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Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:00

Sporting undone by last-gasp Rangers goal

Sporting 2-2 Rangers (aggregate 3-3, Rangers win on away goals)

Yannick Djalo disappointmentA goal in the 92nd minute by Maurice Edu sent Sporting crashing out of the Europa League. The Scots went ahead on 20 minutes through Diouf, but Pedro Mendes equalised before the break. Yannick Djalo's late header seemed to have won it for Sporting, but the hosts were unable to hold on.

Sporting went into the match knowing that the Europa League was their final chance to give their long-suffering supporters something positive to remember from a traumatic 2010/11. But in a poor quality first half neither side looked inclined to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
After a cagey opening Rangers took the lead when a well worked move set Davis free on the right, and his perfect delivery was headed into the net by the unmarked Diouf, with Polga guilty of ball-watching.

Mendes cracker

Not for the first time this season the hosts looked disjointed and out of ideas, so it was a surprise when an equaliser came shortly before the interval. Some sloppy defending from the Scottish side allowed Pedro Mendes to be teed up on the edge of the area, and the midfielder made no mistake as he curled a beautiful finish into the bottom corner.
The second half saw a marked improvement from both sides. On 56 minutes Joao Pereira got on the end of a Djalo cross but directed his back-header over the bar from point-blank range.
Shortly after the hour both teams came close to taking the lead. First Edu headed straight at Patricio from close in, before an excellent break from Djalo set up a chance for Pereira. McGregor saved instinctively with his legs and Mendes skied the follow-up over the bar.
Sporting took the lead in the 83rd minute as their two best players on the night constructed what looked like the winning goal. A brilliant cross from Pereira was headed into the net by Djalo.

Crucial miss

For the first time all night the Sporting fans in the meagre crowd (15,000) made it sound like the Lions were the home team. A crucial moment came in the 89th minute as Yannick Djalo again terrorised the Rangers defence with a speedy run and unselfishly set up Carlos Saleiro, but the striker blasted his shot wide when he should have done better.
With Rangers throwing everyone forward, Sporting’s defence buckled as has so often been the case this season. Healy raced through on the right flank and crossed low where a clutch of Rangers players were waiting to knock the ball into the net, with Maurice Edu getting the final touch.
The 2-2 scoreline gave Rangers the advantage on away goals and there was no way back for Sporting. The Alvalade was temporarily turned into Ibrox Park by thousands of celebrating Scottish fans as Sporting’s nightmare season hit another low point.
[0-1] Diouf, 20
[1-1] Pedro Mendes, 42
[2-1] Yannick Djalo, 83
[2-2] Maurice Edu, 92
by Tom Kundert

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Comments (23)
23 Saturday, 26 February 2011 00:00
how can an organization that discovered such greats as Figo & Ronaldo accomplish so little as a club?
re Dirk
22 Friday, 25 February 2011 19:07
Read Dirk's comment. If Liga Sagres is so bad, why did they have four European participants, (including Braga and Benfica in Champions league) versus the how many from Scotland? One is it?

How is Celtic doing in Europe? How about Hearts or Hibernian? Is Aberdeen in the final 16?
Where from here?
21 Friday, 25 February 2011 18:19
You have to wonder what Sporting does with this. Do they get focused and push for the third Champions League spot or do they fall apart and miss out on Europe all together next year. Given the tight grouping between third and eighth, it could be very interesting.
Sporting are in a mess.
20 Friday, 25 February 2011 16:21
Sporting have been in a mess for a long time now. You know a top team(in their respective league) is in big trouble when they can no longer be trusted in combos.

TheMightyGersMarchOn ;)
No defense and RE: Dirk the dick
19 Friday, 25 February 2011 16:14
Dirk, You are an idiot! What crap club do you support anyway? I can't tell from that mess of a comment you posted. No one on this site makes the Liga Sagres seem like it is more than it is. However, the top clubs do typically perform well in europe.

Back to the topic of the article. It was a disaster to see four unmarked players on that far post when the rangers scored. They nearly collided into each other and missed the ball. There were four defenders over commiting to the near post marking no one! Sergio must go. No more excuses. The players just aren't performing the way they should be.
Sad Result
18 Friday, 25 February 2011 13:54
I was very disapointed in this finish. I know that some Sporting fans are saying that Rangers were lucky for scoring so late, but Sporting not only scored late at the ibrox, they also scored late here.
Defense, midfiled and offense is awful.
I know that Djalo, who I've killed, looked decent but it wasn't that impressive once to take a closer look. His first touch isn't good, and neither is his last touch. Foster was able to run him down everytime and only ricochets allowed him to maintain possession on a couple of occasions.
The whole teams offensive decision making is awful. Passes to the wrong person, failures to pass, bad passes.
On defense, how do they try to offside trap when the ball is already in the box. Really?
Where was the second center back on the first goal?
Weak side help?

The other thing that bothered me about this match was how much Perreira complained. He mouthed off every single time. To the point that he wasn't going to get the benefit of doubt any longer. No that wasn't a penalty in the box, when he went down.
He's really shown to be a good player, but really needs to be put in check. His attitude during games will begin to cost him badly. Please don't say he's just being a competitor. At some point he just becomes annoying and is tuned out. He's not in the class as Cristiano where calls have to be given.

I knew this was going to be tough, but I really thought they had somehow done it. However hard it may be, I was pulling for them.
The crowd was also a great disapointment. How isn;t the place fuller. They might as well have given Rangers more seats, so they could at least make money. Horrible.

The latest is that they are trying to get Rafa Benitez to come. Since I do dislike Sporting, this would be perfect for me, since he's incompetent as well. Would he do well in the Superliga? Most likely, if he gets the players. There lies the promblem, since his salary will be so much that it will cut into player acquisitions.
Both teams have defensive issues.
17 Friday, 25 February 2011 07:54
The game was a two leg tie. Rangers were by far the better team at Ibrox, but finishing let them down. Sporting played better in Portugal and both teams defenses seem to be the problem. Over the 2 legs I think it was tight but any neutral could not say that Rangers didn't deserve to go through.
16 Friday, 25 February 2011 06:55
Paulo Sergio has to go. I've never seen so many tactical switches and different players used before.

I understand the concept of "squad rotation", but this guy hasn't had one solid game plan since arriving. Only recently has the 4-2-3-1 been used as a formation that Sporting looked to benefit from. So many different faces from the Leoes this season that it never looked like they would be able to gel as a unit.

Yannick, for all his pace and satisfactory 1v1 skills, has a terrible first touch and is very bad at decision making. No wonder this guy never gets a shout at the selecao.
15 Friday, 25 February 2011 03:19
Yeah Rangers were lucky to score three goals over two games against Sporting! NOT. Rangers could have scored 4 in the first game if it were not for a pathetic dud (Lafferty) up front.

They had a 40 year old central defender at the back and a patched up squad that wasn't close to its strongest XI.
Remember, their top striker was not even eligible. Bye bye Sporting. Your pathetic fan turnout (15,000) didn't believe and they got what they deserved: nothing! You are terrible losers.

Sporting have now failed to beat Rangers in four matches over three years. Keep believing it was bad luck and you will never win the title again. Look at the table, you are an embarrassment, 20 plus points behind.

Gee, the Liga Sagres is GREAT isn't it with that level of competition from a supposed big boy? Add in those no-name teams like Olhanense, Rio Ave, Naval, Portimonense. Europe quakes at that list.
14 Friday, 25 February 2011 02:56
As a Benfica fan, I feel like that Sporting deserved to go through. The Rangers played poor. A team that plays with 5 defensemen and only attack on Counter doesn't deserve to move on. They literally set up tents and camped in their half. I really feel for Sportinguistas.
Last minute luck?
13 Friday, 25 February 2011 01:31
Sporting fans can go on about how lucky we were to score in the last minute all the want, do you remember what happened at ibrox? late equaliser? That was well deserved pay back... there was a foul on papac in the lead up to the 2nd sporting goal and had it not been for poor defending at the end of the first half, Mendes would never have got the chance to score his cracker!
12 Thursday, 24 February 2011 23:53
Shame, I was about to change the channel from Sport TV and rangers score..Sporting should have gone through, but poor defending for the last goal in stoppage time.
Sporting this season havent been great. So they have to hold to what they got and try and improve.
Anyways Forca to all the other Portuguese teams left! (Benfica, Braga and Porto)
11 Thursday, 24 February 2011 23:50
it was a good game but sporting was unlucky today. right on the end. i think sporting was too overconfident about them passing to next round and fell asleep on the end of the game. when are they going to learn their lessons. it happens all the time. i disagree with the away goal rule. this rule sucks. it should be if it is a tie, then comes overtime and pks. forget about how many goals they scored on opponents home. about how many goals scored it also comes in luck, so uefa should change that rule.
10 Thursday, 24 February 2011 23:07
Even though I support Benfica, I really wanted Sporting to go through. I should be happy because Benfica went through comfortabley in Germany but I can't help feeling bitter tonight. I hope Sporting improve next season. Well done to Braga though

forca Portugal!
A lucky defeat
9 Thursday, 24 February 2011 22:59
This game was an intense game. Both Sporting and Rangers had many chances to score. If Saleiro's header went in, Sporting would have gone to the next round. Rangers did have luck because of when they scored in the final minute. It was a Heartbreaking defeat because when your team allows the winning goal in the end.

At least my prediction of how many Portugeuse team will go through (3/4)!!!!!!!!
So frustrated
8 Thursday, 24 February 2011 22:49
Damn it! So close. It was a very entertaining game but I'm so disappointed the defense fell apart like that at the very end. Congrats Rangers fans, your squad never gave up. Three out of four isn't bad.

The Russians went two out of three. Hopefully Porto can destroy CSKA.
Sporting is still a solid team
7 Thursday, 24 February 2011 22:27
People always criticize the offensive Sporting have but it's not the offense that's the problem. Sporting can score the goals but they just can't defend. I particularly felt sorry for Yannick, Mendes, Matias, Postiga and Joao Pereira who are Sporting's quality players. But there's little quality on the defensive line. Evaldo, Polga, Tolsegerieri? EWW!!!! Sporting need to focus on there denfensive problems before their attacking problems.

Congrats to my fellow Benfica fans who dominated away. Very impressive Benfica performance. Sporting were impressive too but only offensively. Carrico is well missed.

Benfica should be able to handle PSG no problem. 2 years ago Braga almost eliminated them when JJ was Braga's coach. He is familiar with PSG.

Porto should also take Moscow... Porto and Benfica are both quality sides.

Braga I feel can challenge Liverpool. I actually believe anything can happen with Braga. They have proved themselves to be a top side beating Sevilla, Arsenal, Celtic. It would be a trilling feeling for Portugal if the Magico eliminated liverpool. Obviously it'll be hard but anything can happen. Forca Magico!
Heartbreaking defeat
6 Thursday, 24 February 2011 22:13
Sporting was the better team throughout the match, but the defense fell asleep at the worst possible time. This pretty much sums up Soprting's season so far.

However, Benfica was brilliant today against Stuttgart. If it wasn't for another fantastic performance from the Stuttgart keeper, they could have scored another 4 or 5 goals.

Also, congratulations to Braga. I was a little worried about them because they failed to score in Poland, but they still got the job done. Liverpool will be hard to beat, but Braga have already proved that they are no pushovers. They have already defeated Celtic, Sevilla, and Arsenal, so anything is possible.

5 Thursday, 24 February 2011 21:53
Sporting you are a Disgrace you made the Portuguese league look worse than the Scottish league
What an awful way to go out.
4 Thursday, 24 February 2011 21:20
I thought they had this one. As extra time was dwindling, I thought to myself, "please don't let something stupid happen in the last minute or two", and then it did. Completely heartbreaking.

The only silver lining here now is that at least Sporting can spend all of their energies on continuing the revamping of the organization for next year and the future. Sporting will have a new leadership in place soon and with the new financial plans put in place, they need to buy new key position players. They need to beef up the defence to help out Carrico and they need to completely overhaul their attack. They have some good solid players right now, but this Sporting team is no where even near the quality that was present during the Bento years. I am optimistic that positive changes will be happening at the Alvalade in the near future.

Good luck Benfica and Braga. Get through to the next round and join Porto in a full frontal assault of the EL and put on a great show representing Portugal!

Saudacoes Leoninas
3 Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:42
I'm disappointed Sporting.
so frustrating
2 Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:37
Watched the whole game......Sporting fought back valiantly only to give it away so cheaply at the end. It was really that obvious at the end that Rangers were going to score. Sporting just eased up and let it slip away. Even Sporting's fans were being a little careless in celebrating so early.

What a shame. I'm so disappointed in Sporting. Here's to hoping for better things from them next season.

The good news is that Porto are through, and I think Braga and Benfica can make it through as well.
The revenge of Belenese
1 Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:14
I guess this screws up my 4/4 vote of Portugal teams going through.

Let's hope Benfica and Brage can at least make it three of four.

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