Sporting earned a hard-fought win against a resilient Rio Ave with goals coming from an Adrien Silva penalty and an Islam Slimani header.
Jorge Jesus picked Ricardo Esgaio ahead of João Pereira as well as giving a start to Alberto Aquilani over João Mário.
Sporting got the lead early on when Adrien Silva cooly placed a penalty after a Rio Ave handball. The midfielder will be happy to get the finish after his recent penalty miss.
Sporting’s second goal also came from some poor play from Rio Ave. This time they were unable to clear their lines which allowed Sporting to win the ball high up the pitch. A cross deflected off André Vilas Boas allowing Islam Slimani to head into an empty net.
The home side improved drastically after the break as Sporting seemed to lose some of their dynamic play. Indeed, the likes of André Carrillo, who has been so good so far this season, looked tired after the international break.
It wasn’t much of surprise when Rio Ave did pull one goal back, the Porto loanee Kayembe’s cross found Yazalde to head home after 69 minutes.
Fortunately despite Rio Ave pulling a goal back they looked unable to find another and Sporting grabbed an important win ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie.
SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo (YC), Jefferson; Adrien Silva (Scored, 10′), Alberto Aquilani; André Carrillo (YC) (João Pereira, 90′), Bryan Ruiz (João Mário, 60′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (YC) (Carlos Mané, 77′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 39′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tobias Figueiredo, Gelson Martins, Fredy Montero