SPORTING 2-1 Wolfsburg

Sporting looked back to themselves after an uneasy pre-season with a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg in the annual Troféu Cinco Violinos. The game saw the return of William Carvalho, João Mário and Adrien Silva to the starting line-up and the difference was obvious.

Indeed, Jorge Jesus’ starting XI for this match was his regular line-up for the second half of last season, so it was very much a full strength Sporting.

Before the match new signing Marcelo Meli was paraded in front of the fans. The Argentinian midfielder joins on loan from Boca Juniors.

Sporting opened the scoring through Islam Slimani, who’s smart finish beat goalkeeper Koen Casteels after Wolfsburg failed to deal with a cross.

Christian Träsch fouled Bruno César in the area to give Sporting a penalty. Adrien Silva stepped up and duly delivered with his effort.

Ricardo Rodríguez also pulled one back before half-time with a thunderous volley but Rui Patrício made an outstanding save to deny him.

At half-time Sporting paraded the new women’s football team.

The second half was a slower game with both sides making plenty of substitutions. Wolfsburg pulled a goal back through Anton-Leander Donkor in the 78th minute.

Wolfsburg couldn’t provide an equaliser though and Sporting once again won the Troféu Cinco Violinos. Most importantly though for Sporting and Jorge Jesus, the team was back to looking its old self.

Sporting now have two remaining pre-season games before the opening game of the season. They will face Real Betis and Nice on the 4th and 5th of August.

SPORTING XI: Rui Patrício; Ezequiel Schelotto (João Pereira 64′, YC), Rúben Semedo (Ewerton, 76′), Sebastián Coates (Naldo, 76′), Marvin Zeegelaar (YC) (Jefferson, 64′); William Carvalho (Alberto Aquilani, 76′), Adrien Silva (Scored, 34′) (João Palhinha, 55′), João Mário (Iuri Medeiros, 46′); Bruno César (Daniel Podence, 76′, YC), Bryan Ruiz (Matheus Pereira, 76′), Islam Slimani (Scored, 26′) (Alan Ruiz, 55′)
Substitutes Not Used: Ažbe Jug, Hernán Barcos

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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.

Pre-Season Fixtures Announced

Sporting have finally announced the fixtures for the upcoming pre-season campaign.

July 12th: vs. Azores XI for the Troféu Pauleta at the Estádio de São Miguel in Ponta Delgada.

July 18th / July 20th: Defending the Taça de Honra at the Restelo in Belém. Sporting will face Belenenses first on the 18th before, hopefully, facing the winner of Estoril and Benfica on the 20th. Last season Sporting fielded a B team for this game whilst on tour.

July 22nd-29th: Training camp in Doorwerth in the Netherlands. Three friendly games are scheduled for this time but no details yet.

1st August: Troféu Cinco Violinos game against Lazio at the Alvalade. Here the squad will be presented to the fans.

4th August: A trip to Egypt to take on Al Ittihad Alexandria for the Egyptian’s club’s 100th anniversary.

6th August: Away to FC Midtjylland in Herning, Denmark. Sporting aim to play a squad of half A and half B team players.

August 9th / August 10th: Participating in Troféu Teresa Herrera in La Coruña. Also in that tournament are Deportivo de La Coruña, Sporting Gijón, and Uruguayan club Club Nacional de Football. Last year’s winners were Real Madrid.

Match Report: SPORTING 1-0 Olympiacos

Sporting won their final pre-season game 1-0 thanks to an excellent Elias strike in the second-half.

Ricardo Sá Pinto’s final pre-season first team may perhaps give clues as to who will start the opening league game away to Vitória de Guimarães next Sunday. Sá Pinto went for Rui Patrício behind a defence partnership of Marcos Rojo and Khalid Boulahrouz with Cédric at right-back and Insúa at left-back. Adrien, Gelson Fernandes and Elias made up the midfield and as familiar attacking front three of Diego Capel, André Carrillo and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

The game was part of the new Troféu Cinco Violinos (Five Violins Trophy) named after Jesus Correia, Manuel Vasques, Fernando Peyroteo, José Travassos, and Albano the Cinco Violions from the late 1940 and early 1950s – Sporting’s most successful period.

The game went off to a slow start with Sporting holding plenty of possession but finding it difficult to break down Olympiacos’ solid defence. A defence typical of the coaching capabilities of the new coach, Leandro Jardim. Both sides went into the break goalless.

Sporting were unchanged after the first half and it didn’t take long before they were back in control of the ball again.

Sporting’s first real chance of the second half came in the 53rd minute when Adrien’s low cross in front of goal just evaded the outstretched boot of van Wolfswinkel.

The ball wasn’t cleared well by Olympiacos and immediately Sporting were on the attack again. Elias managed to find room just outside the box and his low strike crept passed Roy Carroll and into the right-hand corner to put Sporting ahead after 55 minutes gone on the clock.

Sporting had chances to increase their lead. Diego Capel in particular was guilty of not converting his shot after a good one-two with Elias.

After 70 minutes Ricardo Sá Pinto made the first changes of the game with Jeffrén Suárez, Fabián Rinaudo and André Martins replacing Diego Capel, Adrien Silva and the goal-scorer, Elias.

Olympiacos had an excellent chance in the 77th minute but Emiliano Insúa was on-hand to make a superb goal-line clearance for Sporting.

Zakaria Labyad made his Sporting debut on the 79th minute as substitute for André Carrillo. Labyad looked lively in his cameo forcing a good save out of Roy Carroll late on in the match.

Sporting managed to see-out the game and go into the new season with a win after what was a solid performance at the Alvalade.

Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Khalid Boulahrouz, Marcos Rojo, Emiliano Insúa; Gelson Fernandes (Stijn Schaars 79′, Adrien Silva (Fabián Rinaudo 70′, YC), Elias (Scored 55′) (André Martins 70′); André Carrillo (Zakaria Labyad 79′), Diego Capel (Jeffrén Suárez 70′), Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Subs Not Used: Marcelo Boeck, Xandão, Bruno Pereirinha, Danijel Pranjić, Valentín Viola, Wilson Eduardo