New England Soccer Today

Sporting Wins Portuguese Cup on PKs


Sporting Lisbon finished the 2014/15 season on a high note after it claimed the Portuguese Cup in dramatic fashion against Braga on Sunday.

Despite a 25th minute red card to Cedric Alves, and a two-goal deficit, Sporting clawed back to win it on penalties by the score of 2-2 (3-1 PKs).

Braga immediately took advantage of Alves’ dismissal as Eder opened the account in the 16th minute. Rafa Silva widened the gap in the 25th minute to put Braga in command of the match early. In fact, they were happy to bleed out the clock, give up possession, drop players into the box, and only attack when space was available.

Sporting were able to continue their pressure in the second half, but Braga’s keeper Stanislav Kritsyuk denied everything that came his way. Braga’s defenders were also blocking every shot, denying every cross and pass inside their penalty area.

Then in the 84th minute, miscommunication between Kritsyuk and his defense gave Islam Slimani an open net to shoot at, and despite having two Braga defenders trying to block and Kritsyuk recovering somewhat, Slimani still picked out the corner to bury it. But Sporting’s work was far from done if they were to grab their 15th Portuguese Cup on Sunday.

In the 90+3 minute, former Sounders striker Fredy Montero scored an improbable equalizer to send the match to extra time, where the two sides unable to find the go-ahead goal.

First time ever in the Portuguese Cup history, penalties were employed to determine the winner. Braga missed on three straight tries, and Slimani’s successful penalty sealed it for Sporting, which hoisted the Portuguese Cup trophy for the first time since 2008.

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