Sporting and Porto went head to head this Tuesday night in the first match of the Portuguese League Cup’s Final Four.
It is safe to say that this game had more action before the players stepped onto the pitch. In the last week, both Sporting and Porto announced several Covid-19 positive cases. Between them were Sporting’s Andraz Sporar and Liverpool target Nuno Mendes. However, controversy broke out as Sporting announced a few days later that the players’ tests had been false positives and two other tests had come back negative. Therefore, the club announced that the players would be available for the ‘Classico’ clash.
Nevertheless, the news didn’t go down well in the north. Porto immediately expressed their disagreement with the decision. In fact, the Portuguese champions threatened not to play if the players stepped onto the pitch. Despite this, the match went on as planned after Portugal’s health authorities banned Sporar and Mendes from being in the selected squad.
Porto took control of the match from the beginning and they were the most dangerous side in a slightly dull first half. The most exciting moment came in a very confusing play. Porto’s Joao Mario put Nuno Santos on the floor and a lack of communication between Coates and Adan gave Marega the opportunity to hit the woodwork.
In the second half, the game continued at the same pace but this time with Sporting coming slightly on top. However, Marega put Porto in the lead in an impressive way. The striker grabbed the ball in the middle of the field and ran across it with six Sporting players surrounding him. Although Marega’s strike wasn’t the best he’s ever delivered, Adan’s poor positioning and lack of view caused the goalkeeper to stand and watch as the ball slowly entered the net.
Cabral led Sporting to an amazing comeback.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t the time for Sporting to give up on the game yet. Manager Ruben Amorim will have Jovane Cabral to thank for his team’s presence in the Cup final. The wonder substitute scored a brace in under ten minutes and gave the Sportinguistas a very happy night. At the 86th minute mark, the 22-year-old received the scraps of Mbemba’s head clearance and scored an amazing goal that left Costa with no chance of saving the shot.
Just seven minutes later, Jovane sent a clear message to Ruben Amorim that he should be in the starting line-up next game. In the last chance of the match, Pedro Goncalves assisted the forward who calmly put the ball in the net with the outside of his foot.
The Lions will now wait for the result of this Wednesday’s clash between Benfica and Braga. After the match, they will find out who they’ll be facing at the final of the Allianz Cup.
Sporting: Adan (4), Feddal (5), Coates (5), Inacio (6), Porro (6), Antunes (5), Mario (5), Palhinha (6), Santos (5), Tomas (6), Goncalves (7).
Bench: Matheus (5), Cabral (8), Plata (5), Braganca (5).
Porto: Costa (6), Mbemba (5), Pepe (5), Leite (5), Corona (7), Uribe (6), Grujic (5), Mario (5), Zaidu (6), Anderson (7), Marega (7).
Bench: Manafa (5), Martinez (5), Nanu (5), Vieira (N/A).
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