SPORTING 2-1 Porto

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:

Sporting were the victors in the first clássico of the season after an entertainingly scrappy affair at the Alvalade.

Felipe gave the Dragões the lead but goals from the departing Islam Slimani and then Gelson Martins gave the win to Sporting, who now lead the Primeira Liga.

There has been plenty of buzz off the pitch in Portuguese football this weekend with the transfer market making the headlines. The more important action though was on the pitch in the first clássico of the season.

Sporting were, of course, without João Mário after the midfielder’s big money move to Inter. Gelson Martins started in his place and Joel Campbell, on loan from Arsenal, started on the bench.

Despite Nuno Espírito Santo’s side having put Roma to the sword in style in order to qualify for the Champions League midweek, there was only one change; Miguel Layún replaced the injured Maxi Pereira.

Porto take an early lead

Porto may have excused for some tiredness after the game against Roma in the fiery Alvalade atmosphere, but it was they who started the game off with a goal after just 8 minutes.

Referee Tiago Martins gave a soft freekick to Porto outside the area. Miguel Layún’s delivery from it was perfect with Sporting defenders unable to cope and Felipe was allowed to put the ball past Rui Patrício from close range. The Brazilian defender made it 2 goals in 2 games.

Slimani scores against Porto again

Sporting found it hard to get going but they hit back in the 14th minute. It was another freekick situation, this time Bruno César’s shot hit the post. Gelson Martins was the first to react to the situation, and he slid the ball under Iker Casillas. The Spaniard got something on it and it looked like the ball was going to bounce on the goal line and out back into play. However, Islam Slimani, who has a knack of scoring for Porto, made sure of the goal when he smashed it in to score what may be his last goal for Sporting.

Gelson gives Sporting the lead

Sporting grew after that goal and got the second in the 27th minute. Bryan Ruiz picked up the ball in the Porto area. Casillas would later claim it was handball but replays showed that although the ball did touch Ruiz’s hand there was little the Costa Rican could have done about it. Ruiz found Gelson Martin whose powerful shot beat Casillas to put Sporting ahead. Casillas was booked for his protest and Gelson for celebrating without his shirt.

Porto almost hit back immediately. André André picked up the ball from outside the Sporting area and unleashed a fantastic curling shot that had Patrício beaten but went just inches wide.

Then it was Sporting’s turn. This time Casillas was caught out going for a ball and Adrien Silva had a chance but the Spaniard recovered in time to stop Adrien’s shot.

It was a fantastically entertaining 45 minutes of football with Sporting narrowly the better of the two sides. In the second half, although the intensity increased the quality dipped. Nuno Espírito Santo replaced the ineffectual Jesús Corona with the returning Óliver Torres at the break, this being the Spaniard’s first game since returning to Porto from Atlético Madrid.

Sporting almost made it three when Rúben Semedo, who was a rock in defence once again, got his head to Marvin Zeegelaar’s cross. The defender couldn’t keep the ball down to head what would have been an open goal. Casillas was needed five minutes later this time to keep William Carvalho’s header from a corner out.

The game then got scrappy. Sporting looked happy to hold onto the lead and to try and counter where as Porto tried to attack but looked unable to get any fluidity in their movements. João Pereira and Rúben Semedo were having stand out performances in the Sporting back line.

Porto needed to try and change things so Laurent Depoitre came on for André André and later Adrián López for Otávio but the Dragões looked tired from their Champions League victory and as the game wore on became less of a threat despite getting into good positions.

Jorge Jesus, sent to the stands during the second half, which is now almost standard practice for any big match, gave Joel Campbell his debut, replacing compatriot Bryan Ruiz. The Arsenal forward looked lively in his cameo.

In the end, the result was a just one with Sporting overall the better of the two teams and it is they that go into the international break leaders of the Primeira Liga.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (YC), Sebastián Coates, Rúben Semedo, Marvin Zeegelaar; William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva (YC); Gelson Martins (YC) (Bruno Paulista, 68’, YC), Bruno César (YC) (Carlos Mané, 90’); Bryan Ruiz (Joel Campbell, 68’), Islam Slimani
Substitutes Not Used: Beto, Ezequiel Schelotto, Paulo Oliveira, Alan Ruiz

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