New England Soccer Today

Sporting CP Update


Sporting CP began Week 2 of the Portuguese league at home for their first home game of the new season. They hosted Pacos de Ferreira, and were looking to start the league a perfect two-for-two. With back-to-back mid week games in the Champions League playoff, manager Jorge Jesus rested a couple of regulars, a move that didn’t seem to affect their form early on after they took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to Andre Carrillo.

But controversy seems to be biting Sporting again early this season and often. Sporting’s Joao Pereira was called for a foul in his own penalty box – a weak call, in my opinion – and was sent off with a straight red card. The ensuing penalty kick was converted by Pele (on loan from Benfica) and Sporting, down to 10 men for the last 10 minutes, failed to score another goal as the game ended 1-1.

Meanwhile, a mid-week matchup against CSKA Moscow, in Moscow for a spot in the Champions League group stage awaited Sporting. Not only would this be prestigious for the Leoes, but also for Portugal, which has three teams in the Champions League competition in successive years. Also, the 14 million Euro payday for qualifying would of been nice, especially after an expensive offseason.

Sporting started the day with a 2-1 aggregate lead. A 1-0 loss would be enough to eliminate Sporting. But late in the first half, as CSKA was starting to own the game, Teo Gutierrez scored for Sporting. With a 3-1 series lead at half time, this was Sporting’s game to lose – and lose they did. CSKA stormed back with a fury during the second half to stake a 3-1 win to advance.

CSKA’s Seydou Doumbia absolutely crushed Sporting. He scored CSKA’s only goal in the first leg, then scored two more in the return match for the 3-1 win. More controversy followed Sporting in this game. Doumbia’s first goal should not of been allowed to count, as the ball bounced off his elbow and in for the goal, all this during a free kick where one of the referees was standing behind the net but did not see it.

Making matters worse, Sporting had a goal disallowed after going down 3-1, on a corner kick when Andre Carrillo’s service was ruled to have gone over the goal line before curving back into play before Islam Slimani headed it through.

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