Sporting earned a narrow 1-0 win over Rio Ave at the Alvalade to keep just ahead of Marítimo in the league.
Ricardo Sá Pinto had changes to make from the side that won 1-0 against Legia Warszawa in the Europa League on Thursday.
Alberto Rodríguez was injured in the game and Xandão was called in his place to partner Ânderson Polga with Daniel Carriço retaining his role as the defensive midfielder. Rui Patrício was also absent so Marcelo Boeck took his place and Diego Capel returned in place of the suspended André Carrillo.
The first half was an even and engaging encounter and it was Sporting who had the first chance of the game. Diego Capel, playing on the right-wing, whipped in a ball for Emiliano Insúa but the Argentine failed to connect properly with his strike.
There was controversy in the game when Paulo Baptista only gave a yellow card to Rio Ave goalkeeper Huanderson after he handled in the area following a mix up with defender Gaspar. Ânderson Polga took the resulting freekick and went narrowly wide of scoring.
Marcelo Boeck was called into action when Christian Atsu shot from distance but the Brazilian goalkeeper palmed his effort wide.
Sporting got their goal after 34 minutes after some magic from Marat Izmailov. The Russian weaved around with the ball in midfield before hitting a superb long range effort that swerved in the air to deceive Huanderson and put Sporting ahead.
Just 5 minutes before the half-time break and Rio Ave went close when João Tomás nearly scored from close range following a corner but Sporting went into the break a goal ahead.
In comparison the second-half was an incredibly dull affair with Sporting have only one chance of note when substitute Bruno Pereirinha almost found Ricky van Wolfswinkel in the box but the Dutch striker was just inches away from scoring.
Christian Atsu and Anselmo both had chances towards the end of the game for the visitors but failed to hit the target.
Although the second-half was dire the first half was much improved and the results are now picking up. It’s 3 wins in a row now for Ricardo Sá Pinto and Sporting with Vitória Setúbal up next on Saturday.
SPORTING XI: Marcelo Boeck; João Pereira (YC), Xandão, Ânderson Polga, Emiliano Insúa; Daniel Carriço, Stijn Schaars (André Santos 80′), Elias (YC); Marat Izmailov (Evaldo Fabiano 86′), Diego Capel (Bruno Pereirinha 69′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (YC)
Subs Not Used: Tiago, André Martins, Matías Fernández, Sebastián Ribas