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Thursday, 25 October 2012 18:28

Sporting lose again after a late Genk winner

Genk 2-1 Sporting

A late Genk header from Elyaniv Barda sank a 10-man Sporting side and leaves them at the bottom of Group G. Khalid Boulahrouz was sent off after two yellow cards late on in the game. Stijn Schaars had opened the scoring early on for Sporting but Benjamin De Ceulaer equalised after Sporting failed to deal with a corner. It is now 4 defeats in a row for the Leões.

Sporting were under the watchful eye of new boss Franky ‪Vercauteren‬ for Oceano's last game as caretaker coach of the senior team. Vercauteren won the league with Genk just two seasons ago before leaving for the U.A.E.

After an impressive cameo in the recent Taça de Portugal defeat to Moreirense, Danijel Pranjić started the game with Jeffrén Suárez to support Ricky van Wolfswinkel up front. Stijn Schaars also kept his place in midfield alongside Fabián Rinaudo and Adrien Silva.

Genk and Sporting's form couldn't differ more. Genk came into this match 11 games undefeated. It was Genk who got the first chance of the game. Belgian international Jelle Vossen forcing a good save out of Rui Patrício after just a few minutes.

It would be Sporting though, who got their noses in front. Adrien Silva's corner was pulled back to Stijn Schaars. The Dutch international's shot took a big deflection, wrong-footing goalkeeper Kristof Van Hout with just 7 minutes of the game gone. Going forward Sporting looked far smoother in their attacking play than they have done in recent times, Adrien in particular playing well.

It has been the defence which has been Sporting's major frailty in recent times and Genk always looked threatening going forward. Defender Kalidou Koulibaly rose highest from a Genk corner and his attempt on goal went just wide of the Sporting goal with Rui Patrício well beaten.

Genk grab an equaliser

Genk did get their equaliser in the 25th minute. The home side had a corner which was not dealt with by Sporting. Nadson rose highest in the penalty box to head down to Benjamin De Ceulaer who headed in from close range with Cédric Soares playing the forward onside.

Both sides went into the break level and it was a fair reflection on the first half. For Sporting, at least, it was an improvement over some of their more recent performances.

The away side had the first big chance of the second half. A great pull back by Steven Joseph-Monrose found South African defender Anele Ngcongca in acres of space in the Sporting box. The Genk man blasted his chance high over the bar when really he should have buried it.

After that though Sporting improved and gained control of possession. Indeed, at times it seemed that Genk would be happy with a home draw against Sporting. Jeffrén had a solid shot well saved by Van Hout and Cédric Soares looked dangerous going forward from right-back. The pace of the game improved even more after Diego Capel was brought on in the place of Danijel Pranjić.

Khalid Boulahrouz's dismissal leaves Sporting with 10 men

It looked like Sporting were likely to go on and grab a winner, but when Khalid Boulahrouz was given a second yellow card after a cynical tackle on Steven Joseph-Monrose a tough night became far more difficult for Sporting.

Elyaniv Barda nods home the winner for Genk

In the final minutes Sporting looked tired defending with only 10 men and it was perhaps tiredness that would explain why Elyaniv Barda, who had came on as a substitute just five minutes earlier, was completely free to head home the winner in the 87th minute.

The onlooking Franky ‪Vercauteren‬ may well be realising just how difficult his job is going to be to try and fix this Sporting side. Two goals conceded from corners is a huge worry and Sporting now risk being out of yet another competition before the end of the year.

Indeed, now for Sporting they must aim to win every remaining game in their group as they are now 5 points behind 2nd place Videoton in Group G with the visit of Genk next on 8 November.
by Richard Cole

Genk: Kristof Van Hout; Brian Hamalainen, Anele Ngongca, Nadson, Dani Fernández; Kalidou Koulibaly, Julien Gorius, Thomas Buffel; Steven Joseph-Monrose (Elyaniv Barda, 83'), Jelle Vossen (Bennard Kumordzi, 90+3'), Benjamin De Ceualer (Glynor Plet, 62')

Sporting: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, Khalid Boulahrouz, Marcos Rojo, Emiliano Insúa; Fabián Rinaudo, Adrien Silva (Xandão, 79'), Stijn Schaars; (Valentín Viola, 61') Jeffrén Suárez, Danijel Pranjić (Diego Capel, 58'), Ricky van Wolfswinkel

[0-1] Stijn Schaars, 7'
[1-1] Benjamin De Ceulaer, 25'
[2-1] Elyaniv Barda, 87'

Comments (10)
10 Sunday, 28 October 2012 02:00
Carillo needs to be in the line up. He has star flare.

I thought the central defense was to be much improved. Bhoularouz is bad, but I dislike Carrico too.
9 Friday, 26 October 2012 15:06
There is not a poor result that is currently beyond the imagination of sportinguistas. We all just hope that eventually we wake up from this nightmare...

However, the fact that Sporting continues to exist in light of the tremendously underwhelming results of the last 30-odd years (obrigado, Sr. Roquette) is a testament to the pride of sportinguistas. Sporting is going through a tremendously poor phase, but it will pull through because it is greater than the incompetents that have been at the reigns or the underachievers who don't know the responsibility that comes with wearing the green and white.

Those who are ready to proclaim Braga as the third "grande" or lump Sporting in with local teams like Braga or Vitoria or Nacional, either have only been following Portuguese football for the past 5 years, or don't actually understand Portuguese sports culture.

While it may seem like we are arguing about the best configuration of deck chairs on the Titanic, I disagree that Xandão belongs anywhere near the starting XI. He never should've stayed on-loan, at the expense of Gooch playing and potentially recouping some of SCP's investment. Another deft maneuver by the administration...

The lack of a true 2nd striker creates too much pressure for Ricky. I hope that Franky plays a 4-4-2 and tries Carrillo at that position (which he played in Peru). He is too talented not to be on the field.
Couldn't agree more.
8 Friday, 26 October 2012 13:31
As a Sporting fan, I have come to embrace our losses over the last few years.

I couldn't agree with you more. Carrico to me is a way better pick than Bouhlarouz. Personally I strongly dislike Bouhlarouz. This is the second Europa League game in a row where he made critical mistakes. I am in no way putting the blame soley on him but two unexceptable matches usually means replacement on my team.

@Bubba Zanetti SCP
I also agree with you. It seems as though the past three years, we have seen horrible pairs running the center-back possitions. Last year it was Onyewu and Rodriguez that I has a hard time dealing with, this year Bouhlarouz and Rojo. On the note of Ricky... I am starting to think he just isn't happy with the team and he is probably dealing with personal issues. He is not the Ricky we saw last year. It seems as last year he had more fire in him.

I personally would like to see Xandao and Carrico as the CB pair with Insua and Cedric taking thier respective sides on the back flanks.
To me; Capel, Schaars, Rinaudo, and Adrien are crutial in mid-field. I really dislike Elias' style. (Just my personal opinion). Viola and Ricky can find a way to mend thier styles and become an intimidating force.
Hang in there
7 Friday, 26 October 2012 10:36
Another poor result no doubt about it, but you were still "managerless"...and from this weekend on the new manager has a chance to start turning things around. It's not too late, only 10 games into the season. You can still qualify from this group, all 3 of the opponents are beatable home or away. As for the Liga you are only 5 points behind Braga and 3rd place...still a long way to go in the season and plenty of time for things to change.

The new manager has to select the right players in their positions. To me Carrico must start in central defence, he is definitely better than Bouhlarouz. Carrico is the future of Sporting, while Bouhlarouz is way past his best...I was never a fan of his anyway, and still haven't forgotten how he tried to break CR7's legs at WC 2006. The Sporting midfield has quality and just needs to click. If the club can get in another quality forward in january, they'd have a squad good enough to make a big improvement this season. Keep believing..there's never any point in giving up hope.
Sad state of affairs
6 Friday, 26 October 2012 03:53
I'll always support SCP regardless of results, but I would be lying if I said that I had never been prouder of SCP.

I still think at this point it is mostly psychological. In terms of player ability, I actually think that they have a very strong side.

However, there are still alot of problems. The defense is disjointed and they have difficulty utilizing the goal scoring firepower of Wolfswinkel and Jeffren.

Anyways, hopefully things turn around. I think that a solid string of good result could (start to) turn the ship around.

At this point, any silverware this season is essentially impossible, since they are knocked out of the Taca, they have dropped too many points in the League, and at this point it looks unlikely that they will even make it out of their group in the Europa League.

If SCP can find some confidence and stabilize their results under their new coach, next season could look brighter.

Forca SCP
@ Johnieooo
5 Thursday, 25 October 2012 23:58
Yes, we are in a rough patch, but we will be back. Every big team has it's bad years, and we'll be back at the top, playing regularly in the CL and challenging for the title. Nowhere to go but up. I have been following Sporting since the 1980's and I have seen plenty of volatile ups and downs, not only from Sporting in that time period, but from the other two Grandes as well. No club is immune.
Yet again
4 Thursday, 25 October 2012 23:24
Yes Johnieoooo, you and you alone think that.

I watched this game almost in its entirety, and it was almost like watching the NT play. Same degree of frustration and suspect defending at critical times. I honeslty am surprised that Bhoularouz is even starting. I really thought he was going to be a sub to cover for injuries or to close games down. I would take anyone else over him at the moment. And please correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Rojo play left back for Argentina/Spartak? I assumed that was his natural position, as he has never convinced me of his abilities at CB. Though not my favourite, I think Xandao should be starting with Carrico at the back. Rojo is too uncomfortable, and Bhoularouz is a liability. His sending off today was very unnecessary. Yes it was dangerous but we still had a couple guys back to cover for him.

I enjoyed the throw back to the Schaars and Rinaudo midfield partnership, it seemed to work ok. I also thought that Adrien had a decent game. Capel looked dangerous once he came on with his direct running and looking for a cross or shot.

There were a great deal of chances wasted. It really was an almost relentless attack by sporting for much of the game. Lots of opportunities, but just could not make the final ball work.

The red card was a real blow at a time where we were pressing well. Genk was more or less reduced to counter attacks and trying to win set pieces. Its frusterating of course, but I hope the new coach will bring stability.

Although it is difficult, it is still possible to progress from this group. I strongly doubt Videoton's abilities away from home, and Genk really is fortunate to be where they are at the moment. Both videoton and Genk have relied on their home form to be where they are at the moment. Two wins in Lisbon against these teams is not impossible, nor is getting a result away to Basel. I am still optimistic, maybe a little bit blindly...

Forca Leos.
will there be patience?
3 Thursday, 25 October 2012 22:10
We'll see what the new manager can do. It will take time to settle. I still feel there's quality there.
2 Thursday, 25 October 2012 20:51
The sporting glory days are well well behind us, I rate them in the same catagory as Maritimo, Nacional, Guimaraes, and will battle just to make it into the top 5.
1 Thursday, 25 October 2012 20:19
I have finally learned to not let Sporting's dismal run of form get to me anymore. I am just waiting for improvements to start happening. It's the only way I can keep sane.

I think one of the biggest issues that I din't foresee happening at the start of the season, when there was so much hope, is the defense. The defense has been awful. There have been two many defensive mistakes and having both of Genk's goals coming off of corner kicks is terrible. This sutiation needs to be fixed, they have to tighten up the back. Also, we all kow Boulahrouz is aggressive and doesn't shy away from tackling, but don't do it at the expense of the team. Come on.

Other biggest constant issue is the finishing. It just isn't there. I can't blame the midfield and the wings for not providing a pipeline to Ricky, because they are giving him looks, and I know Ricky can score, he scored plenty of times last year, and the year before when he was in Holland. So, I am really starting to think that on top of Ricky not being at his best right now, this team is just cursed right now with terrible luck. Even when they aren't playing at their best, when scoring chances are provided, the ball is bouncing off the cross bar, being deflected by a goalkeeper's finger or just plain not wanting to hit the back of the net. It is beyond frustrating.

Anyways, I'm tired of all of this, but if I can take anything positive from today, it's that Sporting played with a higher sense of urgency than I have seen them recently and that they attacked, attacked and pressed. Which is good. I hope that Franky Vercauteren can impart some new ideas and get this team playing the way they should. Sporting has a very good squad, they just aren't playing like a good squad.

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