YC), Diego Capel (Evaldo Fabiano 52′, YC), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Daniel Carriço 82′)
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Renato Neto, André Martins, Marat Izmailov