New England Soccer Today

Sporting CP Update


The Jorge Jesus era at Sporting Clube Portugal is off to a great start, to say the least.

After conquering the Portuguese Super Cup to start the 2015/2016 campaign, Sporting began the league action against top-flight debutants Tondela. Tondela were second division champions last season, and won their first promotion to the first division in Portugal. Needless to say, they were looking to impress in their first match.

Despite having the majority of possession, shots, it would take a very late (97th minute) stoppage time penalty kick shot for Sporting to beat Tondela, 2-1. Joao Mario opened the scoring in the 15th minute, but Luis Alberto tied the game in the 58th minute. New captain Adrien, who is the primary penalty kick taker, successfully converted the game-winner.

Sporting didn’t get much time to celebrate their season-opening victory, though. On Tuesday, they hosted CSKA Moscow in the first leg of the Champions League play-off. In a rematch of the 2005 UEFA Cup finals, Sporting CP, who happened to serve as host for that year’s final, lost to CSKA Moscow 3-1 after leading 1-0 at half-time. Four of CSKA starters from that fateful night in 2005 were on the 18, with four of them starting: Igor Akinfeev, twins Vasili and Aleksei Berezutskiy, and Igor Ignashevich.

Sporting would get some small form of revenge with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Teo Gutierrez and Islam Slimani. Of course, the job is only half done here, so a 1-0 loss in the next leg is enough to knock Sporting out of the tournament. But if they get a similar performance from goalkeeper Rui Patricio – who returned to sainthood with the fans after saving a penalty shot in the first half when it was still 1-0 – then it might be all they need to advance.

The return leg is Wednesday in Moscow.

Video of the first leg can be viewed here.

Leave a Reply