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Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:26

Sporting hit Guimaraes for five

Lions turn on the style ahead of City showdown

Sporting put Guimaraes to the sword with five goals including a brace from Jeffren as they prepared for their upcoming Europa League second leg against Manchester City in style. Van Wolfswinkel, Matias Fernandez and Izmailov were also on target, as the Lions kept pace with Maritimo for another week.

Ricardo Sa Pinto made changes to his team with that second leg against Manchester City in mind. Insua and Carrico were rested with Elias and Evaldo taking their place. Rui Vitoria named an unchanged side from the team that beat Maritimo last weekend as Guimaraes try to close the gap on Sporting.

Sporting looked to have gained a newfound confidence in their play after the win over City in midweek. Within four minutes Matias Fernandez fed Ricky van Wolfswinkel but the Dutch striker's shot was well smothered by Nilson.

The home side had control of possession early on with Matias Fernandez and Stijn Schaars continuing their good form from midweek.

Indeed Matias Fernandez turned provider again when he once again found Ricky van Wolfswinkel this time the striker making no mistake and tucking the ball just inside the post to put the Lions ahead.

It took a half hour before Vitoria managed their first real chance on goal as Joao Alves forced a good save from Rui Patricio that felt like a warning shot to the home team. Diego Capel's effort from just outside the box gave Nilson more work to do as the hosts took control of the game once more after the away team's first chance of the game.

Sporting ended the first half firmly on top but the fact that there was only a single goal difference will have been of concern to Sa Pinto.


Those fears began to look well grounded as Vitoria began the second half brightly, but Sporting's concerns were to be short-lived. Only five minutes had elapsed in the second half when Matias Fernandez slotted the ball home after Bruno Teles' poor clearance fell kindly to the Chilean's feet.

The home side was fully in control from then onwards and almost grabbed another goal after another five minutes when a Diego Capel cross found the head of Ricky van Wolfswinkel but Nilson again denied him at close range.

Guimaraes almost pulled one back as Nuno Assis dispossessed Elias in Sporting's half and Edgar had a great chance to pull one back for the visitors but Patricio was forced to make a good save.

As time went on, thoughts no doubt turned to midweek and Manchester City, and the excellent Matias Fernandez was brought off to be replaced by Andre Martins.

Victory was assured minutes later when Ricky van Wolfswinkel was brought down in the box by Nuno Assis and it was an easy decision to make for Artur Soares Dias to make. Marat Izmailov stepped up and smashed the penalty straight down the middle as Nilson dived to his left.

Another bright spot for Sporting was the return of Jeffren. The former Barcelona man has had a tough time with injuries since joining Sporting last summer but his cameo here will be a huge boost. His first goal was a superb volley on the edge of the area after having collected a corner on his chest. It was a goal that showed Sporting just what they had been missing in his absence.

The winger was at it again just before the end of the match with a wonderful solo goal that he buried just under Nilson to add emphasis to what was the best Sporting league performance in some time. There was a real festive atmosphere at the Alvalade, with another 30,000-plus crowd applauding the team off the field. 

A performance like this is a demonstration of exactly what this Sporting team is capable of and Godinho Lopes and company will no doubt argue that their decision to axe Domingos Paciencia and bring in Ricardo Sa Pinto is really starting to pay off. 

Rui Vitoria has work to do with his players who never looked like making the home side work for their victory. This defeat, coupled with the recent derby loss to Braga, showed there is much to rectify at Vitoria despite a decent run of recent results.

Sporting:
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Xandao, Polga, Evaldo, Matias (Andre Martins, 68), Elias, Schaars, Izmailov (Jeffren, 79), Van Wolfswinkel (Seba Ribas, 83), Capel

Vitoria de Guimaraes:
Nilson, Alex, N'Diaye, Defendi, Bruno Teles, Joao Alves, Leonel Olimpio (Barrientos, 57), Nuno Assis, Urreta (Paulo Sergio, 76), Toscano, Edgar

Goals
[1-0] Van Wolfswinkel 20'
[2-0] Matias Fernandez 50'
[3-0] Izmailov (P) 70'
[4-0] Jeffren 81'
[5-0] Jeffren 89'


Richard Cole

Comments (6)
Well Done
6 Monday, 12 March 2012 23:33
Well done Sporting, now go and score more in Manchester on thursday to keep Portuguese football represented in the Europa League! They can do it, why not? Man City lost again yesterday in the EPL and are not in great form at the moment. If Sporting can get an away goal, they have a great chance to qualify. Although i suppourt the red half of Lisboa, I will be fully behind Sporting on Thursday!!!
Great
5 Monday, 12 March 2012 16:36
As much as I like Domingos Paciencia, it's hard to argue against Sa Pinto with the way the team is currently playing. I was very skeptical about him at first because of the altercations he had with Sporting players in the past, but he seems to have motivated the players. I was very happy with the Man City win, but was still somewhat skeptical about whether it was indicative of a full Sporting recovery, mainly because City came very close to scoring on several occasions that match. In any case, the City game, Sa Pinto and the return of some kep players, seems to have inspired a newfound confidence in the team and I hope this translates into strong Europa and domestic league finishes.
look out next season
4 Monday, 12 March 2012 12:18
Forca Sporting!!!!

I think next year will be finally be the year SCP mount a full scale assault on Porto and Benfica for the title. With Braga in the mix too, the 2012-13' season should be outstanding.
Put to the sword is right
3 Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:53
That was a beat down. I love how the team is embracing Sa Pinto and playing with a sense of urgency, Great to see. Another close to 35,000 attendance figure as well and this is a big confidence boost ahead of the big Man City game. The decision to rest Insua and Carrico before playing Man City was very wise, and I hope Rinaudo comes back soon. I have to agree, the decision to replacece Domingos Paciencia with Sa Pinto is looking better and better and better every game. Let's be honest, Paciencia did wonders with Braga and I am sure he was a professional with Sporting, but he is a born and bred Portista, Sa Pinto is a Sportinguista and I just feel "more at home" with him in charge. I really hope the positive results continue and that Ricardo Sa Pinto builds something special here. You have to remember that this team was constructed just this year, and there is a lot to do, and the work is still just beginning. Also, Jefferen could not have asked for a better return from injury! Nice brace.
Absolutely Incredible Performance!
2 Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:53
Sporting has been getting better and better with Sa Pinto and the team's spirit is really good now and you can see it in the way they all play for each other! This was a fantastic amazing game and Sporting completely dominated the match in every way in attacks and in possession and they controlled the game and were solid in defense as well! This team has so so much talent and I am delighted with the positive mentality and strength of unity in the team! They played great football and it was great to see Wolfswinkel get back to scoring again, and it was great to see Jeffren return to fitness and score two brilliant goals!! He is a player with huge talent and always was an important signing for us and I'm delighted that he is fit now! There are all so many positives and I am just very proud of my team Sporting! I have great belief in this team and manager! And I believe they will continue to go from strength to strength! They are going in the right direction and they can do great things in the now and in the future! This is Sporting!!! Keep it up LIONS!!! SPORTING!!!
Great game
1 Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:46
The article sums it up perfectly, SCP has been seriously lacking in confidence. The players (for the most part) are quality, and when they hit top gear, they can go up against anyone in the Liga. I watched the game, and it was great to see.

However, I think the confidence is still shaky. Confidence against Guimaraes is one thing, but confidence against SLB or FCP is something else. Additionally, Guimaraes were incredibly poor this game. Not to detract from the SCP performance, but a better team wouldn't have allowed several of those goals to happen. Guimaraes haven't looked very good as of late, I'm really not sure what is going on there.

Anyways, if SCP have their confidence up, and play like they played today and against Man City in the first leg, I think they have a real chance at going through, going to England with a goal to the good.

Forca Sporting

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