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 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

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

Paços de Ferreira 0-1 SPORTING

Sporting picked up all 3 points in a hard fought contest against Paços de Ferreira with Adrien Silva getting the winner just before half-time.

Jorge Jesus was without João Mário, with the midfielder presumably even closer to Internazionale, so Gelson Martins started in his position. Islam Slimani also returned to the starting line-up and Bruno César began at left-back.

It was an even game with Sporting the having the better of the first half but finding it difficult to break down Paços de Ferreira.

The goal came just before half-time when Islam Slimani did excellently well to recover what looked like a lost cause with a perfect tackle. The Algerian passed out wide to Bruno César, whose cross found Gelson Martins. The winger headed down centrally to Adrien Silva who showed excellent technique to finish past Rafael Defendi.

Carlos Pinto’s men improved after the break but Sporting had chances to win the game as well.

Perhaps the best chance of the second half for Sporting was when Gelson Martins put in a fantastic cross from the left-hand side and Islam Slimani was just centimetres away converting.

In the end, Sporting will be happy with a hard fought 3 points on a difficult pitch. Sporting can now focus on next Sunday’s match against FC Porto.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Rubén Semedo, Sebastián Coates, Bruno César; William Carvalho (YC), Adrien Silva (Scored, 45′), Gelson Martins (Carlos Mané, 80′); Bryan Ruiz (Bruno Paulista, 90′), Alan Ruiz (Marvin Zeegalaar, 66′), Islam Slimani
Substitutes Not Used: Beto, Ezequiel Schelotto, Paulo Oliveira, Matheus Pereira

SPORTING 2-0 Marítimo

Sporting got off to a winning start in the 2016/2017 Primeira Liga with a convincing 2-0 victory over Marítimo with Sebastián Coates and Bryan Ruiz getting the goals in front of an atmospheric Alvalade.

Jorge Jesus was without the suspended Islam Slimani so Alan Ruiz debuted up front, besides that it was a familiar looking Sporting side. João Mário, despite ever increasing speculation of his move to Internazionale, started in midfield. Hernán Barcos was also on the bench before his loan move to Argentina.

Sporting started the better of the two teams but the first highlight of the match was Rui Patrício making another fantastic save. Marítimo’s Gevaro set up Babá Diawara from close range but Patrício denied what as to be a certain goal from close range.

Sebastián Coates scored the first goal for Sporting this season when João Mário’s corner found the Uruguayan towering to head past Eduardo Gottardi.

Jesus made one change at half-time bringing on Bruno César for Jefferson.

The second goal came in the 61st minute when Gelson Martins did well to cross low for Bryan Ruiz to tap in from close range.

Late in the second-half João Mário was replaced by Bruno Paulista, the Brazilian’s first appearance for the first team since November. The reception from the Alvalade for the European champion João Mário however does reinforce the idea he will soon be leaving.

It was an in all impressive, if comfortable, start to the season and Sporting will certainly be glad to put the poor pre-season behind them now.

Next up is a journey to Paços de Ferreira on the 18th August, Paços drew their first game of the season 1-1 with Moreirense.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Rubén Semedo, Sebastián Coates (Scored, 21′), Jefferson (Bruno César, 46′); William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, João Mário (Bruno Paulista, 90′), Gelson Martins (Ezequiel Schelotto, 84′); Bryan Ruiz (Scored, 61′), Alan Ruiz (YC)
Substitutes Not Used: Beto, Naldo, Matheus Pereira, Hernán Barcos

Primeira Liga Fixtures Announced

The Primeira Liga fixtures for the 2016/2017 season have been announced. Sporting’s begin the season at the Alvalade hosting Marítimo with the first big game of the season at home to Porto 2 weeks later. The season ends at home to Chaves.

Here’s the full list:

August:
vs. Marítimo (Home)
vs. Paços de Ferreira (Away)
vs. FC Porto (Home)
September:
vs. Moreirense (Home)
vs. Rio Ave (Away)
vs. Estoril (Home)
October:
vs. Vitória de Guimarães (Away)
vs. Tondela (Home)
vs. Nacional (Away)
November:
vs. Arouca (Home)
vs. Boavista (Away)
December:
vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Home)
vs. Benfica (Away)
vs. Braga (Home)
vs. Belenenses (Away)
January:
vs. Feirense (Home)
vs. Chaves (Away)
vs. Marítimo (Away)
vs. Paços de Ferreira (Home)
February:
vs. FC Porto (Away)
vs. Moreirense (Away)
vs. Rio Ave (Home)
vs. Estoril (Away)
March:
vs. Vitória de Guimarães (Home)
vs. Tondela (Away)
vs. Nacional (Home)
April:
vs. Arouca (Away)
vs. Boavista (Home)
vs. Vitória de Setúbal (Away)
vs. Benfica (Home)
vs. Braga (Away)
May:
vs. Belenenses (Home)
vs. Feirense (Away)
vs. Chaves

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

Rio Ave 1-2 SPORTING

Sporting earned  a hard-fought win against a resilient Rio Ave with goals coming from an Adrien Silva penalty and an Islam Slimani header.

Jorge Jesus picked Ricardo Esgaio ahead of João Pereira as well as giving a start to Alberto Aquilani over João Mário.

Sporting got the lead early on when Adrien Silva cooly placed a penalty after a Rio Ave handball. The midfielder will be happy to get the finish after his recent penalty miss.

Sporting’s second goal also came from some poor play from Rio Ave. This time they were unable to clear their lines which allowed Sporting to win the ball high up the pitch. A cross deflected off André Vilas Boas allowing Islam Slimani to head into an empty net.

The home side improved drastically after the break as Sporting seemed to lose some of their dynamic play. Indeed, the likes of André Carrillo, who has been so good so far this season, looked tired after the international break.

It wasn’t much of surprise when Rio Ave did pull one goal back, the Porto loanee Kayembe’s cross found Yazalde to head home after 69 minutes.

Fortunately despite Rio Ave pulling a goal back they looked unable to find another and Sporting grabbed an important win ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo (YC), Jefferson; Adrien Silva (Scored, 10′), Alberto Aquilani; André Carrillo (YC) (João Pereira, 90′), Bryan Ruiz (João Mário, 60′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (YC) (Carlos Mané, 77′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 39′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tobias Figueiredo, Gelson Martins, Fredy Montero

Académica 1-3 SPORTING

Sporting won 3-1 in Coimbra despite more misgivings about refereeing performances. Sporting had 2 penalties but still had plenty to complain about with referee Bruno Esteves resulting in Jorge Jesus being sent to the stands.

After the dismal scenes in Moscow during the week Jorge Jesus brought Jefferson back into left back and Carlos Mané started ahead of Bryan Ruiz. Ricardo Esgaio started ahead of the suspended João Pereira.

Mané paid the faith back almost immediately calmly slotting past Brazilian goalkeeper Lee after just 6 minutes gone on the clock.

Sporting were completely dominant in the match and got their second goal 18 minutes later when André Carrillo found Islam Slimani in plenty of space. The Algerian beautifully chipped Lee with his left foot to double Sporting’s lead.

The controversy began later when Bruno Esteves judged Adrien Silva’s tackle of Leandro Silva to be a penalty, though if it was one it was incredibly soft. Rabiola coverted the penalty emphatically, smashing it into the top left-hand corner with Rui Patrício unable to do anything about it.

A far more controversial moment for Esteves came later when Islam Slimani wasn’t awarded a penalty after he was brought down by João Real just before the interval. It was an obvious penalty, despite João Real initially getting a touch to the ball his trailing leg took out the striker who would have been through on goal.

This caused plenty of fury from Sporting players and staff with Esteves sending Jorge Jesus to the stands and Bruno de Carvalho soon followed on his own accord.

Académica, after being dominated in the first half, improved in the second, though Sporting were still the better team. The home side defended better and were given more confidence from reducing the scoreline in the first half.

Still, Adrien Silva should have put the game to bed when Fernando Alexandre handballed in the penalty area. The midfielder, usually so good at penalties, hit the post for what could have been an important 3rd goal for Sporting.

Sporting had another penalty in the 82nd minute this time Fernando Alexandre pulling back Islam Slimani as he was about to burst through on goal. Bruno Esteves showed the midfielder his second yellow card. This time substitute Alberto Aquilani stepped up to take the penalty and cooly converted to give Sporting the win and moving them up to 2nd place behind Porto.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Naldo, Jefferson (YC) (Jonathan Silva, 87′); Adrien Silva (YC), João Mário; André Carrillo (Alberto Aquilani, 70′), Carlos Mané (Scored, 6′); Teófilo Gutiérrez (Bryan Ruiz, 64′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 24′)
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Tobias Figueiredo, Gelson Martins, Fredy Montero

SPORTING 1-1 Paços de Ferreira

Sporting will be extremely disappointed to only get a point at home to Paços de Ferreira. André Carrillo’s first half goal was cancelled out by Pelé’s penalty after João Pereira was sent off for a foul on Cícero.

Jorge Jesus started Alberto Aquilani ahead of Adrien Silva in midfield for his first start, and Fredy Montero started ahead of Teófilo Gutiérrez.

Perhaps tired from the game against CSKA, Sporting started off slowly in the game, though with plenty of possession.

Indeed, when Sporting did get their rhythm, late in the first half, it lead to the opening goal. André Carrillo slotting home after some excellent build-up play with Bryan Ruiz getting another assist.

Paços improved in the second-half but Sporting still looked closer to find a goal with Gelson Martins impressing.

Jorge Jesus was forced into a change after 71 minutes when Jefferson picked up an injury forcing Jonathan Silva on. Sporting will be hoping the Brazilian is fit enough for Wednesday’s big game.

Sporting fans had been happy with referee Manuel Oliveira and it so it was ironic that when he decided to send off João Pereira for a foul Cícero and award a penalty it was probably one of the few decisions Sporting fans agreed with. Midfielder Pelé made no mistake, sending Rui Patrício the wrong way.

With 10 men Sporting couldn’t find another way through a resolute Paços de Ferreira defence and there will be huge disappointment to be dropping 2 points at home so early in the season.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira (RC), Paulo Oliveira, Naldo, Jefferson (Jonathan Silva, 71′); Alberto Aquilani (Adrien Silva, 63′), João Mário; Bryan Ruiz, André Carrillo; Fredy Montero (Gelson Martins, 46′), Islam Slimani
Substitutes Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Ricardo Esgaio, Carlos Mané, Teófilo Gutiérrez