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Saturday, 29 September 2012 21:44

Estoril derail Sporting at the Alvalade

Sporting 2-2 Estoril

sa-pinto-shouting-20120924.jpgSporting followed up their heartening comeback victory against Gil Vicente on Monday with a poor performance against Estoril at the Alvalade tonight. The visitors looked set to seal all three points after going two goals up, but a red card for Estoril’s Gonçalo sparked a late fight-back by the hosts, resulting in a 2-2 final scoreline.

Estoril served notice that they are not in the top flight just to make up the numbers in their last match, beating Europa League participants Marítimo 3-1. Striker Luís Leal was the star of the show on that occasion, and the former Sporting youth player enjoyed another fine game tonight. In a tepid first half it was the visitors - and Leal in particular - who provided the only moments of danger.

The 25-year-old forward had been unlucky not to have what looked a clear penalty awarded earlier in the half, but just before the break Leal’s footwork was again too much for Sporting’s defence, and Cédric’s foul led to the referee pointing to the spot. Steven Vitória made no mistake to give the newly promoted side an interval lead.

Lethal counter-attack

Sporting came out with a more positive attitude in the second half. Xandão headed narrowly wide and Izmailov and Cédric tried their luck from distance. The hosts were then stunned by an exemplary counter-attack goal. The speedy Gerso picked up the ball in his own half and sprinted at the exposed Sporting defence, before passing into the path of Leal, who rifled into the net with a crisp shot across Patrício.

As the crowd started voicing its disapproval, Sporting were handed a lifeline as Gonçalo Santos asked the referee to book a home player, only to be shown a yellow himself for his troubles, his second, and the subsequent red.

Sá Pinto threw caution to the wind, sending André Martins, Jeffrén and Betinho in the fray, the last of whom was making his senior debut. Goalkeeper Vagner produced a wonderful one-handed save from an Izmailov pile-driver on 68 minutes as Sporting at last began to ratchet up the pressure.

In the 76th minute Sporting pulled a goal back, as Anderson turned a Viola header into his own net. A smart combination between Jeffrén and Izmailov almost led to an equaliser from the former. The Lions were now pouring forward, and it was no surprise when the scores were levelled on 84 minutes. André Martins’ cross-shot was touched past Vagner by Wolfswinkel.

Late flurry

The 35,000 plus crowd exploded into life and urged the home team forward for a winner. And it so nearly arrived. A well struck André Martins free kick was superbly saved by Vagner, and a wild scramble ensued, with Estoril’s defenders throwing themselves in front of successive efforts to somehow prevent the ball from entering.

But truth be told, a loss would have been harsh on Estoril. The pressure mounts again on Sá Pinto.

Rui Patrício, Cédric, Xandão (André Martins, 60’), Rojo, Insúa, Rinaudo, Izmailov, Capel (Jeffrén, 60’), Carrillo (Betinho, 74’), Viola, Wolfswinkel

Vagner, Anderson Luís, Steven Vitória, Bruno Nascimento, Jefferson, Amado, Gonçalo, Gerso (Bruno Miguel, 80’), Carlos Eduardo (Evandro, 79’), Licá (Elizeu, 64), Luís Leal

[0-1] Steven Vitória (pen), 45’
[0-2] Luís Leal, 58’
[1-2] Anderson (o.g.), 76’
[2-2] Wolfswinkel, 84’

by Tom Kundert

Comments (7)
Same old Sh*t
7 Sunday, 30 September 2012 21:55
Just fire this idiot already. I dont care if he bleeds green. Results are what matter and the lineups and tactics he puts our there are similar to his old style of play, all guile with little skill. This team is not built that way and hes to stubborn to change. More incompetence from the front office when they hired him and fired Domingos. Its endless with sporting. So much young domestic talent yet they always screw it up with bad managers and transfers bought AND sold. With all these young players sporting should be in the best position financially in Portugal. F***ing Disgrace.
Different say, same angst.
6 Sunday, 30 September 2012 18:35
I went from Estoril is going to blow the three points to them being fortunate to hang on.
Sporting can't have these type of performances at home. There were 35,003 fans on hand to go nuts, but found themselves full of angst. If Sporting loses the fans, it will really hurt them financially. Yes, Sportinguistas will always support, but will they fill the "Pia".
Is Sa Pinto out of his depth? Yes he's Sporting through and through and he bleeds green and he's fiery. Ok, now what? I saw players sniping at each other and effort is being put into question. A lot of work to do.

Let me add that I'm one of those that despises it when players surround refs. I did find it incredible that a ref gave a second, A SECOND, yellow to a player signaling a card for an opponent. I applaud the ref, but maybe if it was the first yellow, but second? Again I applaud him, since these players have to learn. I just question how often that's going to happen.
Sa Pinto
5 Sunday, 30 September 2012 15:55
Sporting have alot of very very selfish players. Why all the perimeter shooting into orbit when someone is always open?

Obviously they are a talented bunch, i believe the problem is cohesion. I dont know if recent team troubles has lead to players trying to do too much or simply they are making the wrong decisions.

I always saw Sporting as the Arsenal of Portugal, fast, flowing, pretty football but outside of the final 20, that was awful and lazy play.

Andre Martins is fantastic, he turned the game around imo and Wolfswinkel will bury his chances if he ever getst he ball.

Come on Sporting, get it together...
Interesting game
4 Sunday, 30 September 2012 00:11
Win or lose I can't help but be entertained when watching Marat Izmailov. If it werent fo the injuries he wouldnt be a Sporting player today.

Sporting had plenty of chances to win this game. What they lacked was a killer instinct in some of the young players in the end. Viola could have score on the Izmailov low cross in the end and it deserved a good finish after showing amazing ball control.

As a long time Sporting fan I am content given the circumstances. It is going to be a long healing process but I have waited eighteen years before and I can easily do it again.

I hope Viola keeps getting the nod and although it may be a little early for Betinho i hope he keeps coming off the bench or just stays full time on the B team.

Cedric Soares is the next Portugal right back. Maybe even in time for the next world cup. He is a mirror image of Joao Perreira except has a pair of feet instead of just a single and is much more dangerous on the attack with his shooting.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and unlike last year I don't think it's a train.
3 Saturday, 29 September 2012 23:15
What's happened to Jeffren? Is it just injuries or has he quite simply not reached his potential? Big shame either way for what I classed as a very exciting player.

Very strange happenings, especially at home for Sporting. You can't keep conceding and expect results.

The football played can be wonderful to watch but it's no good if you don't have the defensive platform to build off.

I would still continue with Pinto though, regardless of what happens against Porto. He's young and can rebuild things with a talented squad.

Is there anybody else out there standing out that would take over?
Andre Martins
2 Saturday, 29 September 2012 22:13
I have no idea why Sa Pinto continues to start Andre Martins on the bench when he is the most creative midfielder they have. Their play immediately improved when he was introduced in the second half.
1 Saturday, 29 September 2012 22:03
The more this keeps happening to Sporting, the worse I feel for Sa Pinto. I have been a big detractor of his, but I have now realized that the biggest problem for this team is the players not really trying their hardest until they're already losing.

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