A superb strike from Carlos Mané followed by goals from Vítor Silva and Marcos Rojo gave Sporting the win in the Taça da Liga against Marítimo in the Alvalade.
Leonardo Jardim made changes to his team for this Taça da Liga match. Marcelo Boeck started in goal, as he usually does in cup games, and elsewhere Eric Dier started in defence, Vítor Silva in midfield, Islam Slimani in attack, and most notably, a first start for Carlos Mané.
It was the youngster who made the biggest impression in the game early on. Some good link up with Jefferson down the left hand-side saw Mané cut inside on to his right foot and force a good save out of Wellington.
That though was just a sighter for his next shot. This time Adrien found Mané, who again cutting in from the left-side on to his right foot, the young winger curled a beautiful precision shot into the top corner with Wellington helpless.
Marítimo though threatened up front especially through the right hand side with Danilo Dias giving Jefferson a tough time.
Sporting, though, were almost the makers of their own undoing. A simple ball by Marcos Rojo was needlessly given away and Marítimo had an excellent chance. Héldon was found in the box and his first shot was well saved by Marcelo Boeck. The Brazilian goalkeeper did even better to prevent Héldon from scoring the rebound.
Seconds later and Sporting could have gone ahead. This time Carlos Mané operating down the right hand side pulled back for Islam Slimani to finish from close range but his shot was well blocked by the Marítimo defence.
A mistake by Eric Dier let in Marítimo after the young defender mistimed his header. Derley was away and Marcos Rojo had to step in and was lucky when his foul was only a yellow card when perhaps some referees may have shown red.
Sporting made a great start to the second-half as within 4 minutes Vítor Silva had made it 2-0. The move started play by Islam Slimani to hold the ball up, the Algerian then fed in Diego Capel down the right wing. Capel’s low cross fell to Vítor Silva at the far post who finished powerfully on the half-volley.
Marítimo did well after that and had several chances to peg Sporting back. Marcelo Boeck however had an outstanding game and Eric Dier made a couple of great late interventions.
Marcos Rojo polished off the scoreline in the 84th minute as he headed in powerfully from a Jefferson corner to make it 3-0, and add to the crucial Taça da Liga goal difference.
Despite some frailties in defence it was an excellent performance from Sporting with Marcelo Boeck, William Carvalho and Carlos Mané in particular impressing. The 3 goal cushion also puts pressure on Porto as they face Penafiel tomorrow.
SPORTING XI: Marcelo Boeck; Cédric Soares, Eric Dier, Marcos Rojo (YC) (Scored, 84′), Jefferson; William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva (YC) (Gérson Magrão, 73′), Vítor Silva (Scored, 49′); Carlos Mané (Scored, 18′) (Diogo Salomão, 83′), Diego Capel (André Carrillo, 67′), Islam Slimani
Substitutes Not Used: Rui Patrício, Maurício, André Martins, Fredy Montero