Match report from PortuGOAL.net:
Sporting prevailed in an entertaining game played in difficult conditions against Arouca as both teams ended the game with 10 men. Bruno Amaro put the home side ahead after 15 minutes but a Marcos Rojo header and an Islam Slimani strike put Sporting back on top of the league, at least for now.
Arouca were without new signing Rui Sampiao due to the player still waiting on his certificate to play as Pedro Emmanuel’s side looked to build on their important win last time out against Belenenses. Meanwhile Leonardo Jardim was without the suspended Cédric Soares meaning Iván Piris switched to right-back with Jefferson returning.
Arouca started the brightest of the two teams on what was a terrible pitch. With the grass cutting up and plenty of standing water it was going to be a tough night for Sporting with their style of play.
Indeed, it was Arouca who scored the first goal. Some good work down their left side, which had been threatening throughout the opening stages, resulted in Bruno Amaro finding lots of space in the box. The midfielder beating Rui Patrício from close range with 15 minutes gone in the game.
Sporting were finding the game difficult early on but managed an equaliser 10 minutes later. A long range shot from William Carvalho went for a contentious corner. Marcos Rojo rose the highest to head the ball powerfully into the night to score his second in as many games.
The home side did well after that set back and finished the first half the stronger of the two teams – coping better with the ever worsening conditions.
It didn’t take long into the second half for Leonardo Jardim to make a chance as islam Slimani was brought on for Diego Capel to provide a more ariel threat.
The Algerian did as was asked and soon set up Fredy Montero for a good chance with a knock down header but the Colombian’s shot was well blocked by Nuno Coelho.
The visitors were much improved in the second half and William Carvalho almost scored a delicious chip to put Sporting ahead. Getting first to a cleared ball in the box William chipped the goalkeeper Cássio but hit the post. Marcos Rojo was straight on the rebound but again an Arouca defender was there to block the shot.
Arouca went down to men in the 62nd minute when Luís Tinoco picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Islam Slimani. Sporting’s numerical advantage lasted just 4 minutes when Macros Rojo picked up a second yellow card for a shove on Serginho making it 10 versus 10.
Islam Slimani put Sporting ahead just minutes after the sendings off with a great 72nd minute strike. Receiving a cross from the left wing Slimani chested down to find space a hit a vicious shot that Cássio’s hand could not stop finding the net.
Arouca had one last great chance of the game to get level in the game on the 85th minute when Pintassilgo’s cross found Roberto Rodrigo but his header went just wide of Rui Patrício’s goal.
It was a scrappy end to an entertaining game but it was a huge 3 points for Leonardo Jardim’s men that they really had to fight for. Pedro Emmanuel’s men played well in the first half but found it difficult to cope in the second half especially against substitute Islam Slimani was brought on.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Iván Piris, Maurício, Marcos Rojo (Scored, 25′, YC, RC), Jefferson; William Carvalho (Eric Dier, 70′), Adrien Silva, André Martins; Wilson Eduardo (YC), Diego Capel (Islam Slimani, 52′, Scored, 72′), Fredy Montero (Gérson Magrão, 86′, YC)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Vítor Silva, André Carrillo, Carlos Mané