New England Soccer Today

Sporting CP Update 1/18

Photo credit: Reuters

Photo credit: Reuters

Following recent league wins over title-chasing rivals FC Porto and Braga, Sporting were looking forward to extending their winning ways against bottom of the table Tondela, but could only muster a point following a controversy-ridden 2-2 draw.

What happened: Goalie Rui Patricio was sent off in the 31st minute after taking down Nathan Junior in the penalty box while challenging for a 50/50 ball. Despite Rui’s best efforts to avoid contact, a red card was issued, as well as a penalty kick.

Despite staring at a one-goal deficit at halftime, and down a man, Sporting was able to claw back in the second half with goals from Island Slimani, who has been white hot lately, and young rising star Gelson Martins. But five minutes before full time, Tondela equalized on a Salvador Perez strike and held on for the 2-2 tie.

Transfer buzz: After scoring against Tondela, Slimani, who is the league’s second leading scorer with 14 goals, has predictably attracted the attention of potential suitors in the EPL. Linked for a while now with moves to a Premier League team, recent reports state that Crystal Palace had a 15 million pound bid rejected, with Manchester United also eyeing a bid for his services.

Top of the table news: After the tie, Benfica cut Sporting’s lead for the title by two points following their win over Estoril. Meanwhile, FC Porto were upset following their 1-0 loss to Guimaraes.

Next up: The Leoes will travel to Estádio da Mata Real to face Paços de Ferreira on Saturday.

Table after Matchday 18:

1. Sporting 45 points
2. Benfica 43 points
3. Porto 40 points
4. Braga 32 points

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