Sporting players called up to Portugal squads

The latest squad selections for the Portuguese national teams have been announced and, as ever, Sporting are greatly represented.

The biggest news is Gelson Martins’ first called up to the senior squad by Fernando Santos. The winger’s excellent start to the season has not gone unnoticed however Rúben Semedo has not made it to the senior team and is included in the U21 squad.

Portugal: Rui Patrício, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Gelson Martins
Portugal U21: Domingos Duarte, Rúben Semedo, Tobias Figueiredo, Pedro Empis, Francisco Geraldes, Daniel Podence
Portugal U19: Abdu Conté, Bruno Paz, Gonçalo Vieira, Pedro Marques

Elsewhere there were players selected for the Women’s side as well. Susana Cova named 5 Sporting players in her U19 team and 3 Sporting players were selected for the U17 team.

Portugal U19: Bárbara Marques, Bruna Costa, Inês Pereira, Neuza Besugo, Tânia Rodrigues
Portugal U17: Joana Martins, Beatriz Conduto, Carolina Monteiro

Advertisements

Summer Transfers 2016 Review: Departures

So, how did Sporting do in the transfer market this summer? Here’s a look. First, we’ll start with the departures before the far more exciting stuff of arrivals.

André Carrillo to Benfica (Free) – Enough has been said of this transfer already.

Héldon Ramos to Rio Ave (Loan) – Another loan move for Cape Verdean and once again at Rio Ave. The forward doesn’t seem to feature in Jorge Jesus’ plans so it is only a matter of time before his permanent departure.

Mica Pinto to Belenenses (Free) – Mica Pinto was progressing well in the youth system and B teams but he suffered some major injuries which has hurt his development. Hopefully he can get back to his potential at Belenenses.

Luís Ribeiro to Estoril (Free) – Another player who had plenty of games for the B team but didn’t quite make the grade. Currently has José Moreira and Thierry Graça to beat in the pecking line up.

André Geraldes to Vitória de Setúbal (Loan) – Loan moves to Vitória de Setúbal seem to be a good thing for a lot of Sporting players lately, like João Mário and Rúben Semedo. Geraldes is 25-years old now so he really needs to impress if he wants to break into the Sporting first team.

Tobias Figueiredo to Nacional (Loan) – Tobias was on the fringes of the first team, with the arrival of Sebastián Coates making it difficult for him to get game time. A full season loan at Primeira Liga side should do that and so far he has scored against Benfica for the Madeira side, so that’s a good start.

Francisco Sousa to Gondomar (Free) – Featured for the U19s last season but not deemed good enough to be promoted to the B team so he leaves for Gondomar.

Jorge Silva to Leixões (Free) – Returns to his former club after failing to make the grade with the B team.

Seejou King to Aves (Free) – Had a really bad injury last season but Seejou King is another one who did well for the B team but couldn’t find their way into the senior side. Has yet to make his debut for the club.

Miguel Lopes to Akhisar (Loan) – Miguel Lopes is still a victim of his own high wage demands, another ghost of the Godinho Lopes regime. He joins a large Portuguese speaking contingent at Akhisar in Turkey.

Rafael Barbosa to União da Madeira (Loan) – Although the B team could use his services so far this season, Barbosa has been given a loan to União to improve his game. The 20-year old featured regularly last season and has so far played 6 times for União.

Zhang Lingfeng to Torreense (Free) – The Chinese midfielder didn’t make the grade for the club at youth level so has been given a new lease of life at Torreense.

Domingos Duarte to Belenenses (Loan) – Has played in all 3 of Belenenses’ opening games so far. The young central defender has been improving massively in the last year so can hopefully evolve to the next level in Belém.

Filipe Chaby to Sporting da Covilhã (Loan) – Chaby was an excellent prospect at youth levels but a few injuries have stalled his development. At 22-years old now it’s important that the midfielder impresses for Covilhã this season.

Cristian Ponde to Sporting da Covilhã (Loan) – Much like Chaby, this is Cristian Ponde’s season to try and shine. This is the forward’s first loan move away from the club and scored his first goal for Covilhã against Portimonense last weekend.

Oriol Rosell to Belenenses (Loan) – Rosell didn’t get as much game time at Vitória de Guimarães last season as was expected or needed. It seems Jorge Jesus isn’t a fan of the Spanish midfielder so this may be more a shop window loan for him.

Simeon Slavchev to Lechia Gdansk (Loan) – The Bulgarian midfielder arrived at Sporting a few years ago with a good reputation in his native Bulgaria. Slavchev has yet to convince though so he goes on another excursion, this time to Poland.

Hadi Sacko to Leeds United (Loan) – The French forward scored the winning goal on his Championship debut against Birmingham City. It is unlikely that he will return to Sporting after his loan season though.

Ousmane Dramé to Moreirense (Free) – The French forward was given a new lease of life in Portugal after his career in Italy floundered. He will be remembered for his one game and one amazing goal in the first team.

Zezinho to Levadiakos (Free) – The Guinea-Bissau international looked good for the first team when Jesualdo Ferreira first brought him in back in 2012, but the midfielder fell just short of the required ability for the first team.

Ryan Gauld to Vitória de Setúbal (Loan) – Another player who will hopefully make a large amount of progress at Setúbal. This is the Scottish midfielder’s first taste of Primeira Liga football so hopefully he can progress and fulfil his massive potential.

Francisco Geraldes to Moreirense (Loan) – A player who has already had a great start to life at Moreirense. When the rumours of Adrien Silva possibly moving to Leicester City, there were many calls for Geraldes to be called from loan to fulfil his role. Geraldes looks set to have an outstanding season and will hopefully return ready for the first team next season.

Aya Diouf to Sertanense (Loan) – The Senegalese defender only joined Sporting’s academy a few years ago and will move on loan to Sertanense before being given a B team shot.

Guilherme Oliveira to Cova da Piedade (Loan) – The young goalkeeper has plenty of competition at the club with Pedro Silva, Vladimir Stojković and Luís Maximiano currently the favoured choices. The 21-year old desperately needs regular gam time.

Teófilo Gutiérrez to Rosario Central (Loan, €1,200,000 fee) – Just when Teó was getting good he decided he wanted to return to Argentina. The move was a prolonged affair with the Colombian preferring River Plate as his destination. Although this is a loan move I wouldn’t expect to see Gutiérrez in a Sporting shirt again.

Kikas to Leixões (Free) – Kikas certainly can’t be faulted for his loyalty to the club and it’s only a shame he couldn’t break into the first team. Hopefully goes on to have a great career.

André Martins to Olympiakos (Free) – Despite his promise, André Martins couldn’t make his way into the team with the arrival of Jorge Jesus. Now he joins Paulo Bento in Greece and another player who hopefully finds his way back into prominence.

João Palhinha to Belenenses (Loan) – João Palhinha looked awfully close to getting into the first team this season but just fell short despite featuring a lot in pre-season. Hopefully improves ready to take his spot next season.

Alberto Aquilani to Pescara (Free) – After being stupidly sent off in a humiliating pre-season friendly, that probably sealed the departure of Aquilani. The Italian midfielder looked classy whenever he played but was not going to break into the first team last season and it seems even with the departure of João Mário was not a part of Jesus’ plans and departs.

Naldo to Krasnodar (€4,500,000) – Bought for €3m and sold for €4.5m, isn’t a bad piece of business from Bruno de Carvalho. Initially the Brazilian looked solid alongside Paulo Oliveira in defence but with the arrival of Sebastián Coates and the emergence of Rúben Semedo he found games hard to come by.

Hernán Barcos to Vélez Sarsfield (Loan) – Barcos didn’t impress at all in his stint, joining as part of the transfer of Fredy Montero out to China last season, he didn’t come close to the Colombian’s talent. Although his departure is a loan he is unlikely to return to the club.

João Mário to Internazionale (€40,000,000) – What can we say about João Mário? On the pitch and off the pitch the creative midfielder was a class act. There’s been plenty written about this so I don’t need to expand too much but hopefully João Mário excel at Inter and returns to the club one day in the future. The transfer fee, of course, is a record sale by Sporting and credit must go to Bruno de Carvalho for the negotiations.

Jonathan Silva to Boca Juniors (Loan) – The left-back has had his loan move to Boca Juniors extended after impressing there. With Jefferson seemingly not favoured by Jorge Jesus and Bruno César and Marvin Zeegelaar as the alternatives there’s certainly a spot for the Argentinian in the squad next season.

Ewerton to Kaiserslautern (Loan) – The Brazilian central defender was similar to Naldo in the sense that initially he looked solid but with other players emerging he fell down the pecking order. A move to the Bundesliga could be a good option for him and the German club have the option to buy the player at the end of the loan move.

Iuri Medeiros to Boavista (Loan) – Medeiros again got very close to the first team but just fell short so he will go on another loan move. He impressed at Moreirense last season and at 22-years old now this should hopefully be his final loan move before breaking into the first team.

Carlos Mané to Stuttgart (Loan) – Held back by the emergence of Gelson Martins and, perhaps, the arrival of Jorge Jesus, Carlos Mané hasn’t quite made it yet. After being incredibly promising early on and popping up with goals it seems his future may lie elsewhere. Of course, after his 2 season loan spell at Stuttgart, Mané could return to the club better than ever.

Daniel Podence to Moreirense (Loan) – Much like Iuri Medeiros, Daniel Podence was very close to making it into the first team this season. The diminutive and tricky attacker looked impressive in pre-season but recent transfers meant his first team appearances would be rare. With Sporting’s currently stacked list of young, tricky, quick attacking wingers extending to Matheus Pereira, Gelson Martins, Iuri Medeiros, Carlos Mané and Podence himself a loan move is the best option for him.

Wallyson Mallmann to Standard Liège (Loan) – Again so close yet so far for Wallyson as far as being promoted to the first team goes. Another loan spell may well be his last if he doesn’t impress Jorge Jesus.

Rúben Ribeiro to Aves (Free) – Some websites seem to have this transfer down as a loan but O Jogo claimed the player had rescinded his contract to join Aves on a 2-year deal. Indeed, a loan would probably have been better had he wanted to try and move up the ranks but it seems he’ll be going a different route.

Salim CIssé to Olhanense (Free) – The Guinean forward initially looked very promising but he hasn’t developed as Sporting would have hoped so he could revive his career with Olhanense after rescinding his contract.

Islam Slimani to Leicester City (€30,000,000) – Obrigado, Islam Slimani. Super Slim won everyone over with his passion, his late goals and his performances in the big games. Again, not much else is needed to be said about him as he was a firm favourite with the fans. Initially joining for €300,000 and leaving for 100x more, this will also be seen as the club’s best bit of transfer business to date. Hopefully goes on to have an excellent career and return in the future.

Zakaria Labyad (Released) – What could have been with Zakaria Labyad. The Moroccan has the talent and the potential but he can’t seem to find it when it matters, he won’t be missed and was a relic of the Godinho era.

Total loanees – 24 (almost putting Chelsea to shame)
Income – €75,700,000

Part 2 to follow later…

Champions League Draw, Douglas, André

There’s plenty of big news to catch up on with the Champions League draw, the signings of Douglas and André, the departure of Alberto Aquilani, and the usual transfer rumours.

Firstly, we’ll look at the Champions League draw. It’s a very tough group for Sporting but does involve the return of a familiar face to the Alvalade. Here are the full Champions League fixtures:

14th September: Real Madrid vs. SPORTING
27th September: SPORTING vs. Legia Warszawa
18th October: SPORTING vs. Borussia Dortmund
2nd November: Borussia Dortmund vs. SPORTING
22nd November: SPORTING vs. Real Madrid
7th December: Legia Warszawa vs. SPORTING

It’s looking like 3rd place is going to be the most likely outcome of that group but the return of Cristiano Ronaldo should be a great moment.

Madrid, Dortmund and Legia will also be the opponents for Sporting’s U19 side as Sporting return to the UEFA Youth League.

Yesterday Sporting also completed the long expected transfer of Douglas Teixeira from Trabzonspor. The Brazilian turned Dutch central defender has a 3-year contract with the option of an extra year.

No word of a transfer fee but the 28-year old is going to find it difficult to get in the team ahead of Rúben Semedo and Sebastián Coates. This is should accelerate the departures of Naldo, rumoured to be joining Krasnodar on loan shortly, and Ewerton.

The departure of Alberto Aquilani has finally concluded. The Italian midfielder rescinded his contract and has joined Pescara.

Before that, on Wednesday evening there was the signing of Brazilian forward André from Corinthians. Apparently, Sporting have used some of the debt owed the club by Corinthians (back from the transfer of Elias) as part of the transfer fee but no official word on the value.

André signs a contract until 2019 with an option of 2 more seasons and a release clause of €60,000,000.

According to O Jogo, Sporting want to give a new contract to Gelson Martins. Martins currently has a contract until 2021, however Sporting want to increase the player’s wages as well extend the length of the contract.

A Bola say that there are Primeira Liga clubs looking to sign Daniel Podence on loan, with Sporting willing to allow the player to gain experience elsewhere.

Finally, the rumours of the signing of Bas Dost have returned. If you believe all the rumours then Sporting have competition from some English sides however should Sporting sign the Wolfsburg man it is likely it could lead to the exit of Islam Slimani.

SPORTING 1-4 AS Monaco

It was a disappointing result for Sporting’s first competitive friendly of the 2016/2017 season, losing 4-1 to Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco in Switzerland.

Jorge Jesus started the game with just one recognised midfielder, debutant Radosav Petrović played alongside captain Bryan Ruiz in the middle of the pitch. Otherwise, there was some familiar names to the starting line-up.

Sporting started off well but Valère Germain scored early on for Monaco. Daniel Podence pulled one back with great skill after the 20 minute mark but the lead didn’t last long when Radamel Falcao was given space in the box to head home.

In the second-half Monaco were much the better side, ex-Sporting manager Leonardo Jardim’s side were clearly in better shape and sharpness after having started pre-season earlier. Radamel Falcao grabbed a second to make it 3 before Guido Carrillo finished the scoring.

Sporting will be back in action tomorrow against Stade Nyonnais before facing Zenit St. Petersburg, PSV Eindhoven and Lyon.

SPORTING XI: Ažbe Jug; Ezequiel Schelotto, Sebastián Coates, Rúben Semedo, Marvin Zeegelaar (Jefferson, 74′); Radosav Petrović (João Palhinha, 64′), Bryan Ruiz (Alberto Aquilani, 74′); Matheus Pereira (Bruno César, 64′), Gelson Martins (Teófilo Gutiérrez, 64′), Daniel Podence (Scored, 21′, YC) (Iuri Medeiros, 64′); Hernán Barcos (Islam Slimani, 64′)

Leões/Lions Awards 2016

I may always forget to update this but I never forget the year end awards! It’s been a unique season. We’ve played some of the best football in Europe but just missed out on glory. So, here’s some meaningless opinions:

img_770x4332016_01_07_14_48_36_1047776Goal of the Season: João Mário vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link) – This goal sums up João Mário’s breakout season. He glides around the pitch and then rockets an unstoppable shot into the net. Of course, being such a classy player, he doesn’t celebrate against the club he had a loan spell with. Beautiful.
Runners Up: 2. Adrien Silva vs. Académica (Link) 3. Islam Slimani vs. Estoril (Link)
Bonus: Bryan Ruiz vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link), Islam Slimani vs. Académica (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Belenenses (Link)
2015: Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link)
2014: Carlos Mané vs. Marítimo (Link)
2013: Ricky van Wolfswinkel vs. Braga (Link)
2012: Marat Izmailov vs. Rio Ave (Link)

Worst Signing of the Season: Hernán Barcos – This was a tricky award to give out, thankfully. Barcos, however, was a strange singing. He arrived in part exchange for Fredy Montero in another example of football’s exodus to China. Yet, the timing was off. Montero had just won us 3 points on his own in the previous game against Académica and, had we kept the Colombian, he could have made the difference later on in the season. Barcos failed to really stand out on any of his subsequent appearances.
Runners Up: 2. Michaël Ciani, 3. Bruno Paulista (purely due to his injuries)
2015: 1. Simeon Slavchev, 2. Naby Sarr, 3. Ramy Rabia
2014: 1. Gérson Magrão, 2. Welder, 3. Iván Piris
2013: 1. Khalid Boulahrouz, 2. Danijel Pranjic, 3. Gelson Fernandes
2012: 1. Valeri Bojinov, 2. Luis Aguiar, 3. Elias

2263041_w2Best Signing of the Season: Jorge Jesus – Talk about a coup. None of us what would have though last year that Jorge Jesus would be our manager. Bruno de Carvalho pulled off a wonder in bringing him to the Alvalade. The quality of football has been brilliant since he signed and what’s more impressive as this was done in a season where half way through we changed our entire defence. The only blot is the lack of a major trophy but regardless it was the best Sporting team in some time. We only hope he sticks around to win the league for us next season.
Runners Up: 2. Bryan Ruiz, 3. Bruno César
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. Nani, 3. Ewerton
2014: 1. Leonardo Jardim, 2. Islam Slimani, 3. Jefferson
2013: 1. Fabrice Fokobo, 2. Marcos Rojo, 3. Zakaria Labyad
2012: 1. Stijn Schaars, 2. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 3. Emiliano Insúa

U23 Player of the Season: João Mário – Starting the season at 22, the now 23 year old has been one of the best footballers in the country this season. With a new position under Jesus as a creative wide midfielder he has managed to be an important key to unlocking defences. He is was one of the classiest players to grave the Alvalade.
Runners Up: 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Rúben Semedo
2015: 1. Paulo Oliveira, 2. João Mário, 3. Carlos Mané
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Carlos Mané, 3. André Carrillo
2013: 1. André Martins, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Tiago Ilori
2012: 1. Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 2. André Martins, 3. André Carrillo

B Team Player of the Season: Daniel Podence – This would have been Matheus Pereira’s award but althougth Brazilian was outstanding for the B team, his first team commitments limited his playing time. Instead, Daniel Podence is deserving of the award. Despite his stature, he’s starting to excel as a creative and tricky winger with goals to his name. A season long loan at a Primeira Liga club, similar to what Iuri Medeiros just had, would be great way to continue his development.
Runners Up: 2. Francisco Geraldes, 3. Matheus Pereira
2015: 1. Wallyson Mallmann, 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Ryan Gauld
2014: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Iuri Medeiros, 3. Wallyson Mallmann
2013: 1. Ricardo Esgaio, 2. Eric Dier, 3. Bruma

01_13181623_6b1cae_2639989aPlayer of the Season: Islam Slimani – The stats speak for themselves with Islam Slimani. The Algerian has been on fire with 31 goals in all competitions this season that has made it impossible for defences to deal with his aerial ability and predatory instincts. His goals against Porto and Benfica showed what a big game player he is as well. Slimani is an admirer of Jorge Jesus so hopefully he may stick around next season.
Runners Up: 2. Adrien Silva, 3. João Mário
2015: 1. André Carrillo, 2. Nani, 3. Adrien Silva
2014: 1. William Carvalho, 2. Adrien Silva, 3. Cédric Soares
2013: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Diego Capel, 3. Fabián Rinaudo
2012: 1. Rui Patrício, 2. Stijn Schaars, 3. Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Freamunde 1-2 SPORTING B

The two teams left it late to produce goals as Sporting B travelled to take on Freamunde. Daniel Podence got the first goal in the 87th minute before Matheus Pereira grabbed a second in the second minute of injury time. There was still enough time for Pedrinho to pull one back for Freamunde but Sporting came out on top.

With the long-term injury of Mauro Riquicho, João de Deus gave a debut to 19-year old Ivanildo Fernandes at right-back. With Sambinha defended Fabrice Fokobo dropped into defence and Diogo Salomão also started his first game this season.

Freamunde were the better side in the game for most of the first and second halves. Pedro Silva was required on occasion and Freamunde will also be unhappy with their in ability to finish.

Sporting B, however, persevered and were rewarded just 3 minutes from the end when Daniel Podence sped through the Freamunde defence Rui Nereu.

Just 5 minutes later Matheus Pereira also burst through the Freamunde defence. The Brazilian went round goalkeeper Nereu before calmly finish to guarantee all 3 points.

Freamunde did grab a consolation goal through Pedrinho but it was far too late in the day for them to try and save a point.

This result now puts Sporting B in second place in the Segunda Liga.

SPORTING B XI: Pedro Silva; Ivanildo Fernandes, Domingos Duarte, Fabrice Fokobo, Seejou King; Ryan Gauld, Rafael Barbosa (YC) (Hadi Sacko, 76′); Matheus Pereira (YC) (Scored, 90+2′), Diogo Salomão (Daniel Podence, 57′, Scored, 87′); Mama Baldé (YC), Cristian Ponde (Zezinho,  68′)
Substitutes Not Used: Vladimir Stojković, Rúben Ribeiro, Fábio Martins, Jorge Silva

Europa League Squad Announced

Sporting have announced their Europa League squad for the upcoming group stages. No real surprises in the squads, Sporting certainly benefitting from being able to register Tobias Figueiredo, Carlos Mané and Gelson Martins as “B” players.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck, Ažbe Jug, Guilherme Oliveira*, Pedro Silva*, Vladimir Stojković*
Defenders: Jonathan Silva, Jefferson, Ewerton, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo, Ricardo Esgaio, Tobias Figueiredo*, Domingos Duarte*, Mauro Riquicho*
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani, William Carvalho, João Mário, Adrien Silva, André Martins, Bruno Paulista, Francisco Geraldes*, Fábio Martins*, Rafael Barbosa*
Forwards: Junya Tanaka, Islam Slimani, Fredy Montero, André Carrillo, Teófilo Gutiérrez, Carlos Mané*, Cristian Ponde*, Daniel Podence*, Gelson Martins*, Matheus Pereira*

*”B list”

Sporting’s Champions League Squad Announced

Sporting have sent their squad list to UEFA which includes some notable absentees. Both Miguel Lopes and Shikabala are absent from the least leading to speculations over their future, the latter is expect to return to for a 4th stint with Zamalek. There were though inclusions for Ryan Gauld, Ramy Rabia, Hadi Sacko and André Geraldes.

The full list:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck, Luís Ribeiro, Guilherme Oliveira*, Pedro Silva*, Vladimir Stojković*
Defenders: Cédric Soares, André Geraldes Ricardo Esgaio*, Ramy Rabia, Maurício, Paulo Oliveira, Naby Sarr, Jefferson Jonathan Silva, Mica Pinto*, Tobias Figueiredo*, Domingos Duarte*, Wilson Manafá*, Bruno Wilson*, Bernardo Carlos*, Hugo Meira*, Mauro Riquicho*, João Serrano*
Midfielders: William Carvalho, Oriol Rosell, Simeon Slavchev, Adrien Silva, João Mário*, André Martins, Ryan Gauld, Wallyson Mallmann*, Filipe Chaby*, Francisco Geraldes*, Fábio Martins*, Rafael Barbosa*, Edelino Ié*
Forwards: Diego Capel, Nani, André Carrillo, Carlos Mané*, Héldon Ramos, Nani, Hadi Sacko,Junya Tanaka, Fredy Montero, Islam Slimani, Cristian Ponde*, Iuri Medeiros*, Daniel Podence*, Gelson Martins*, José Postiga*, Matheus Pereira*

The players with asterisks are part of the UEFA “B list”.

Weekend Round-Up: Derby Stalemate, Beira-Mar Victory and Meira Leaves

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:

The first derby of the season was another highly exciting encounter at the Estádio da Luz. Jorge Jesus’ Benfica welcomed back Enzo Peréz into the team after he missed the win against Boavista through injury. Ruben Amorim picked up an injury in that game was replaced by André Almeida in the starting line-up.

Sporting were still without regular right-back Cédric Soares so Marco Silva kept faith in youngster Ricardo Esgaio over the recently recalled Miguel Lopes. William Carvalho was restored into midfield in the place Oriol Rosell after he served his suspension and Islam Slimani also recently patched things up with Sporting management and he started up front ahead of Fredy Montero.

It was the home side who began the game the better as Sporting struggled to settle down. It was the visitors who had the first sniff at goal when a Jefferson corner found the head of the returning Islam Slimani but the Algerian’s header missed.

Talisca had the first opportunity for Benfica when his freekick was tipped over by Rui Patrício. The goalkeeper was called into action again when Luisão found space after a short corner routine.

Benfica opened the scoring with a fantastically worked goal. Eduardo Salvio and Maxi Pereira combined well down the right-flank. Maxi’s flick found Nico Gaitán whose shot was powerful enough to beat Rui Patrício and send the home fans into raptures.

It took a while for Sporting to grow into the game. They were given a gigantic helping hand by the fringe of Artur.

The goalkeeper was closed down by André Carrillo and after a bad touch he could only fire his kick directly at the Peruvian. The ball bounced kindly for Islam Slimani to head into an empty from less than a yard away. It was a farcical goal that may mean that Júlio César will be in-between the sticks for Benfica’s next game.

Their next chance again came to Islam Slimani. Adrien Silva’s shot was blocked and fell into the path of the striker behind the Benfica defence. His shot was a tame effort easily caught by Artur.

Sporting’s high pressure made the entire Benfica back line nervous with Sporting managing to create attacks by capitalising on mistakes.

The home side had to good chances to take the lead soon after the restart. Nico Gaitán found space down the left-hand side but his audacious attempt to chip Rui Patrício went over the bar. Soon after Salvio also had a decent effort from outside the area that just went wide.

Benfica had a spell of dominance with a half hour to go after a series of chances. Salvio’s chance was the better of the 3 or 4 great chances the home side created. Lima did well down the left hand side and easily got the best of Naby Sarr. Lima’s pull back found Salvio on the penalty spot but his shot was well saved by Patrício.

Salvio had an even better chance 5 minutes later when Sporting’s defence was easily cut open once more. Lima’s cross from the left hand side found Salvio in acres of space but the Argentinian’s shot hit the wrong side of the netting.

With 12 minutes left Nico Gaitán almost got his second from a corner but his header went just over Patrício’s post.

Islam Slimani almost won the game for Sporting just 2 minutes from the end when he found space at the far past after Nani’s cross. The striker’s shot was stopped by Artur to keep the scores level.

It was another fascinating and compelling derby and in the end the scores were perhaps reflective of the game despite Benfica having the better of the second half they could easily have let it slip in the dying minutes.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio (YC), Maurício, Naby Sarr, Jefferson; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva (YC) (Carlos Mané, 79′), André Martins (Oriol Rosell, 81′); Nani, André Carrillo (YC) (Diego Capel, 60′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 20′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Paulo Oliveira, Fredy Montero, Junya Tanaka

Meanwhile Sporting B went from 0-1 up to 2-1 down away to Beira-Mar earlier on Sunday. Daniel Podence grabbed the opener for Sporting B but veteran striker Índio gave Beira-Mar the win with 2 goals in 2 minutes.

It was Sporting who had the better of the first half, dominating possession and Daniel Podence’s curling effort after 19 minutes gone was certainly indicative of the away sides play in the first half.

Beira-Mar improved drastically after the break but it was two set pieces that were the downfall of Francisco Barão’s side.

First, Mauro Riquicho gave a freekick away for a foul on Billal Sebaihi. Íncio converted from the freekick.

Sporting shot themselves in the foot in the 3rd minute of stoppage time after conceding a penalty. Again, Íncio stepped up and struck his effort past Luís Ribeiro.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Mauro Riquicho, Sambinha, Tobias Figueiredo, Mica Pinto; Fabrice Fokobo, Wallyson Mallmann, Iuri Medeiros; Daniel Podence (Scored, 19′) (Mama Baldé, 76′), Ryan Gauld (Ousmane Dramé, 64′), Lewis Enoh (Gelson Martins, 70′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Domingos Duarte, Wilson Manafá, Jorge Santos

Finally yesterday also saw the departure of former Sporting B goalkeeper Mickaël Meira to AEL Limassol on a full transfer for an undisclosed amount.

Meira will be joining up with on-loan Sporting player Zezinho – the Cyprus club having a large Portuguese contingent there..

Mickaël Meira spent 5-years coming through the youth ranks at Sporting after signing from Fátimo in 2009.

Sporting Players Selected for Portugal U19 and U18

With Portugal U19 and U18 games coming it is no surprise that there are plenty of Sporting players involved.

Hélio Sousa has chosen Cristian Ponde, Daniel Podence, Domingos Duarte, Gelson Martins, Guilherme Oliveira, João Palhinha and Mauro Riquicho for his U19 team. The U19s will be playing in a brief tournament in La Manga, Spain.

U18 manager Edgar Borges has also called up Sporting youngsters for the upcoming U18 training camp. This includes Bernardo Carlos, Bruno Wilson, João Serrano and José Postiga