Sporting returned to winning ways thanks to a late Cédric Soares goal to defeat Jesualdo Ferreira’s 10-man Braga and regain 2nd place.
Leonardo Jardim made 3 changes from the team that drew at home to Rio Ave in the last round. Marcos Rojo returned from
injury and started ahead of Eric Dier in central defence. Diogo Salomão (his first Sporting game since Braga away in May 2011) took Diego Capel’s place after the Spanish winger’s injury and André Carrillo, perhaps surprisingly, started ahead of the in-form Wilson Eduardo.
Sporting got off to a fantastic start when Fredy Montero headed in from Jefferson’s corner after just 5 minutes. The Colombian marking his 7th goal in just 6 games so far for the club.
From there though it was Braga who took firm control of the game and they managed to get their equaliser as Alan’s long range effort caught Rui Patrício unsighted.
The game turned on it’s head when Aderlan Santos was sent off for a foul on Fredy Montero. The Brazilian defender brought down the Colombian as Montero looked set to be one-on-one with Eduardo and referee Paulo Baptista had no hesitation. Things then went from bad to worse from Braga when Paulo Vinícius pulled up injured and had to be replaced leaving Braga without their two main centre-backs.
From that point on Sporting had complete control of the game and Fredy Montero was unlucky not to double his tally with a diving header before the break but the sides still went in level.
Jardim made one change at half-time bringing on Wilson Eduardo for Diogo Salomão. It had not been a bad first game back from Salomão but the change made sense as Sporting went all out to attack.
Sporting though were up against a solid Braga side and despite the efforts of Montero and Wilson Eduardo found it difficult to create too much although André Carrillo managed to waste a few opportunities.
The away side had to wait until the 86th minute before they found the breakthrough. A long range effort from Cédric Soares somehow managed to find its way through and past Eduardo to give Sporting a hugely valuable 3 points.
Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares (Scored, 86′), Maurício, Marcos Rojo, Jefferson (YC); William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva (YC) (Islam Slimani, 77′), André Martins (Vítor Silva, 64′); Diogo Salomão (Wilson Eduardo, 45′), André Carrillo, Fredy Montero (Scored, 5′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Eric Dier, Fabián Rinaudo, Gérson Magrão