SPORTING 1-0 Nacional

Sporting had a tough night at the Alvalade against a stubborn Nacional. The visitors were down to 10 men after Nuno Sequeira was sent off after just 30 minutes. However, it took until the 86th minute for Fredy Montero to produce the game’s winning goal.

With André Carrillo still unavailable to be selected to Jorge Jesus whilst the Peruvian looks set to leave the club, young Gelson Martins was given a starting role in his place. Elsewhere, João Mário started ahead of Alberto Aquilani and Ricardo Esgaio was at right-back.

Sporting were fully in control of possession throughout the match but found it difficult to make a break through the Nacional defence.

That job was made easier when Nuno Sequeira received his second yellow card after just a half-hour. Nacional may have found it harsh but Sequeira was incredibly rash.

Despite going down to 10 men, Sporting still couldn’t break through the Nacional defence. Islam Slimani had a few half-chances and Gelson Martins caused plenty of problems but they couldn’t find the final ball.

Sporting improved after the introductions of Carlos Mané and Fredy Montero. Indeed, the two linked up for the goal just 4 minutes from time.

It was a hard fought win but it sees Sporting 4 points ahead of Benfica and in 2nd place behind Porto on goal difference.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira (YC), Naldo, Jefferson; Adrien Silva, João Mário (André Martins, 77′); Bryan Ruiz (Carlos Mané, 65′), Gelson Martins; Teófilo Gutiérrez (Fredy Montero, 54′, Scored, 83′), Islam Slimani (YC)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tobias Figueiredo, Jonathan Silva, Alberto Aquilani

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 Announce Champions League Squad

Sporting have announced their squad for the upcoming Champions League play-off games against CSKA Moscow. The inclusions of William Carvalho and Ewerton, who have been injured over pre-season, is a welcome return.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Marcelo Boeck, Ažbe Jug
Defenders: João Pereira, Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo, Ewerton, Jefferson, Jonathan Silva
Médios: William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Alberto Aquilani, João Mário, André Martins
Avançados: André Carrillo, Bryan Ruiz, Junya Tanaka, Fredy Montero, Teófilo Gutiérrez, Islam Slimani

This, of course, doesn’t include the “B” list of players allowed to be included to Champions League squads. Any players can be registered who were born after 1st January 1994. This includes the likes of Wallyson Mallmann, Rúben Semedo, Gelson Martins and Carlos Mané.

Pre-Season Review: 2015/2016

5 games, 4 wins, 1 draw, 2 trophies. Not a bad start to life at Sporting for Jorge Jesus! With a new 4-2-2-2 system and some new reinforcements it was interesting to watch this new Sporting side develop. Here’s a rundown of what we saw this pre-season…

Sporting kicked off the new season with a training ground friendly against CD Mafra with a 3-1 win. Jefferson, Islam Slimani and Junya Tanaka got the goals for Sporting with the notable inclusion of Gelson Martins in the starting eleven. João Pereira made his return to Sporting as a second-half substitute.

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; Miguel Lopes, Paulo Oliveira, Tobias Figueiredo, Jefferson; Oriol Rosell, Adrien Silva; Carlos Mané, Gelson Martins; Fredy Montero, Islam Slimani

After the break Jesus fielded an entirely new team –

Marcelo Boeck; João Pereira, Rúben Semedo, Naby Sarr, Jonathan Silva; Simeon Slavchev, Ricardo Esgaio; Iuri Medeiros, Diego Capel; Valentín Viola, Junya Tanaka

Next came an even more comfortable win, again behind closed doors, against Atlético Clube de Portugal. Fredy Montero, Carlos Mané, Gelson Martins and a rare brace from Naby Sarr giving Sporting the win.

Again Jesus elected to choose 2 different teams in an effort to judge as many players in action as possible. New signing Naldo made his first appearance in the second half.

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Paulo Oliveira, Tobias Figueiredo, Jefferson; Adrien Silva, João Mário; Gelson Martins, Carlos Mané; Fredy Montero, Islam Slimani

Then for the second 45: Marcelo Boeck; Ricardo Esgaio, Naldo, Naby Sarr, Jonathan Silva; Rúben Semedo, Oriol Rosell, Wallyson Mallmann; Diego Capel, Iuri Medeiros; Junya Tanaka

Sporting then flew down to South Africa to participate in the Cape Town Cup hosted by Ajax Cape Town. Sporting drew the hosts in the first game with the winner facing off against either Crystal Palace or Supersport United.

Ajax Cape Town proved to be tricker than expected for Sporting. After Carlos Mané’s opening goal, the South African side pulled one back after Naldo handballed in the area, and Cecil Lolo dispatched the penalty. The hosts then took the lead in the 80th minute through Franklin Cale. Just 4 minutes later however, Rúben Semedo towered to head in from a corner to bring the game straight to penalties after the 90 minutes.

Ricardo Esgaio scored the winning penalty for Sporting after Rui Patrício made 2 saves to deny Ajax. The game also saw debuts for Michaël Ciani and Teófilo Gutiérrez

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (Ricardo Esgaio, 46′), Paulo Oliveira (Michaël Ciani, 72′), Tobias Figueiredo (Naldo, 46′), Jefferson (Jonathan Silva, 46′); João Mário (Wallyson Mallmann, 72′), Adrien Silva (Rubén Semedo, 78′), André Martins (Fredy Montero, 46′); Gelson Martins (Iuri Medeiros. 70′), Carlos Mané (André Carrillo, 46′); Islam Slimani (Teófilo Gutiérrez, 46′)

Next for Sporting came a sterner test against Crystal Palace. It was an end to end match with Rui Patrício pulling out some fantastic saves throughout the match to deny the London team.

Substitute Fredy Montero’s second-half brace gave Sporting the win and their first trophy under Jorge Jesus, albeit the Cape Town Cup.

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (Ricardo Esgaio, 61′), Paulo Oliveira (Tobias Figueiredo, 81′), Naldo, Jefferson; Rúben Semedo (João Mário, 37′), Adrien Silva (Wallyson Mallmann, 81′); Gelson Martins (Carlos Mané, 46′), André Carrillo (Oriol Rosell, 61′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (Fredy Montero, 61′), Islam Slimani (Diego Capel, 90+1′)

The final pre-season game was back at the Alvalade with the annual Troféu Cinco Violinos. This time, AS Roma, 2nd in Serie A last year were to be the opponents.

It was 2 quick-fire goals in the second half that gave Sporting the win. Islam Slimani headed in Jefferson’s corner for the first and Carlos Mané poached for the second.

This was by far the most polished pre-season performance from Sporting and it was where Jorge Jesus’ new tactics really felt like they were working. Roma were limited to very few chances with Sporting dominating the ball for the majority of the game.

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício (Marcelo Boeck, 77′); João Pereira (Ricardo Esgaio, 78′), Paulo Oliveira, Naldo (Tobias Figueiredo, 60′), Jefferson; Adrien Silva (Wallyson Mallmann, 78′), João Mário (Rúben Semedo, 59′); André Carrillo (Gelson Martins, 71′), Bryan Ruiz (Carlos Mané, 46′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (Fredy Montero, 60′), Islam Slimani (André Martins, 71′)

The win will give Sporting huge confidence going into next week’s 2015 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira against Benfica.

News Round-Up: João de Deus takes the B team, International Call-Ups, Two Victories

There’s plenty to catch up on after a few days without a post so we’ll start with the most recent news.

João de Deus will be taking over from Francisco Barão as the coach of the Sporting B team. The former Oliveirense and Gil Vicente manager, who had a modest playing career before becoming a coach, will be working alongside Francisco Barão to coach the side. Barão now will be once against the assistant as he was previously when Abel Ferreira was coach.

This week is another international week and there’s plenty of Sporting players involved. The highlights include Ryan Gauld being selected for the Scotland first team and Tobias Figueiredo being named in the Portugal U21 team. Not to mention Sporting having 6 players in new coach Fernando Santos’ first selection. Here’s the full list:

Algeria: Islam Slimani
Japan: Junya Tanaka
Portugal: Rui Patrício, Cédric Soares, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, João Mário, Nani
Portugal U21: Tobias Figueiredo, Paulo Oliveira, Ricardo Esgaio, Carlos Mané, Iuri Medeiros
Peru: André Carrillo
Scotland: Ryan Gauld

There was plenty of good results across many different Sporting teams in various sports but we’ll focus on the B team and the first team here.

The B team returned to winning ways, in what we know now was Francisco Barão’s last B team game as head coach, with a 2-1 win at home to Trofense. With Tobias Figueiredo called up to the first team for this game Domingos Duarte made his full professional debut in central defence.

Sporting’s first goal came after just 3 minutes when Papa Alassane diverted the ball into his own goal from a corner whilst under pressure from Sambinha.

The second goal came in the 22nd minute when Wallyson Mallmann completed a fantastic chip from outside of the area as he beat goalkeeper Diogo Freire to the ball.

The B team looked comfortable but just after the restart Ricardo Esgaio was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game.

Hélder Sousa managed to pull one back for Trofense as they enjoyed more of the play with superior numbers but Sporting managed to hold out and pick up a much needed win.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro (YC); Ricardo Esgaio (YC, RC), Sambinha, Domingos Duarte, Mica Pinto; Fabrice Fokobo (Francisco Geraldes, 81′), Wallyson Mallmann (Scored, 22′), Ryan Gauld; Hadi Sacko (YC) (Mauro Riquicho, 56′), Daniel Podence (Iuri Medeiros, 68′), Salim Cissé
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Liu Yiming, Ousmane Dramé, Lewis Enoh

The first team managed to pick up another 4-0 win away from home after an explosive closing third of the game saw Sporting pick up all of their goals. A particular highlight included Fredy Montero grabbing a goal once again.

Paulo Oliveira started in central defence with Maurício out injured. Elsewhere André Martins played alongside William Carvalho and João Mário in midfield giving Adrien Silva a rest.

It was a gruelling first hour for Sporting with Penafiel defending well and Sporting find it difficult to carve out space. Nani could have put the visitors ahead when he connected to André Carrillo’s cross but miscued his effort.

With Sporting labouring in the first half Marco Silva made a double substitution in the 57th minute that turned the tide of the game with William Carvalho and André Martins being replaced by Adrien Silva and Fredy Montero.

Islam Slimani headed home past the diving Alireza Haghighi from Jefferson’s cross in the 69th minute to open the scoring for Sporting.

He then muscled his way into the path of Cédric Soares’ long ball over the top to finish beautifully by hitting the under side of the cross bar and into the net just 2 minutes later.

Fredy Montero’s return to scoring came after an excellent Sporting attacking move. Diego Capel’s low cross found the Colombian able to table in at the far post and end his barren run with his first goal in 300 days.

Montero then turned provider for Sporting’s final goal. Montero’s low ball into the path of Nani allowed the winger to finish with great skill from close range and add extra emphasis to the scoreline.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Naby Sarr, Paulo Oliveira, Jefferson (YC); William Carvalho (YC) (Fredy Montero, 57′, Scored, 82′, YC), João Mário, André Martins (Adrien Silva, 57′); André Carrillo (Diego Capel, 70′), Nani (Scored, 85′) (YC), Islam Slimani (Scored, 69′, 71′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Jonathan Silva, Oriol Rosell, Junya Tanaka

Week Round-Up: Win, Lose, Draw

There were varying results for all 3 of Sporting’s sides on Wednesday: the U19s beat Maribor, the B team lost to Chaves and the first team threw it away against Maribor.

Match report from PortuGOAL.net:
Sporting contrived to throw away two points in Slovenia after a defensive calamity allowed Maribor to equalise in the final seconds of the game upon their Champions League return.

The Lisbon club had taken the lead in the 80th minute when Nani struck superbly to grab his first goal since returning to the club. That goal was cancelled out when Naby Sarr and Maurício both produced awful clearances leaving 18-year old Luka Zahović to equalise for Maribor.

Sporting may have been 5 years without Champions League football but their opponents for the night, Maribor, have been out of the competition for a full 15 years. Only Adrien, Diego Capel and Nani were not making their Champions League debuts.

Marco Silva made just one change from the team that disappointed at the Alvalade against Belenenses in the last game, Cédric Soares returning to his right-back slot at the expense of the capable back-up, Ricardo Esgaio.

Sporting had the better of the opening stages of the half but it was Maribor who had the better of the chances, Agim Ibraimi finding too much space and forcing a decent save out of Rui Patrício.

The best moment of the first-half for Sporting came in the 28th minute when André Carrillo, Sporting’s best player so far this season, played a fantastic one-two with Islam Slimani before hitting his effort straight at goalkeeper Jasmin Handović. The Peruvian picked up the rebound and curled a superb shot onto the bar.

From that point on came Maribor’s best stint of the game in which they created plenty of opportunities. Marcos Tavares had a decent opportunity when he found space to head the ball but his attempt was straight at Patrício.

The home side’s best chance of the half though fell to defender Aleksander Rajčević. The defender’s header struck Patrício’s post with the goalkeeper well beaten.

Marco Silva made one change at half-time with the ineffectual André Martins taken off and João Mário on to replace him.

The change balanced Sporting’s play and soon they were on top again. Nani picking out a great cross for Islam Slimani, but the Algerian’s header was straight at the goalkeeper.

Despite Sporting’s better control of the second half their defence was shaky. Tavares had another great opportunity but Cédric Soares’ block was essential.

Nani grew into the game and had a decent chance in the 64th minute but Handović was there to stop him.

There was nothing the goalkeeper could do about Nani’s eventual goal in the 80th minute. The winger did well to find space for himself to shoot from outside the box and drilled an effort low into the bottom right corner.

It looked like Sporting were going to kick off their Champions League place with a win but calamity struck in the 2nd minute of stoppage time. Naby Sarr headed a loose clearance that Maurício tried to boot clear, but only succeeded in shanking the ball horribly towards his own net, placing it perfectly for the Portugal-born Luka Zahović to head past Rui Patrício and give Maribor a well-earned point.

This 5th draw in 6 games for Marco Silva and is a cause for concern. Defensive errors are becoming too frequent with the current centre-back partnership and it may not be long before there is a change at the back.

Although Sporting may have thought it unlikely to get out of the group stages this really makes it an uphill struggle. Realistically, Sporting will need to get something out of Schalke and Chelsea now to go through to the knock-out stages, otherwise the Europa League will beckon.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Maurício (YC), Naby Sarr, Jefferson; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, André Martins (João Mário, 46′); André Carrillo (Carlos Mané, 66), Nani (Scored, 80), Islam Slimani (Fredy Montero, 90+1)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Ricardo Esgaio Paulo Oliveira, Diego Capel

Francisco Barão’s Sporting B were 2-0 down after just 7 minutes gone in their game away to Chaves.

Luís Pinto had opened the scoring after just 5 minutes before shortly afterwards Arnold Issoko doubled the home side’s lead.

Sporting managed to pull one back just after the half-hour mark through the returning Salim Cissé.

Chaves scored a crucial 3rd goal in the 63rd minute through Hugo Santos.

After that Sporting B threw everything they could at Chaves but only managed to get one more goal, Francisco Geraldes getting Sporting’s 2nd in the 79th minute.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Mauro Riquicho, Sambinha, Tobias Figueiredo (YC), Mica Pinto; Wallyson Mallmann (YC), Filipe Chaby (YC) (Francisco Geraldes, Scored, 79′), Iuri Medeiros (YC); Daniel Podence (Ousmane Dramé, 56′), Hadi Sacko (Gelson Martins 73′), Salim Cissé (Scored, 31′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Domingos Duarte, Rúben Ribeiro, Lewis Enoh

And finally some good news, Sporting’s U19 side won 3-1 away to Maribor as they took part in their first ever UEFA Youth League.

Sporting had the better of the game through out and took the lead through a penalty converted by José Postiga.

José Lima’s youngsters found it difficult to make further headway until an exciting end to the game.

José Correia doubled Sporting’s advantage on the 76th minute but that didn’t last long at all when Nik Lorbek pulled one back for the home side.

That made it a very nervy finish for Sporting but Luís Elói managed to make the game certain in stoppage time to provide an excellent start Sporting’s UEFA Youth League campaign.

SPORTING U19 XI: Vladimir Stojković; Gonçalo Araújo, Bruno Wilson, Ivanildo Fernandes, João Serrano; Bubacar Djaló (Rafael Benevides, 65′), Diogo Barbosa (YC) (Rúben Varela, 73′); Lisandro Semedo (YC) (Arilton Ebó), José Correia (YC) (Scored, 76′), Luís Elói (Scored, 90+2′); José Postiga (Scored, 30′)
Substituted Not Used: Pedro Silva, Hugo Meira, Felício Quiaque, Heriberto Tavares

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”.

News Round-Up 02/07: Sporting Sign Ryan Gauld

Sporting have completed the surprising signing of Dundee United Ryan Gauld for a fee of approximately €3,750,000. The announcement was made on the night of Sporting’s 108th birthday with Gauld signing a 6-year contract with a release fee clause of €60m.

18-year old Gauld, who was been nicknamed “Mini-Messi”, had been linked with a whole host of clubs after breaking through into the Dundee United team including Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Last season Gauld scores 7 goals in 37 games for the Dundee club.

At last night’s birthday gala Sporting (I Gala Honoris Sporting) presented its own awards here are the nominations and results from the football-related categories:

Youth Team of the Year was won by the U16 Juvenis B. They beat out competition from U17 Juvenis A, U16 Iniciados A, and U14 Incidiados B.

Best Academia Sporting football school was won by (Escolas Acadmeia Sporting Club Internacional de Foot-Ball) EAS CIF ahead of EAS Carnide, EAS Póvoa de Santa Iria and EAS Toronto.

Revelation of the Year went to, unsurprisingly, William Carvalho. Almost nominated were Carlos Mané, Cédric Soares, and João Mário.

William Carvalho of course one Footballer of the Year with Adrien Silva, Fredy Montero and Marcos Rojo also in contention.

And finally, Coach of the Year was won by Leonardo Jardim, beating out youth coach José Lima, U16 coach Pedro Gonçalves and U14 coach Tiago Fernandes.

Also presented last night were the club’s new kits for the upcoming season. After Sporting’s deal with Puma expired Macron are now manufacturing the kits. The goalkeeper’s shirt can be second second from left and the away and home kits fifth and sixth in the row.

Elsewhere defender Maurício admitted he would consider a call up to the Portugal national team should he not be called up by Brazil. Although with Paulo Bento’s well known dislike of “naturalised” players this option seems unlikely.

Result: SPORTING 1-0 Vitória de Guimarães

Sporting came out on top in a hard fought win against Vitória de Guimarães thanks to Marcos Rojo’s second half goal.

The game came one year after Bruno de Carvalho was elected Sporting president. The occasion saw the Sporting players don the names of sócios on the back of the shirts.

Leonardo Jardim elected to keep Carlos Mané in the team ahead of André Martins as Martins returned from injury. Elsewhere Héldon Ramos and Diego Capel supported Islam Slimani up front.

Sporting had the better of the first half but failed to create much in the way of clear goal scoring opportunities with the visitors defending well. Islam Slimani though was causing plenty of trouble for the Guimarães defence.

The game was more open in the second half and it wasn’t long until Sporting had the lead.

Marcos Rojo pounced on a cleared ball to see his deflected shot go past goalkeeper Douglas in the 48th minute.

Sporting scored a second goal only for it to be wrongly disallowed by the officials. A superb ball by Jefferson found Fredy Montero at the far post who slotted home.

Fortunately, despite late Guimarães pressure that decision did not prove to be costly for Sporting and they passed a tough test at the Alvalade to keep the pressure on Benfica and stay clear of Porto.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Maurício, Marcos Rojo (YC) (Scored, 48′), Jefferson; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva (YC), Carlos Mané (André Martins, 81′); Héldon Ramos (Fredy Montero, 46′), Diego Capel, Islam Slimani (YC) (André Carrillo, 74′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Eric Dier, Vítor Silva, Wilson Eduardo

Squad for the Braga Game

There’s a few interesting selections in Leonardo Jardim’s squad for Saturday night’s league game against Braga.

With the suspensions of ever-present Adrien Silva and Fredy Montero, Leonardo Jardim has elected not to bring in a striker from the B-team and Wallyson Mallmann makes his first appearance in a Sporting squad.

The 20-year Brazilian midfielder is unlikely to start ahead of Vítor Silva, Gérson Magrão, or Eric Dier but could feature from the bench to make his full debut.

Islam Slimani is the only out-and-out striker in the squad, in what is a big opportunity for him to become the club’s first choice striker. Wilson Eduardo and Carlos Mané however can both play the second striker role.

The full list:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, William Carvalho
Defenders: Maurício, Marcos Rojo, Cédric Soares, Jefferson, Eric Dier, Iván Piris
Midfielders: André Martins, William Carvalho, Vítor Silva, Gérson Magrão, Wallyson Mallmann
Forwards: Islam Slimani, Carlos Mané, Wilson Eduardo, Héldon Ramos, Diego Capel, André Carrillo, Diego Capel