New England Soccer Today

Sporting Update

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After their embarrassing 2-2 draw to cellar-dwelling Tondela, Sporting – which took the time to loan B team center back Sambinha to the Revolution last week – were looking to forget that result, one which saw their lead over Benfica get cut down to two points for the league title. But what awaited the Leoes was a mixed bag of good and bad.

The good: Sporting returned to their winning ways in league action, following up the draw to Tondela with a 3-1 win at Pacos de Ferreira, with Islam Slimani leading away again with two more goals. This game was never in doubt for Sporting as they dominated in all statistical categories, and even led 2-0 before conceding their lone goal against. The win also helped maintain their narrow lead over Benfica after they, too, won their league match against Arouca. The Leoes next match will be against Academica on Saturday.

The bad: Before their league match up at Pacos de Ferreira, Sporting had a mid-week League Cup match against second-division side Portimonense, a former Sporting affiliate. A reserve-laden lineup struggled against the lower-division Portimonense, and as a result, were forced to stomach a 2-0 loss. While the League Cup isn’t a high-priority for the current Portuguese Liga pole-sitters, this loss still did not sit well with fans, especially against a second-division team.

Transfer rumors: Along with Slimani, winger Carlos Mane, who also has been rumored to be leaving Lisbon since the summer, has been heavily linked with a January move to Hamburg from the German Bundesliga. Mane, 21, made his senior team debut in the 13/14 season, and has seen his minutes drastically reduced this season with the emergence of another young academy winger, Gelson Martins.

The table:

1. SPORTING CP-48 points
2. Benfica-46 points
3. Porto-43 points
4. Braga-35 points

Top scorers:

1. Jonas (Benfica) 19 goals
2. Slimani (SCP) 16 goals
3. Bruno Moreira (P. Ferreira) 12 goals

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