Result: Vitória de Guimarães 0-1 SPORTING

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:

Islam Slimani made the difference for Sporting as he tapped home the winner in the 90th minute in Guimarães in what was an otherwise low quality encounter.The Lions now return to second place in the Primeira Liga ahead of Benfica.

Rui Vitória’s Guimarães side have lost their last 4 games in a row in all competitions and sat 7th in the Primeira Liga going into the game at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques. André Santos started against the club he was released from over the summer.

Sporting were without Macros Rojo and Wilson Eduardo after they were sent off in the defeat to Benfica in the Taça de Portugal before the international break. Eric Dier took the place of Rojo and André Carrillo started in the place of Wilson Eduardo.

It was an energetic and rather chaotic first half in which neither side managed to hold the ball and chances were at a premium.

Vitória de Guimarães were the team with the best of the chances though in the first half. The first, coming after just 7 minutes gone in the match saw Moussa Maåzou through on goal after a long ball over the top. The Nigerian forward’s powerful shot hit Patrício’s near post.

Maåzou was causing problems for Sporting after a half hour played when he once again saw him self through against Rui Patrício. This time his shot was on target but well saved by the Portugal goalkeeper.

Although Sporting went into half-time with 54% of possession. it was Guimarães’ 8 chances to 1 that was the most prevalent statistic of how the game had gone thus far.

The second half followed in a similar pattern to the first although Sporting were able to find some greater quality whilst going forward but still looked lethargic.

André Carrillo’s 56th minute shot was perhaps Sporting’s first real chance of the game but Guimarães goalkeeper Douglas did well to save.

There was some controversy 5 minutes later when Guimarães countered after a Sporting corner. André André was bearing down on goal only to be fouled by the tracking back Cédric Soares. The were shouts from the home fans for a red card for the Sporting right-back but referee Paulo Baptista only produced a yellow. Perhaps Diego Capel, who was not far away from the incident, helped determine that Cédric was not stopping a clear goal-scoring chance.

Leonardo Jardim brought on Carlos Mané after 72 minutes to try and chance things for Sporting who were still failing to create much whilst going forward, the young forward replacing André Carrillo. Rui Vitória’s first chance saw Nii Plange replace Jean Barrientos. Plange had made debut for Sporting under Jesualdo Ferreira back in May after a spell with Sporting B.

There will be some concern for Rui Vitória when Guimarães had to bring of Tomané with an injury with Ricardo Gomes taking his place. Meanwhile Jardim was throwing in his last rolls of the dice with the inculsion of DIogo Salomão and Islam Slimani. Although none of the substitutions improved the quality of the game on display.

For a moment, Sporting thought they had taken the lead in the 87th minute. Douglas parried a good Cédric Soares shot into the path of substitute Islam Slimani but the assistant referee correctly raised his flag with the Algerian forward a yard offside.

It looked like the game would finish goalless, perhaps fitting to an occasion that lacked genuine quality but Islam Slimani stepped up once again for Sporting.

The goal came from another corner, which neither side had managed to make use of thus far in the game despite their frequency, Eric Dier rose highest and his header on caused chaos in the box. The in-form Algerian striker pounced first from inches away from the goal to put Sporting ahead with 90 minutes gone.There was no time for the home side to come back and so Sporting take a somewhat fortunate victory in light of the performance to put them back in second place in the league.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares (YC), Eric Dier, Maurício (YC), Jefferson; William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva, André Martins (Islam Slimani, 83′ – Scored, 90′); Diego Capel (Diogo Salomão, 78′), André Carrillo (Carlos Mané, 72′), Fredy Montero
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Iván Piris, Fabián Rinaudo, Vítor Silva

Transfer Round Up 2013: Departures

So, that’s the transfer window done and dusted and all around there’s quite a few positives for the club, Bruno de Carvalho and Sporting fans.

In a nice two-part post let’s look at the departures from the club before we get to the good stuff:

Gael Etock to Cercle Brugge (loan): There was initially some confusion as to whether or not this move was a loan or a permanent deal. Judging by the fact that the Belgian club’s website states his contract is until 2014 we’ll assume that this is a loan deal. Cercle Brugge is essentially our feeder club, after all. Etock was called up to a few of Jesualdo Ferreira’s first team squads last season but could only make the bench some more competitive team football may well be what he needs.

Renato Neto to Gent (loan): I had though perhaps that Renato Neto may get some B team action this year but he has been sent to Gent on loan again for another season. The Brazilian midfielder still has a contract with Sporting until 2015 so still has a chance to make an impact at the club when he returns.

Gelson Fernandes to Freiburg (€500,000): He must definitely won’t be missed. Failed to produce much in his stint with the club and was loaned out to FC Sion as soon as possible.

Farley Rosa to FK Sevastopol (?): Initially Farley Rosa looked rather good for the U19 team. Some may remember his fantastic goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the NextGen tournament. He couldn’t force his way into the B team last year and was moved on to Ukrainian club Sevastopol. No idea about any fees involved (I assume there was at least something) as this was not a widely reported on transfer.

Luís Cortez to Belenenses (?): A similar case here to the Farley Rosa transfer. Another youngster who showed some promise but perhaps just wasn’t good enough to make the grade at the Alvalade. At Belenenses he may have hoped to get some first team football was immediately loaned out to SC União Torreense.

Miguel Lázaro to Vitória FC (?): 18-year old goalkeeper who made the transfer to the other side of the river to join Setúbal.

Miguel Lopes to Lyon (loan): The French club have an option to purchase the right-back for €10,000,000 should they want to. The main reason for this loan is Miguel Lopes’ high wages (thanks again, Godinho). He had a fairly solid end to the season although nothing spectacular.

Stijn Schaars and Santiago Arias to PSV Eindhoven (€1,600,000): Stijn Schaars’ sale is another transfer that aimed to reduce the wage budget although last year he was not nearly as good as he was in his debut season. The price is perhaps a little low when you consider how promising Santiago Arias looked at times whilst still being very young. Hopefully the club has inserted a % of future sale clause in his contract.

Sunil Chhetri to JSW Bangalore (?): Sunil Chhetri barely got a look-in at Sporting B last year and the entire transfer seemed like a ploy by Godinho Lopes to try and get some interest from Indian investors or tap into the market there. Neither or those worked and we also got a player who was not very good. No word on the transfer fee (if any).

Valentín Viola to Racing Club (loan): Viola returns to the club he calls home to Racing Club (he has a tattoo of the club’s crest on his arm). The Argentinian forward never impressed to much at the Alvalade scoring just 2 goals in 28 games. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t not make his return to his old club permanent after the loan deal is done.

Jorge Chula to Marítimo (free): Signed as an addition to the B team, Jorge Chula never managed to impress too much. A solid player that should do just fine at Marítimo instead.

Leandro Grimi to Godoy Cruz (?): Leandro Grimi looked very promising once upon a time after first arriving at AC Milan. He never managed to build on that and he has moved permanently to the club where he was on loan last year. No word on any fee but I imagine not much if anything.

Nii Plange to Vitória Guimarães (free): Nii Plange was signed essentially to fill out the ranks of the B team last year. The Burkinabé / Ghanian isn’t a bad player and will probably do ok at Guimarães and indeed Sporting will receive 50% of any future transfer fee.

André Santos to Vitória Guimarães (free): We all had high hopes for André Santos but it seems his development stalled and now was perhaps the perfect time for him to leave the club. André Santos’ contract was terminated with the club so he was free to move on.

Atila Turan to Stade de Reims (free): Turan looked promising when he first signed for Sporting from Grenoble Foot 38 but couldn’t manage to force his way into the team and spent most of his time out on loan. Sporting will receive 40% of any future transfer.

Tiago Ilori to Liverpool (€7,500,000): A hugely talented prospect but Ilori’s demand for higher wages meant he was likely to leave the club. Liverpool had long been interested and finally managed to get their man for a fair fee. Included in the contract is a clause that will mean Liverpool cannot sell the player to either FC Porto or Benfica

Danijel Pranjic to Panathinaikos (free): I was hopeful when Sporting signed Danijel Pranjic that would be a great addition to the squad… how wrong I was. Pranjic failed to make any sort of an impact at the club and he was free to leave for Greece.

Diego Rubio to Pandurii (loan): The club that is now best known for knocking out Jesualdo Ferreira’s Braga out of the Europe League have taken Diego Rubio on loan with an option to buy for €10,000,000. Rubio arrived in Portugal from Chile with huge promise but needs some more competitive football to try and fulfil it.

Zezinho to Veria FC (loan): Zezinho looked like he was just about to break into the Sporting team at the end of last season and had a few rather good showing in midfield (especially against FC Porto). The club have decided to give him a loan to Greece where he should be facing a higher level of competition more regularly then he would with the B team. May well help improve his development.

Bruma to Galatasaray (€10,000,000): Finally. The saga ended. Bruma played just 13 games for Sporting but from what you would have read in the papers you’d be forgiven for thinking he had been at the club for a decade. Bruma took some bad advice and failed to worm his way out of his contract to move away from the club. After the entire debacle with the courts there was no way back for Bruma at Sporting. Indeed, Bruno de Carvalho will happy to have received such a substantial offer for a player who would have been able to sign for any other club for free in January. On top of the initial transfer fee there are also €3,000,000 worth of future add-ons as well as a similar clause in the contract to that of Tiago Ilori that ensure Galatasaray cannot sell the player to Porto or Benfica.

Khalid Boulahrouz released: YAY!

EDIT: Victor Golas to Corona Brasov (loan): A very late move sees Sporting B goalkeeper to Romanian side Corona Brasov on loan. The move will see Luís Ribeiro and Mickaël Meira compete for the B team spot.

Total profit from player sales (estimated): €20,100,000

Perhaps some of the most important pieces of business over the summer now is those who didn’t go.

Rui Patrício: How on earth we kept Rui Patrício, I don’t know. It helped that Bruno de Carvalho had made sure any bids would have to be substantial and, considering Patrício’s talent, fair. There were rumours of Monaco, Arsenal and a whole host of other big spending clubs but nothing came of it and São Patrício remains saving our asses for another year.

Diego Capel: Although very talented Diego Capel seemed likely to leave with his high wages and Sporting hoping to make some sort of money out of the Spanish winger but the transfer window shut before any deal was made. There seemed to be various clubs interested from Liverpool to Olympique de Marseile but, for now, Capel stays.

Jeffrén Suárez: The disappointing Jeffrén stays at the Alvalade for another season. A mix of injury, high wages and some poor performances made it likely that the winger would leave but despite interest from a host of La Liga club no deal was made. A stint in the B team maybe likely as he becomes back up to André Carrillo, Wilson Eduardo, Diego Capel and even Diogo Salomão.

Zakaria Labyad: Still only 20 but Zakaria Labyad did not seem to be anyway near the level we may have expected from him last season. Frequently wasteful or anonymous Labyad couldn’t find a first team place although his technical talent is without question. Labyad’s high wages meant to club were keen to get rid of him and sent him to the B team. The player had flirted with the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Ajax, and a few other Dutch clubs but nothing came of it.

Evaldo: How is he still here? The club did try to cancel Evaldo’s contract but the player did not want to and so will stay for at least another season and pick up some more money. Evaldo will now become back up to Jefferson, Welder and perhaps Mica.

In tomorrow’s post we look at all of our new signings as well as all the many players who were handed new long-term deals at the club.

Sporting News Round-Up

So, since it’s been a while since the last Leões/Lions post (yes, it’s been a really long while) here is a round-up of all the transfers and other pre-season news so far. As you know, there is always something happening at Sporting so there is a lot to write about.

Transfers in:

Zakaria Labyad was a deal done way back during the season but he has now officially become a Sporting player. Labyad will be in London over the summer representing Morocco at the Olympics. PSV Eindhoven, Labyad’s former club, are now seeking financial compensation for the deal.

Sporting’s next signing was Gelson Fernandes on the 4th July. Fernandes came from French side Saint-Étienne after having spent the second half of 2012 on loan to Udinese. Gelson’s deal is a 4-year contract with a buyout clause of €25m.

9 days later and Sporting completed another signing by signing former Bayern München player Danijel Pranjić. The Croatian has had his injuries in recent times but will reinforce Sporting in midfield was well as occasionally on the left-hand side in defence or attack.

The signings didn’t stop there as Khalid Boulahrouz joined the club for free just 4 days after that on the 18th July. The Netherlands and ex-Chelsea defender has been at VfB Stuttgart until his contract expired. Boulahrouz can play at both right-back and centre-back and has been handed a two-year contract.

Most recently Sporting completed the signing of Marcos Rojo the Argentinian left-back / centre-back from Spartak Moscow. The former Estudiantes player had been rumoured to join Benfica months ago but in the end chose Sporting instead.

Transfers out:

As already ported on the blog João Pereira has moved onto Valencia. Ânderson Polga left the club too and is still yet to find a new team. Long-time servant Tiago also retired.

Deportivo de La Coruña signed André Santos on loan as well as being able to keep Diogo Salomão for another season. More recently both Alberto Rodríguez and Evaldo Fabiano have also joined the newly promoted Spanish team.

Jaime Valdés officially became a Parma player after he was on loan there last season.

Edgar Ié and Agostinho Cá were all set to join Internazionale last month. Indeed, the deal had been reported as completed by various media outlets. Since then it emerged that the deal had in fact not gone through and now the pair have joined Barcelona instead and will play for the B team next season.

Other Sporting players have been released and found new clubs such as Diogo Rosado (Genoa), Mexer (Nacional), André Marques (FC Sion), Mateus Fonseca (FC Chiasso), and Rodolfo Simões (Marítimo).

As well as the following players leaving the club on loan: William Owusu (Westerlo), William Carvalho (Cercle Brugge), and Miguel Serôdio (Varzim).

Pre-Season Games:

Sporting opened Pre-Season with an 11-0 win over minnows Atlético Clube do Cacém. The Sintra club were unsurprisingly soundly beaten thanks to goals from Iuri Medeiros, Filipe Chaby, Emiliano Insúa, Adrien Silva, André Martins, Ricky van Wolfswinkel (x2), Diego Rubio (x2), and Wilson Eduardo (x2).

Last Thursday Sporting ended up losing 1-0 to Charlton Athletic in a game played at the Municipal de Lepe, the home of lower league side San Roque de Lepe. A last minute goal from Johnnie Jackson game the London club the win.

Sporting’s team for the game was:

Marcelo Boeck; Bruno Pereirinha (Cédric Soares 46′), Daniel Carriço (YC) (Nuno Reis 59′), Xandão (Oguchi Onyewu 59′), Emiliano Insúa (Danijel Pranjić 59′); Fabián Rinaudo (Gelson Fernandes 46′), Adrien Silva (Stijn Schaars 59′), Elias (André Martins 46′); Jeffrén Suárez (Wilson Eduardo 46′), Diego Capel (André Carrillo 56′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Diego Rubio 59′)

Sporting next face Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night with kick off at 20:30.

André Santos Moves on Loan to Deportivo de La Coruña

Deportivo de La Coruña have officially announced that André Santos will move to the newly promoted Spanish side on loan next season.

André Santos found few opportunities to play football for Sporting last season. Most of his 25 appearances in all competitions came from the bench with the arrivals of Stijn Schaars, Elias and Fabián Rinaudo moving him down the pecking order. With the return of Adrien this season it looks like André Santos would have featured even less so a loan move is a good option for him.

There is also the option for Deportivo to purchase the player at the end of the loan spell should they choose to do so.

Deportivo had Diogo Salomão on loan last season and it seems to have helped the winger’s development as well as become an important part of the Deportivo squad last year.

SPORTING vs. União de Leiria Preview

Sporting look to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat in Romania as they host União de Leiria at the Alvalade.

Manuel Cajuda’s Leiria side currently sit in 11th place having just beaten Vitória Setúbal at home having bounced backs from three defeats in the row. Leiria have won only 1 of their last 10 away matches in the league.

The last time to two teams faced off in Lisbon the game finished in a goalless draw back in March. Sporting have not won at home to Leiria since Liédson and Nani scored in a 2-0 win in a time when Domingos Paciência was the U.D. Leiria manager back in October of 2006.

Os Lis feature three players who have had past experience at Sporting. Rúben Brígido, André Almeida and Marco Soares all spent spells with Sporting in their youth careers.

Sporting’s ten-game winning run has ended with the defeat to Vaslui but in the league the Verde e Brancos have won six games in a row.

Domingos Paciência has some selection issues to contend with. The injury to Fabián Rinaudo means that André Santos, who replaced him in Thursday’s match, is likely to start in his place. Jeffrén Suárez, Ânderson Polga and Emiliano Insúa all missed the trip to Romania but could return to Leiria.

This is the last Sporting game before the international break and it will be important for Sporting to bounce back and regain momentum before the break with a Taça de Portugal game against Braga and the massive game against Benfica after the break.

Possible SPORTING XI:

Rui Patrício

João Pereira – Daniel Carriço – Oguchi Onyewu – Emiliano Insúa

André Santos – Stijn Schaars

André Carrillo – Elias – Diego Capel

Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Sporting Players Called for the Selecção

The FPF awkwardly decided to announce former Sporting man Paulo Bento’s upcoming Portugal squad for the Euro 2012 qualifying game against Cyprus at the same time as the Europa League draw. Here’s the full list, with Sporting players in bold:

Goalkeepers: Eduardo, Quim, Rui Patrício

Defenders: Bruno Alves, Fábio Coentrão, Rolando, João Pereira, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Sílvio, Eliseu

Midfielders: André Santos, João Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Rúben Micael, Miguel Veloso, Paulo Machado

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Danny, Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nani, Silvestre Varela

Rui Jorge, former team mate of Bento at Sporting, also announced his U21 squad for their games against Moldova and France. Included in that squad is Cédric Soares (currently out on loan at Académica), Diogo Rosado (on loan at Feirense), Wilson Eduardo (on loan at Olhanense), Pedro Mendes (currently on loan at Real Madrid Castilla, although likely to stay) and André Martins.

Report: SPORTING 2-1 Nordsjælland

Sporting didn’t make it easy for themselves but in the end qualified for the Europa League group stages with a 2-1 win at home to Nordsjælland. André Santos and Evaldo Fabiano got the goals for the Leões before a Andreas Laudrup consolation for Nordsjælland.

There was a tense atmosphere in the José Alvalade after a few unimpressive recent displays meant it was possible that Sporting could be knocked out by Nordsjælland. Sporting’s most recent problems have come in the final third with bad decision making and even worse finishing meaning that 4 points have been dropped in the league already.

Sporting did almost scored in the first 5 minutes, with the team’s high pressure forcing goalkeeper, Jesper Hansen into a mistake, the ball came out to Izmailov who found Postiga, Postiga turned to give the ball to Stijn Schaars for a simple tap in but a last second tackle stopped the Dutchman from scoring.

The best chance of the first half though fell to Daniel Carriço, who was starting his first competitive game this season. From a Schaars corner the ball fell to Postiga who, with a kick over his head, found Daniel Carriço in front of an empty net but the central defender failed to get the right connection and the ball flew high over the net. It’s the kind of chance that summed up much of Sporting’s finishing through out the majority of the night.

Most of the Sporting attacking threat came down the wings, with Diego Capel the star of the show once more. Postiga and Yannick both should have scored from closer range headers from crosses but the impressive Hansen was able to save them.

Nordsjælland for the most part were penned in their own half, and tried to counter but the Sporting defence coped well with André Santos as the deepest midfielder as Fabián Rinaudo sat on the bench.

At half-time there was anxiety from the fans who had once again see their side with the possession but none of the finishing touche when it mattered.

Sporting were right on the attack again at the start of the second half. This time Marat Izmailov had a chance that went miles over the bar after some great work to find his own space in the box.

The pressure was beginning to build as Sporting had more and more chances with Nordsjælland unable to cope with Diego Capel in particular.

Yannick Djaló soon aimed another header towards goal but once again Hansen was able to save it, it would be Djaló’s last action of the match as he made way for Valeri Bojinov in the 62nd minute. The Bulgarian making his competitive debut for Sporting.

It wasn’t long before he too was guilty of missing a chance, another cross came in and found his head but his header went inches to the wrong side of the post.

Valeri Bojinov was soon to be in the thick of things again, in the 76th minute he was booked for diving after appearing to have been taken out by the goalkeeper, but the replays showed the Bojinov did indeed take a tumble.

A minute later though, Bojinov provided the assist for André Santos. Another Capel cross had forced Nordsjælland to head the ball away but the ball fell only to Bojinov who laid the pass off with André Santos needing only to pass the ball into the net.

There were huge celebrations for the goal, mostly from relief of having finally got the goal after, by that stage, over a staggering 27 shots.

Only 5 minutes later and Sporting had scored again. This time a corner from Capel was not dealt with by the Danish side and the ball bounced into Evaldo before going in. The Brazilian left-back didn’t know too much about it but the goal ensured in the 82nd minute that Sporting were essentially home and dry and into the group stages.

André Carrillo also made his competitive debut coming on for Marat Izmailov in the 84th minute to help provide pace in the counter as Nordsjælland now had to attack.

Nordsjælland did manage a consolation goal in the 93rd minute, a mix up in defending a corner led to Andreas Laudrup, son of the great Michael Laudrup, to grab a goal. Had the goal come minutes earlier than there would have perhaps been some moments of panic but Nordsjælland only had a minute or so left after Laudrup’s goal.

At the full time whistle there was a great relief from fans, and although it was not the greatest performance it was a big improvement on the first leg and the last game against Beira-Mar. The Europa League draw takes places tomorrow.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Daniel Carriço, Ânderson Polga, Evaldo Fabiano (Scored 82′); André Santos (Scored 77′), Stijn Schaars (Fabián Rinaudo 70′, YC); Yannick Djaló (Valeri Bojinov 62′, YC), Marat Izmailov (André Carrillo 84′), Diego Capel; Hélder Postiga.
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Oguchi Onyewu, Diego Rubio, Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Sporting Players Called Up for the Selecção

Portugal’s squad for the upcoming UEFA European Championship Qualifying match against table topping Norway on the 4th June has been announced, and there are some notable Sporting inclusions:

Eduardo, Ventura, Rui Patrício, Bruno Alves, Coentrão, João Pereira, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Rolando, Sílvio, Duda, André Santos, Carlos Martins, Moutinho, Paulo Machado, Raul Meireles, Ruben Micael, Ronaldo, Danny, Hélder Postiga, Hugo Almeida, Nani, Varela.

Despite being in red hot form for Corinthians, Liédson has been surprisingly snubbed again by his former manager and team-mate, Paulo Bento.

Team News for the Braga Match

So, it’s the last game of the season already. It’s been a season to forget for Sporting fans but the future is looking bright if the summer is as good as promised.

  • Pedro Proença will be the referee. He will be assisted by linesmen Tiago Trigo and André Campos.
  • João Pereira’s appeal against his dismal and ban from the match against Portimonense has been turned down, which means he will be missing from this game. Promising youngster Cédric Soares will be set to take the role once again. On a side note, Abel’s surgery was a success, although he will still be looking at 5 months out of action, and possibly without a club for next season.
  • Simon Vukčević has amassed enough yellow cards this season to be banned for the final match.
  • Braga maybe likely to rest some key players of their own ahead of their Europa League final against Porto.
  • André Santos should return after he sat out the last match with suspension, which may mean Daniel Carriço will go back to his more natural centre-back role.
  • With all the talk of a huge shake-up in the squad this summer, some players may well be fighting to stay at the club. We should all be seeing a much improved performance than the one against Vitória at least.

Report: SPORTING 2-1 Portimonense

Sporting finished the game with 9 men on the pitch but managed to hang on to a 2-1 victory which sends opponents Portimonense relegated to the Liga de Honra and keeps the pressure on Braga.

It only took 20 minutes for Sporting to get ahead, with Matías Fernández’s cross teeing up Hélder Postiga to head powerfully past goalkeeper Hugo Ventura, but the rest of the evening was not to be as easy as that.

Portimonense looked good going forward and there were two clear chances for the Alvinegros, the South African forward Calvin Kadi forced Rui Patrício in to a fine save. About a minute later Patrício should have been called into action again but Lito’s header went wide when the Cape Verde international should have at least hit the target.

Sporting were always dangerous going forward, and the trio of Matías, Yannick and Izmailov all looked assured and dangerous in possession. This was of course Marat Izmailov’s first start for the better part of a year as he looked to try and prove worth of his new contract.

Portimonense’s chances seemed to spark the Verde e Brancos into life and João Pereira added a second that seemed to sure up the 3 points before the half-time interval. Pereira’s finish was surprisingly composed for a full back after great play fro Matías and Yannick Djaló in the build up.

The second half started off with an early booking from referee Duarte Gomes, to André Santos for his foul on Ivanildo. Although the game was not played with nearly the sort of temperament through-out that would result in the later red cards.

After 63 minutes José Couceiro made Sporting’s first substitution of the game Jaime Valdés came on in place of Yannick Djaló. Valdés soon made an impact, smashing the bar from outside the box, but before the bar at that ending stopped rattling the net at the other end was in action as Portimonense pulled a goal back through Jorge Pires. It was perhaps not surprising that Portimonense scored, they had looked fairly threatening going forward but the game was played at a strolling pace and the result never really seemed to be in doubt until then. Jaime Valdés came close to scoring again soon after but it wasn’t to be for the Chilean. 

The match will probably be best remembered for what happened within the last 10 minutes. First, André Santos was sent off for his second yellow of the game for another foul on Ivanildo, this time a cynical pull back (although one Ivanildo made the most of). The second sending off though really had the Alvalade in a fury. João Pereira dissent to Duarte Gomes was apparently enough for a straight red card, leaving Sporting having to see out the remainder of 5 minutes of normal time, and then stoppage time with only 9 men.

And fortunately they were able to do so without truly being threatened going forward, all in all it was a solid 3 points marred by a last 10 minutes of reckless tackles and reckless refereeing.

Positives:

  • Matías had another stand out performance, and proves why he is so important to Sporting’s attacking threat with 2 assists.
  • Marat Izmailov started and played 77 minutes before being substituted. There is rustiness to shake off, but he looked good in parts.
  • Rui Patrício. Awesome again.

Negatives:

  • Duarte Gomes. You must wonder what it was exactly that João Pereira said to the referee to warrant a straight red card.
  • Not putting the game to bed. A third goal would have made those last 10 minutes much safer, but trust Sporting not to do things they way they would be done.
  • Although there was an element of luck in the goal from Jorge Pires, the defense still looks suspect from time to time.

SPORTING TEAM: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (Scored 43′, RC), Daniel Carriço, Marco Torsiglieri, Evaldo; Alberto Zapater, André Santos (YC, RC); Yannick Djaló (Jaime Valdés 63′), Matías Fernández (Simon Vukčević 72′), Marat Izmailov (Carlos Saleiro 77′); Hélder Postiga (Scored 20′)
Subs not used: Tiago, Abel, Ânderson Polga, Nuno André Coelho