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Sunday, 06 November 2011 22:22

Liga round-up: Sporting close gap

Rio Ave off the bottom

A frantic day of action in the Liga saw Sporting close the gap at the top of the table, whilst there were also vital wins for Beira-Mar and Rio Ave, and a goalless draw at the Bonfim.

Sporting 3-1 Leiria

Sporting moved to within one point of Porto and Benfica at the top of the table, sealing a seventh consecutive Liga win at the Alvalade against a spirited Uniao de Leiria. Faced with an injury crisis, Domingos handed a Liga debut to young centre back Tiago Ilori, and Bruno Pereirinha slotted into the midfield with Fito Rinaudo sidelined for the next three months.

Sporting got off to the perfect start, with a gorgeous strike from Matias Fernandez. The Chilean created space for himself with a superb control and turn, before rifling a strike under the legs of Gottardi.

At this point, it seemed as if a seventh consecutive win was inevitable, but a mistake from young Ilori handed Leiria a way back into the match. The London-born eighteen year-old misjudged the flight of a lofted ball, and Djaniny took full advantage, racing through to beat Patricio with impressive aplomb.

Leiria have shown signs of improvement since Manuel Cajuda arrived for his third spell in charge, and were – a couple of near misses from the effervescent Fernandez apart – looking good value for their share of the points at half time. However, Sporting re-established their lead soon after the restart, with Fernandez grabbing his second of the game from close range, after Evaldo’s cut back from the byline. Leiria’s marking was somewhat slack, and the number fourteen took full advantage.

Despite falling behind once more, Manuel Cajuda’s men continued to harry their opponents right up until the final whistle. Jo, Djaniny and Maykon all might have found the net, as Sporting’s makeshift new-look back line strained under the pressure.

However, the Lions saw out the storm, and on the cusp of full time, added a third. Ivo Pinto handled a ball in inside the six-yard box, and Manuel Mota did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and brandishing a red card. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel slotted home, and Sporting head into the international just a single point behind Porto and Benfica.

[1-0] Matias Fernandez 8’
[1-1] Djaniny 21’
[2-1] Matias Fernandez 50’
[3-1] Van Wolfswinkel 90’

Sporting: Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Carrico, Ilori, Evaldo; Schaars, Elias, Pereirinha (Carrillo 46’); Capel (Andre Santos 63’), Van Wolfswinkel, Matias Fernandez (Arias 63’).

Beira-Mar 2-1 Feirense

Beira-Mar condemned Aveiro rivals Feirense to a third straight loss at the Estadio Municipal de Aveiro. Goals from Nildo and Artur gave Rui Bento’s men a commanding lead at the interval, and although Fonseca netted a late consolation for Feirense, it was not enough to prevent the newly promoted side from sliding down to the foot of the table. Having scored, Fonseca was then dismissed in the dying moments.

Rio Ave 2-1 Nacional

Rio Ave clambered out of the relegation zone with a priceless 2-1 victory at home to Nacional. Pedro Caixinha looked to be headed for a successful start to life as coach of the Madeira club when Claudemir converted a thirteenth-minute penalty (Rio Ave’s Eder was sent off as a result of his foul on Mateus); but a late comeback, initiated by Joao Tomas and finished off by Porto loanee Christian Atsu, secured the home side all three points. Rio Ave are now one point clear of Pacos and Feirense, who make up the bottom two after ten rounds.

Setubal 0-0 Gil Vicente

Vitoria de Setubal ended a two-match losing streak, but made it three Liga outings without a goal in an uneventful 0-0 draw with Gil Vicente at the Bonfim. A poor encounter between two mid-table sides was watched by 2626 spectators, who whistled both sets of players off at the end. Setubal and Gil remain in 9th and 8th places, both on eleven points.

Ben Shave

Comments (6)
Some Thoughts
6 Tuesday, 08 November 2011 07:56
Not only is the top of the table getting tight, so is the remainder of the table.

Great job by Sporting. I hate to say it, but they just might be up to the task this season. Getting 34,214 for a game vs Leiria is also great.
The true Portuguese "Classico" is going to be something special.
Leiria is making their descent to relegation, to be never heard from again. Ok, maybe that was a bit harsh.

Beira Mar is hanging in there. After this one they've only scored 6 goals, but have only let in 6. Stingy defense. We'll see if it holds up.

Rio Ave is out of the bottom and looking, huh huh, ok.

I will be pulling for Gil Vicente all season.

On a side note, Braga only drew 18,688 to its game vs Benfica. Why so little? Could it be that people were afraid of unruly atmosphere? Regardless, they should have given Benfica more tickets and cashed in.
sporting lovers
5 Monday, 07 November 2011 22:51
Its funny the last two years everyone was commenting on sporting threads from benfica and portos saying how they wish sporting were doing better and its to bad they arent playing well...now that they are playing well no one shows up to comment when they are a point from first place. lolbenfica should have lost in braga but it seems like luck is on their side...and fluke goal at beira mar and fluke goal at braga and rinaudo out for sporting...luckily sporting has depth and will win on the 27th
Sporting for the World
4 Monday, 07 November 2011 22:10
Drawing against Braga is a respectable if somewhat poor result for Benfica given Braga’s quality.But drawing against Olhanense is a weak result for Porto. They don’t look anywhere near as good this year and while I’m sure they will bounce back, its results like these that can come to define a season since it’s pretty much anyone’s guess when it comes to predicting the result of a matchup between the big three/four now that Sporting seems to be back in the mix. It’s looking very possible, at least at this point in the season and given the quality on display, that it will come down to a matter of a point or two to settle the championship. The season is shaping up to be great one as Maritimo must also be considered a dark horse if they continue to win.

If Sporting manage to pull off their first league championship in a decade I expect Van Wolf and possibly Capel and some others to leave for “greener” pastures, as per usual. This might happen even if they don’t win the championship. But I’m actually looking forward to the possibility of Sporting being a position similar to Porto where they receive a boatload of cash for proven players. I don’t think this would be a bad thing. This is all premature speculation but it’s not looking too farfetched for once and I’m glad that Sporting is back in the hunt. Porto has basically relied on the “acquire a foreigner, develop him and then reap the rewards,” formula for years now and given the fact that we don’t have any oil barons or Russian oligarchs to rely on for acquisitions in Portugal, this is probably the best strategy for Portuguese teams to employ.

Here’s hoping the Portuguese squads continue to build on their successes...but with a little more success for Sporting than the others ;)
3 Monday, 07 November 2011 12:33
If this game was a year ago, Sporting would probably have lost it or tied it. This game showed that they can win when they aren't playing their best. Viva Sporting!
2 Monday, 07 November 2011 03:18
Tough game for sporting but a win nevertheless, we now are one point out of first, i hadnt sweat that much on a sunday lol, we sportinguistas are due for some smiles and something to cheer. Thank you guys please keep it up!
1 Monday, 07 November 2011 02:13
Well done Sporting! Keep up all the good work!

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