New England Soccer Today

Sporting CP Update


Due to the FIFA international break, there was no Portuguese league action last week. Instead, the Portuguese National Team were busy with two games on tap – a friendly against France, and a Euro2016 qualifying match against Albania.

In their qualifying match on Monday, Portugal were looking for revenge after Albania shocked Portugal last September 1-0 in Portugal. The lone Sporting CP player to play against Albania was goalie Rui Patricio, who only saw one shot on target all night.

Although a much stronger side from top to bottom, Portugal would need all 90 minutes plus two minutes of stoppage time to score the only goal of the game. Former Sporting CP academy graduate and senior team midfielder Miguel Veloso returned to the Portuguese lineup and scored the match winner for the 1-0 win.

This result left Portugal on top of the group, and in prime position to qualify directly. Not only are they four points clear of Albania, who sit third in the group (playoff spot), but a Denmark tie against Armenia means Portugal sits three points ahead of Denmark with one game fewer played.

Portugal’s other match during the break was a friendly against France on Sept. 4. In this match, a trio of current SCP players started the game: Rui Patricio, as well as midfielders Adrien Silva and Joao Mario.

Despite a losing effort by Portugal, a 1-0 loss after a Valbuena rocket passed Rui Patricio, all three players put in a good shift. Rui Patricio would be busy between the posts, making seven saves, including some big saves to keep the score only at 1-0.

Portugal wraps up their qualifying against Denmark and Serbia next month. A direct qualifying spot (top two qualifies) is theirs to lose.

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