Sporting prevailed with a 3-1 win over Paços de Ferreira thanks to goals from William Carvalho, Marcos Rojo and Adrien Silva.
Leonardo Jardim elected to choose what has lately been his first choice team, the Carlos Mané and Diego Capel supporting Islam Slimani.
It was evident from the start why Paços de Ferreira have been a resurgent team lately in the Primeira Liga. Going forward they looked threatening especially through Bébé.
Defensively, though, Paços are still lax – as evidenced by Sporting’s first goal in the 13th minute. William Carvalho drove forward from midfield, played a one-two with Slimani before cooly slotting past Matías Degra.
Paços almost equalised almost 3 minutes later when Bébé forced an excellent save out of Rui Patrício with a powerful shot.
The home side were caught again in the 33rd minute when an Adrien Silva corner fell to the feet of Marcos Rojo. The Argentinian was in plenty of space and smashed home to double Sporting’s lead.
Jardim made one change at half-time with André Carrillo coming on for Carlos Mané after Mané picked up a knock in the first-half.
The second half proved more difficult for both teams with the visibility of in the stadium becoming very poor.
Paços were the team who coped with the fog the better of the two and Bébé pulled one back for the home side in the 54th minute. Some skill got him past Jefferson and the winger shot low and hard past Rui Patrício. Patrício in retrospect would have hoped to have done better with the shot.
It looked like Paços were likely to get the second goal as Sporting were finding it hard to regain possession but André Martins did well to pick up the ball and find Islam Slimani in space. The Algerian laid the ball on for Adrien Silva to brilliant smash past Degra from distance.
Adrien’s goal did well to take the pressure off but another moment of madness from Filipe Anunciação meant Paços de Ferreira were own to 10 men again. Anunciação was sent off handball against Sporting at the Alvalade earlier in the season.
The impressive Bébé almost pulled one back for Paços just before the end with a superbly struck free kick but Rui Patrício did well to save.
Paços de Ferreira proved tricky opponents for the most part of the game but in the end it was fairly comfortable for Sporting.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares (YC), Maurício (YC), Marcos Rojo (Scored, 33′), Jefferson; William Carvalho (Scored, 13′), Adrien Silva (Scored, 66′), André Martins; Carlos Mané (André Carrillo, 45′, YC), Diego Capel (Héldon Ramos, 83′), Islam Slimani (Fredy Montero, 72′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Eric Dier, Gérson Magrão, Vítor Silva