Player Ratings: Rio Ave vs. SPORTING

Well, instead of (maybe) writing a match report after last night’s shambles against Rio Ave, I thought it would work out better to give ratings to the players instead of telling you everything you already saw. So, here we go:

Rui Patrício – 6: Couldn’t do anything about any of the goals and made plenty of good saves in between.

Ezequiel Schelotto – 3: Looked very shaky defensively and wasn’t much of a threat going forward.

Sebastián Coates – 5: He seemed very out of sorts after ordinarily being assured at the bank since he arrived.

Rúben Semedo – 6: Probably the best player on the pitch for Sporting. Made some crucial interceptions and his pace and strength were evident throughout.

Bruno César – 0: After playing so well and scoring against Real Madrid, this is probably Bruno César’s worst performance in a Sporting shirt. Jorge Jesus’ experiment with him at left-back is head scratcher when Jefferson is such a superior replacement.

William Carvalho – 5: Some good moments but generally a poor overall performance from William.

Adrien Silva – 6: As always, he gave 100%. He created more chances in centre midfielder than most of our strikers.

Gelson Martins – 4: Back to earth for Gelson Martins after his stella performance in Madrid. Perhaps the reports in the press comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo and Luís Figo went to his head. He did however set up the goal and took a whack to the head by the goal post in the process.

Joel Campbell – 2: Looked lost on the pitch and couldn’t get involved. On the left he offered little support for Bruno César.

Alan Ruiz – 3: Couldn’t influence the game at all, had a few bright spots but was most anonymous.

André – 2: If Alan Ruiz was mostly anonymous then André was definitely anonymous. Didn’t do anything the entire game.

Substitutes:

Bryan Ruiz – 5: Certainly a big improvement when he came on and he was a far more creative than any of the other attackers in the first half. His cross helped set up Sporting’s goal.

Bas Dost – 6: 2 goals in 2 games is a great start for Bas Dost. He had a few other decent chances and looked the part up front.

Lazar Marković – 4: Couldn’t put his stamp on the game and was booked at the end for diving to try and win a penalty. That only works at Benfica, Lazar.

Jorge Jesus – 3: After the usual egotistical comments in the press, it was a dramatic slice of humble pie for Jesus. Clearly made a mistake in his initial team selection and the Bruno César at left-back experiment is still worrying.

João Pinheiro – 5: It was generally an easy game to referee but João Pinheiro still got a lot of calls in the middle of the park wrong. However, the bigger calls, (e.g. Marković’s dive) were correct.

Sporting Squad to Face Real Madrid

Sporting’s squad that travels to Spain to face Cristiano Ronaldo and friends tomorrow has been announced.

The Champions League allows for bigger squads than the Primeira Liga so it’s no surprise to see players like Vladimir Stojković make the cut.

Here’s the full squad:

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Beto, Vladimir Stojković
Defenders: João Pereira, Ezequiel Schelotto, Ricardo Esgaio, Rúben Semedo, Sebastián Coates, Paulo Oliveira, Douglas Teixeira, Marvin Zeegelaar, Jefferson
Midfielders: William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Bruno César, Elias, Radosav Petrović, Marcelo Meli, Bruno Paulista
Forwards: Lazar Marković, Bryan Ruiz, Gelson Martins, Matheus Pereira, Alan Ruiz, André, Bas Dost, Joel Campbell, Luc Castaignos

SPORTING 3-0 Moreirense

Sporting retained top spot of the Primeira Liga with a comfortable 3-0 win of Moreirense. The visitors were proving difficult opponents until Ângelo Neto stupidly got himself sent off in the first half which made it plain sailing for Sporting.

Jorge Jesus was without the departed Islam Slimani so Bas Dost made his debut in place of the Algerian. Bruno César dropped down to left-back and Joel Campbell made his first start. Alan Ruiz started ahead of Bryan Ruiz whilst new signings Elias, André, and Lazar Marković were on the bench.

Initially Sporting it found it difficult to find time on the ball against Moreirense Pepa’s team pressed high up the pitch and caused Sporting problems with their pace.

Sporting did find a goal though after 27 minutes. William Carvalho’s looped pass found Gelson Martins in the area. The winger, fresh off scoring against Porto, made no mistake here against Giorgi Makaridze.

Moreirense shot themselves in the foot when Ângelo Neto received his second yellow card after just 34 minutes. His first had been for wearing his wedding ring and this one was for a studs up challenge on William Carvalho.

After that the game was all Sporting, especially in the second half when Sporting’s attack flowed more than in the first.

Sporting got the 2nd goal after 52 minutes when Alan Ruiz found the head of Joel Campbell. The Costa Rican made no mistake from close range to continue his eye catching start to life in Portugal.

The third goal came through Bas Dost who needed to goes at it but the Dutch man opened his account.

Sporting breezed through the rest of the match in which Jorge Jesus gave debuts (and re-debuts) to Lazar Marković, André and Elias.

Having the job finished early was important for Sporting with facing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ezequiel Schelotto, Sebastián Coates, Rúben Semedo, Bruno César; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva (Elias, 67′); Gelson Martins (Lazar Marković, 60′), Joel Campbell; Alan Ruiz (André, 78′), Bas Dost
Substitutes Not Used: Beto, Paulo Oliveira, Jefferson, Bryan Ruiz

Champions League Squad Announced

The squad for Sporting’s Champions League campaign has been announced. UEFA has yet to publish the “B” list, meaning some youth team players like Matheus Pereira and Gelson Martins don’t feature but that should follow shortly.

All of the new signings feature, the only missing name from the first team squad proper is goalkeeper Ažbe Jug.

Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício, Beto, Vladimir Stojković*, Luís Maximiano*, Pedro Silva*
Defenders: Ezequiel Schelotto, Jefferson, Sebastián Coates, Paulo Oliveira, Douglas Teixeira, João Pereira, Rúben Semedo, Ricardo Esgaio, Marvin Zeegelaar, Pedro Empis*, Mauro Riquicho*, Ivanildo Fernandes*, Guilherme Ramos*, Abdu Conté*, Gonçalo Vieira*, Jefferson Encada*
Midfielders: Radosav Petrović, Bruno César, William Carvalho, Elias, Adrien Silva, Marcelo Meli, Bruno Paulista, Alan Ruiz, Bubacar Djaló*, Gelson Martins*, Bruno Paz*, Pedro Ferreira*, Fábio Martins*
Forwards: Lazar Marković, Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz, André, Luc Castaignos, Bas Dost, Luís Eloi*, Matheus Pereira*

*B list

Edited 13/9 to include to include the B squad.

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

Sporting Sign Joel Campbell on Loan

As expected, Sporting have completed the transfer of Joel Campbell on loan from Arsenal.

Campbell said this at his presentation: “I am here to win the league! I want to pay back the confidence people have shown in me. Of course I spoke with Bryan Ruiz, who told me a lot of good things about the club, but it was the support of the president and coach that made me take this decision. I will work as hard as I can and results will speak for themselves. I know what I can do and I hope everything goes well here.”

There was no word on whether, as speculated in the press, there is an option for Sporting to buy the player at the end of the loan agreement.

Campbell could make his debut for Sporting on Sunday against FC Porto.

Transfer Rumours – Joel Campbell, Pedro Delgado, João Mário

The latest transfer rumours begin with the seemingly imminent signing of Joel Campbell on loan for Arsenal. Sport TV had initially reported that Campbell was watching the Paços de Ferreira game but then changed their minds.

It is believed, however, that he will be announced shortly as a Sporting player with Sporting also having an option to purchase the player at the end of his loan.

Most people believed Pedro Delgado, Internazionale’s 19-year old Portuguese midfielder, was on his way to Benfica. However, rumours are that he is now on his way to Sporting after having at the last minute upped his wages and fees from Benfica. Of course, if Inter want to do a deal with Sporting it would be beneficial for them now to want to sell a promising Portuguese prospect who once spent a few years at Sporting’s academy to the club’s rivals.

There is the alternative that Delgado’s representatives are using Sporting to help Benfica increase their offer for the player.

Most likely, the player if Sporting do sign Delgado, the player will be a part of João Mário’s transfer. Which, after the midfielder was excluded from Jorge Jesus’ squad for the Paços de Ferreira game, seems ever more imminent .

Of course, this one has been rumbling along all summer, so it was no surprise that Jorge Jesus said after the win against Paços that if João Mário is still at the club on Sunday he will play against Porto.