Sporting won a hard fought battle against Marítimo at the Estádio dos Barreiros. Adrien Silva opened the scoring with a penalty before Marítimo equalised through Theo Weeks. Goals from William Carvalho and Jefferson completed the win for Sporting.
Madeira-native Leonardo Jardim was without the injured André Martins. Jardim elected to start Carlos Mané in a deeper role instead and started Héldon Ramos in attack to face his former club. Maurício also reclaimed his position in defence ahead of Eric Dier, despite Dier’s excellent performance against Porto last week.
Sporting took the lead just 3 minutes in when Carlos Mané was brought down in the box. Adrien Silva stepped up and duly sent Romain Salin the wrong way to score his 7th goal of the season.
Marítimo equalised only 3 minutes later through a fine goal by Theo Weeks after good link up play with Nuno Rocha.
The visitors regained the lead 7 minutes before the break. A Sporting corner found the ball drop to William Carvalho, the midfielder’s shot sneaked it’s way through.
After the break it was Marítimo who had the most of the ball but couldn’t break through the Sporting defence.
Indeed, it was Islam Slimani who had the best chance of the game in the second half when he was put through by Héldon. The in-form Algerian’s shot went under the goalkeeper but Salin’s touched managed to send the ball wide.
Sporting managed to assure the points when Jefferson broke through down the left hand side and cooly slotted home to get his second goal at the club.
There was controversy minutes late when Islam Slimani had the ball in the net but the goal was ruled for offside. Replays showed that goal should have stood the increase the tally of disallowed goals for Sporting this season.
This was an important win for Sporting in one to keep ahead of Porto and keep the pressure on Benfica. In the quest to ensure automatic qualification to the Champions League this was perhaps one of the more difficult games left to play.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício (YC); Cédric Soares, Maurício (YC), Marcos Rojo, Jefferson (Scored, 84′) (YC); William Carvalho (Scored, 38′), Adrien Silva (Scored, 3′); Héldon Ramos (Fredy Montero, 79′, YC), Carlos Mané, Diego Capel (André Carrillo, 74′); Islam Slimani (YC) (Vítor Silva, 88′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Eric Dier, Gérson Magrão, Wilson Eduardo