Leões/Lions Awards 2017

As always, another year where I don’t actually post anything but I do do this.

It’s been a difficult year for Sporting with a season that ended too early and a transfer policy that reeked of prime Godinho Lopes. However, the were some bright spots and some reason for optimism for next year.

Goal of the Season: Gelson Martins vs. Paços de Ferreira (Link) – After collecting a lovely through ball, Gelson Martins flicks the ball over toe goalkeeper before slotting into an empty net. It was this kind of creative play that made Gelson one of the bright spots on the season.
Runners Up: 2. Bruno César vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link), Alan Ruiz vs. Porto (Link)
Bonus: Gelson Martins vs. Porto (Link), Bas Dost vs. Boavista (Link), Elias vs. Vitória de Guimarães (Link), Bas Dost vs. Estoril (Link)
2016: João Mário vs. Vitória de Setúbal (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: Luc Castaignos – It’s been a difficult choice to pick just one player out to be the worst. You have Elias, Lazar Markovic, Marcelo Meli, André, Joel Campbell and Radosav Petrović. There can be a case made for each of those players. However, Luc Castaignos is the only one of those players who made it past January, and I can only assume that is because no other club wanted to take him of our hands. The once promising Dutch forward had an excellent chance to reignite his career in Portugal but could barely even get into a scoring position when given the chance. On the rare times he did get into a good position for a chance it inevitably went high and wide. A total dud.
Runners Up: 2. Lazar Markovic (Possibly an undercover agent), 3. Elias (It was worth a try)
2016: 1. Hernán Barcos, 2. Michaël Ciani, 3. Bruno Paulista
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

Best Signing of the Season: Bas Dost – It was always going to be tough to fill in for the departing Islam Slimani. Bas Dost came in form an average season in Germany with Wolfsburg but was quick to settle in to life in Portugal. Under Jorge Jesus his link up play has improved greatly as the season progressed. His aerial presence and strikers instinct are what was helped him racked up the goals all season long. Currently, he’s looking even better after forming an exciting and mildly amusing Arnie / DeVito tribute act. If he can replicate this form next season it will be something.
Runners Up: 2. Beto (A superb backup to Rui Patrício), 2. Gelson Dala (A very exciting prospect)
2016: 1. Jorge Jesus, 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

Next is a new award I have just made up. This season whilst some trash signings were taking up spaces there were improvements waiting for game time.

Most Under-utilised Player: Paulo Oliveira – Although Sebastián Coates was solid all season, Rúben Semedo was hot and cold. When he was good, he was excellent however when he was poor he was a massive liability. Paulo Oliveira however has always been an assured player and perhaps suffers from his relative lack of size and strength in comparison to Semedo, something Jorge Jesus seems to value in his centre-backs. He’s an intelligent defender and it would be a shame for him to leave in summer whilst pursing game time, especially after the signing of André Pinto from Braga.
Runners Up: 2. Ricardo Esgaio (Out of position at left back, he was still better than Jefferson and Marvin), 3. Matheus Pereira (When he played he was better than all our other wingers except Gelson)
Bonus Answer: Ryan Gauld

U23 Player of the Season: Gelson Martins – When times have been tough this season there has always been something to admire in watching Gelson Martins play. His game is natural which can mean he occasionally does something that looks stupid, however, it also means he can do outrageous pieces of skill and become our most powerful creative force. Hopefully Gelson (rumoured with every big club) sticks around for at least one more season to really develop further as a player.
Runners Up: 2. Daniel Podence, 3. Matheus Pereira
2016: 1. João Mário, 2. Gelson Martins, 3. Carlos Mané
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: Gelson Dala – Yes, he only arrived in January but when he came Sporting B were struggling in a relegation scrap and it looked like perhaps the first team would all have to chip in to prevent a disaster. However, with the arrival of Gelson Dala there seemed to be a player who was a level ahead of everyone else. It was no surprise he was pushing for the first team by the end of the season after his fantastic goal scoring record and eye-catching performances.
Runners Up: 2. Leonardo Ruiz, 3. Ivanildo Fernandes
2016: 1. Daniel Podence, 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

Player of the Season: Bas Dost – As stated above, what a signing Bas Dost has been. He was even chasing Lionel Messi for the Golden Boot, no mean feat.
Runners Up: 2. Gelson Martins (Excellent creative output), 3. Sebastián Coates (Solid all season long)
2016: 1. Islam Slimani, 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

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

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 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.

Leões/Lions Awards 2015

We’re back, after many months of not posting to deliver a belated end of season awards post. I can’t even get into Jorge Jesus, Cédric Soares or any possible future transfers just yet, but hey, here we go.

Goal of the Season: Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link) – It was good enough to bring Nani to tears after scoring it, an absolutely brilliant half-volley. The set up was easy enough, a simple throw-in from Miguel Lopes, but Nani’s header set up and the winger waited for the perfect moment to unleash an unstoppable shot. Wonderful.
Runners-up: Nani vs. Schalke (Link), Junya Tanaka vs. Braga (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Marítimo (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Braga (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Estoril (Link)
Bonus: Nani vs. Maribor (Link), Islam Slimani vs. Penafiel (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Paços de Ferreira (Link), Adrien Silva vs. Gil Vicente (Link), Nani vs. Gil Vicente (Link), Fredy Montero vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Link)
Hilarity Bonus: Islam Slimani vs. Benfica (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: I’m not sure why I created this award, probably because a few years ago there were so many terrible signings that it was difficult to pick just one. This time I will go with Simeon Slavchev, despite the €2,500,000 price tag the Bulgarian seemed unable to settle in Portugal, not looking close to breaking in the first team. He had plenty of competition of course, but looked one dimensional when he was called up and was sent on loan to Bolton Wanderers. May well improve next season.
Runners-up: Naby Sarr (a few blunders but still developing), Ramy Rabia (ditto)
2014: Gérson Magrão
2013: Khalid Boulahrouz
2012: Valeri Bojinov

Best Signing of the Season: Paulo Oliveira – It seems Sporting finally got the defender we deserve. The classy centre-back initially couldn’t get into Marco Silva’s team ahead of Naby Sarr and Maurício for some unknown reason. However, he soon cemented his spot in the team and created solid partnerships with Tobias Figueiredo and later Ewerton. At just 23-years old the transfer marks a solid investment for the future.
Runners-up: Nani (no wages? Brilliant!), Ewerton (another loan deal, fit in perfectly)
2014: Leonardo Jardim
2013: Fabrice Fokobo
2012: Stijn Schaars

U23 Player of the Season: Paulo Oliveira – As stated above, Paulo Oliveira is a classy addition in the squad. Set to have a great future for Sporting and Portugal.
Runners-up: João Mário, Carlos Mané
2014: William Carvalho
2013: André Martins
2012: Ricky van Wolfswinkel

B-Team Player of the Season: Wallyson Mallmann – The combative Brazilian midfielder’s breakout year. Ever present in the B team as well as featuring at the fringe of the first team. Wallyson will hope to try and break into the first team next season.
Runners-up: Gelson Martins, Ryan Gauld
2014: Ricardo Esgaio
2013: Ricardo Esgaio

Player of the Season: André Carrillo – The arrival of Nani seems to have brought out the best in André Carrillo, who’s similarity in style to the Portugal winger is evident. The Peruvian was the best he has ever been this year, contributing with goals and plenty of assists. A new contract for Carrillo is surely one of Bruno de Carvalho’s priorities in the summer.
Runners-up: Nani, Adrien Silva
2014: William Carvalho
2013: Rui Patrício
2012: Rui Patrício

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

Transfer Round-Up 2014: Arrivals

So, we already reviewed the departures but here we go with this years summer signings. Starting with our new coach…

Marco Silva from Estoril (Free): When the news broke that Marco Silva would not be renewing his contract with Estoril rumours had him being linked with all the big clubs. Then, when the rumours started that Leonardo Jardim was heading to Monaco things made a lot more sense. It’s a tough job for Marco Silva having only previously managed Estoril although he’s done some incredible things for them in that time. Sporting is certainly a different prospect. Still, we will see how it goes – so far signs are positive.

Simeon Slavchev from Litex Lovech (Undisclosed): The battling midfielder hasn’t played too much football for Sporting thus far. A few knocks disrupted his pre-season but at just 20-years old there’s plenty of time for him to improve and adapt to Portuguese football.

Paulo Oliveira from Vitória de Guimarães (Undisclosed): It was almost certain Marcos Rojo was going to leave the club this summer and so Sporting made sure to sign a new centre-back as soon as possible. Oliveira impressed during his time at Guimarães but now needs to establish himself in the first team as so far Marco Silva seems to prefer Naby Sarr.

Oriol Rosell from Sporting Kansas City (Undisclosed): The former Barcelona youth player seems to have settled in well already and has been promising so far. Signed as a back-up to William Carvalho with possibly a view to replacing him when the inevitable big money for him arrives.

Jorge Santos from Padroense (Undisclosed): A signing for the B-team, the 21-year old forward was once part of Porto’s youth set up but left to join minnows Padroense. Still, he clearly did enough to impress there and will have a rather large step up to adapt to.

André Geraldes from İstanbul Başakşehir (€600,000): Signed as the new back-up to Cédric Soares after a solid time spent last season at Belenenses. Geraldes though has plenty of competition to get into the team with the recently instated Miguel Lopes and the very promising Ricardo Esgaio coming through the youth system. It could be a tough season for Geraldes.

Junya Tanaka from Kashiwa Reysol (€750,000): Had an excellent pre-season in which he scored plenty of goals although will now find it difficult to get ahead of Islam Slimani and Fredy Montero. So far, signs are promising – his attempt that hit the post in the final minute against Arouca was the one that lead the Carlos Mané’s winner. So far, a promising singing.

Ryan Gauld from Dundee United (€3,750,000): Sporting’s biggest investment in this transfer window is Scotland’s “mini-Messi”. So far Gauld has been put in the B team to help him adapt to life in Portugal but already he is impressing and it shouldn’t be too long before he breaks through to the first team but at just 18-years old he still has plenty of time on his side – a very exciting prospect!

Naby Sarr from Lyon (€1,300,000): There was some pessimism after hearing some negative comments from French football fans after Sporting completed the signing of Naby Sarr. The giant centre-defender so far has been very solid in alongside Maurício in defence and seems to have won Marco Silva’s early trust over Paulo Oliveira. Sarr is just 21-years old so there is plenty of time for him to mature and settle down.

Ramy Rabia from Al-Ahly (€750,000): It took a long, long time for Sporting to complete the signing of Ramy Rabia this summer but eventually they got their man. The 21-year old can play at centre-back or defensive midfield but has so far been playing alongside Tobias Figueiredo in the B team. He’s looked very promising in his first few games although has recently picked up an injury. Another player with bags of potential.

Jonathan Silva from Estudiantes de La Plata (€2,800,000): Signed as competition for Jefferson at left-back with a big price too. Silva only turned 20 in June so he’s another promising youngster. The Argentinian made a fantastic debut for the B team with a fantastic goal and it shouldn’t be too long until he gets his first team shot.

Nani from Manchester United (Loan): Bruno de Carvalho’s coup of the transfer window was the arrival of Nani on loan from Manchester United as part of the Marcos Rojo sale. Not only could the returning Nani could hugely improve the side once he regains his match sharpness – Sporting won’t be paying any of his wages. We’ll forget that his second debut began with him missing a penalty – there’s definitely more to come.

Hadi Sacko from Girondins de Bordeaux (€1,4000,000): Another signing based on potential is the forward Hadi Sacko. Sacko spent the beginning of 2014 on loan at Le Havre and will be beginning his Sporting career with the B team. At just 20-years old there’s plenty of time for the France U20 international to improve and break into the first team.

Estimated Transfer Spending (€14,350,000– Estimated Transfer Income (€23,000,000): +€8,650,000

In all it’s a very promising window for Sporting with plenty of young talent brought into the club that can be nurtured and improved. The oldest signings being Tanaka and Nani both at 27 but the average of the signing was 21.8 years old (23 if for some reason you wanted to include Marco Silva) it shows the obvious transfer policy of the club.

The club spending well within their means and making sure the new players have plenty of future resale value only bodes well for the club.

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”.

Week Round-Up 29/08

It’s been a very busy week for Sportinguistas. There was the Champions League draw, a new signing, Sporting B won and the international call ups. Here’s a round up of the week…

First there were Paulo Bento’s Portugal call-ups. Rui Patrício, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho and Nani all made it into the squad. Cédric Soares presumably missing out through injury. Portugal will be hosting Albania in a European qualifying game.

Rui Jorge’s U21 side named 5 Sporting players for their games against Norway and Azerbaijan. Paulo Oliveira, Ricardo Esgaio, João Mário, Iuri Medeiros and Carlos Mané all feature.

Elsewhere Simeon Slavchev has been called up to Bulgaria, André Carrillo to Peru, Junya Tanaka to Japan, Islam Slimani to Algeria, Héldon Ramos to Cape Verde, Ramy Rabia and Shikabala to Egypt, and Ryan Gauld has been called up to Scotland U21s.

Following up on Cédric Soares, A Bola reports that Sporting expect him to return in time to face Belenenses.

Thursday saw the draw for the Champions League. Sporting’s first participation in the tournament since 2008/2009. Sporting have been drawn along side Chelsea, Schalke 04 and Maribor.

Sporting’s fixtures are as follows:

17th September: vs. Maribor (A)
30th September: vs. Chelsea (H)
21st October: vs. Schalke 04 (A)
5th November: vs. Schale 04 (H)
25th November: vs. Maribor (H)
10th December: vs. Chelsea (A)

The draw also affects Sporting’s U19 side who will face the same teams in their UEFA Youth League draw. Coach José Lima describing it is a “very difficult” group.

Also on Thursday Sporting announced the signing of another forward. 20-year old Frenchman Hadi Sacko has joined from Girondins de Bordeaux after having spent 2014 on loan at Le Havre. The fee for the player is believed to be €1,400,000.

Sacko has signed a 6-year contract with a €60,000,000 release clause.

Elsewhere there was the departure of Hugo Sousa from the B team. The 22-year old defender was released from his contract and has joined Belgian side Waasland-Beveren for 3 years.

Finally, on Tuesday Sporting B moved up to second place in the Segunda Liga with a 3-0 win over Desportivo das Aves. Francisco Barão started with a strong team as Simeon Slavchev, Ramy Rabia and Jonathan Silva all made their B team debuts. Sporting B were also without the suspended Ousmane Dramé leaving the starting line-up with no recognised striker.

It was the Argentine left-back who started the scoring with a beautifully hit strike in the 30th minute leaving Quim with no hope of saving.

Sporting B doubled their league in the 63rd minute when Mica Pinto, playing on the right-side of midfield, pulled the ball back for Ryan Gauld. The Scot’s shot was deflected before going in.

The impressive Ramy Rabia helped with the 3rd goal. His 84th minute shot after a Iuri Medeiros freekick was well saved but the ball bounced to substitute Lewis Enoh to secure the win for Sporting B.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Mauro Riquicho, Ramy Rabia (YC), Tobias Figueiredo (YC), Jonathan Silva (Scored, 30′); Fabrice Fokobo, Wallyson Mallmann, Simeon Slavchev (Iuri Medeiros, 65′); Ryan Gauld (Scored, 63′); Mica Pinto (YC) (Gelson Martins, 70′), Daniel Podence (Lewis Enoh, 79′, Scored, 84′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Sambinha, João Palhinha, Jorge Santos

Weekend Round-Up: Draw against Académica, Sporting B win, Marcos Rojo Speaks

It was a busy weekend for Sporting fans with the first team finally returning to action, albeit in disappointing circumstances.

Sporting we’re 1-0 up until the 90th minute before Rafael Lopes equalised for Académica. Sporting were not helped by William Carvalho who was sent off midway through the second half.

Marco Silva’s line-up was not far away from what would be considered Sporting’s “strongest” XI albeit with Naby Sarr making his debut replacing the suspended Macros Rojo. Fredy Montero also started ahead of the suspended Islam Slimani.

Sporting started off well and found their goal in the 15th minute when Jefferson floated in a fantastic cross that found the head of André Carrillo. The Peruvian winger headed down onto the post and into the net.

There were concerns for Sporting near the end of the half when Cédric Soares took a knock. The right-back managed to play on until half-time but was then replaced by another debutant, Oriol Rosell playing out of position at right-back. Marco Silva did have Ricardo Esgaio in his squad for the trip to Coimbra but not on the substitutes bench.

Sporting looked fairly comfortable until the 66th minute when William Carvalho received his second yellow card. The midfielder had looked out of sorts through out most of the game with an alarming amount of his passes going astray.

Marco Silva gave a debut to Paulo Oliveira not long after to try and sure up Sporting’s defence but they could only hold out until the 90th minute when Rafael Lopes struck well to earn Académica a point.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares (Oriol Rosell, 45′), Maurício, Naby Sarr, Jefferson; William Carvalho (YC, RC), Adrien Silva, André Martins (Paulo Oliveira, 72′); André Carrillo, Héldon Ramos (Diego Capel, 62′), Fredy Montero
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, João Mário, Carlos Mané, Junya Tanaka

Sporting B however faired better with their game as they won 3-1 at home to Santa Clara.

Francisco Barão was without Rúben Semedo who was suspended for an altercation with Lewis Enoh last week.

It was the Cameroonian Enoh who opened the scoring when he finished a cross from Ricardo Esgaio.

Sporting were caught out for Santa Clara’s equaliser as a short corner found the defence flat-footed only for Materazzi to find himself in acres of space to make it 1-1 at half-time.

The B team improved greatly after the break and looked far more threatening than they did during the first half. Despite that though they found it difficult to break through the Santa Clara defence.

It looked like the B team were set to copy the first team’s scoreline until just 5 minutes before the end when Tobias Figueiredo headed home. The lead was doubled just minutes later this time by substitute Filipe Chaby.

SPORTING B XI: Luís Ribeiro; Ricardo Esgaio, Sambinha (YC), Tobias Figueiredo (Scored, 85′), Mica Pinto; Fabrice Fokobo (Mauro Riquicho, 59′), Wallyson Mallmann, Ryan Gauld (Filipe Chaby, 83′, Scored, 90+3′); Daniel Podence (Iuri Medeiros, 62′, YC), Ousmane Dramé, Lewis Enoh (Scored, 18′)
Substitutes Not Used: Guilherme Oliveira, Domingos Duarte, João Palhinha, Jorge Santos

Marcos Rojo appeared on Sporting TV and apologised for his recent conduct that led to his suspension. The Argentine defender failed to turn up to training leading to a huge bust up between the club and Doyen Sports.

Rojo said “I’m sorry for what happened because I feel that I was unprofessional. Now I will try to correct the situation.”

The defender also denied a rumoured physical confrontation between himself and Bruno de Carvalho.

“Tomorrow I return to work with the squad, with my companions, and this is the most important and what we really like to do.”

Rojo did not rule out an eventual transfer away but stated he would like such a deal to be beneficial for both himself and the club. “But let me make it clear that I am very happy at the club, I love the way they treat me.”