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Saturday, 22 February 2014 22:40

Sporting come from behind to win at Rio Ave

Substitutes Slimani and Mané decisive

mane-slimani-celebs-20140222.jpgSporting came from behind to beat Rio Ave in Vila do Conde tonight. The hosts were on top for the opening hour, and deserved their lead, albeit obtained fortuitously as Maurício turned a cross into his own net. But second-half substitutes Slimani and Mané scored fine goals in a strong final 30 minutes from Sporting to give the Lions all three points.

Rio Ave coach Nuno Espírito Santo continues to build a reputation as one of Portugal's more promising up-and-coming tacticians, and the hosts came into the game in good heart having recently booked their place in the Taça da Liga final. Sporting were no doubt expecting a tough match, and that is exactly what they got.

It began promisingly for the visitors, who won a series of corners in the opening exchanges. But Sporting's bright start soon petered out as Rio Ave began to gain the upper hand in a well-disputed match. Edimar, Braga and Diego Lopes had all tried their luck without finding their aim, before Rio Ave came desperately close to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour mark. A cross caused chaos in the Sporting defence, with Diego Lopes' shot from close range cleared off the line by Maurício, and Patríco having to react smartly to save Hassan's follow-up effort.

Sporting failed to get anything going in attacking terms in the first half, and there was no change in the pattern of the game after the interval. Nuno Lopes shot over with his left foot before Rio Ave got the goal their more enterprising play merited in the 52nd minute. Sporting left-back Jefferson made an uncharacteristic mistake, carelessly losing the ball in a dangerous position, and Diego Lopes' cross hit the retreating Maurício and dribbled into the net past the wrong-footed Patrício.

Slimani makes his mark

Leonardo Jardim reacted quickly, bringing on Slimani for Wilson Eduardo, and Sporting immediately improved. Heldon came close to an equaliser, firing into the side-netting, as the Lions began to exert constant pressure on the home side.

Slimani, as he has done so often this season, gave Sporting a much-needed cutting edge in attack, and the Algerian headed in the equaliser in the 70th minute following a superb dribble and cross by Jefferson, the Brazilian making amends for his earlier blunder. Sporting were now pushing hard for a winner, and Slimani almost scored again as his header from a Heldon cross was only kept out by an excellent diving save from Rio Ave goalkeeper Elderson.

With five minutes remaining teenager Carlos Mané added to his burgeoning reputation by scoring a marvellous goal, expertly steering an 18-yard volley into the bottom corner of the net while falling backwards. The 19 year-old made his full senior debut little over a month ago. He marked the occasion with a spectacular goal, and tonight's strike made it four goals in total since then. Moreover, Mané scored Sporting's match-winning goal for the second weekend running.

It was not Sporting's best performance of the season, but Leonardo Jardim will be delighted with the character shown to come from behind against quality opposition. The win moves Sporting back up to second, at least until FC Porto play tomorrow, at home to Estoril, and cuts the gap to leaders Benfica to two points having played a game more than their Lisbon neighbours.

by Tom Kundert

Rio Ave:
Elderson, Nuno Lopes, Rodríguez, Marcelo, Edimar, Tarantini, Filipe Augusto, Diego (Roderick, 88'), Pedro Santos (Renato Santos, 87'), Hassan (Joeano, 76'), Braga

Rui Patrício, Cédric, Maurício, Eric Dier, Jefferson, William, André Martins (Mané, HT), Adrien, Wilson Eduardo (Slimani, 55'), Montero, Heldon (Carrillo, 79')

[1-0] Maurício (o.g.), 52'
[1-1] Slimani, 70'
[1-2] Carlos Mané, 85'

Comments (4)
Ricardo Quaresma
4 Monday, 24 February 2014 07:46
Jalil Malik/Pakistan
Jon you are against quaresma that he is not responsible player i am also agree with you but dear just watch quaresma's game vs estoril just see that he played that game with pure responsibility he made no mistake he is so talented guy just need our support otherwize after ronaldo he is in pure form and deserves to play in worldcup.. i hope when he will play for portugal in world cup he will play with more responsibility and will remain in contact with ronaldo with the ball.. i fully agree with you that mane and rafa both are soo talented guys but i think rafa should call up for world cup and mane should not.. just let him and allow him to be consistent with his performance.. i hope nani will back in his supereme form as he was in euro 2012 after that our team will soooo soooo strong in world cup with presence of ronaldo,nani,varela and quaresma.. our midfield is soo strong in presence of moutinho,fernando,veloso,josue,carvalho and rafa silva our defence is in class form with pepe and bruno alves.. coentrao need just some playing time he will back in his form and periera tooo.. see almieda scoring beautiful goals for besiktas.. just need one more striker in form after that our team will favourite for worldcup.. forca portugal
the legendary shirt suits well Carlos Mané
3 Monday, 24 February 2014 03:23
Z/ Canada
Carlos Mané is yet another promising young talent that comes out of the blue to help pick up crucial points for Sporting

yet another young Portuguese shining in the legendary green and white holy and sacred shirt of Sporting Clube de Portugal.

this shirt' legends continues to grow.. the club has finally a proper president who will sign the youth to long term deals with high buy out clauses, has shunned FC Porto...
makes smart signings like Jefferson, Slimani, Montero, even Heldon looks a good pickup for the squad for cheap

Not too many people were talking about William Carvalho before this season...

SCP may not be champions this season but I am convinced they will soon return to being champions and that they will become a dominating force once again like they were in the 1940s and 1950s.
Rafa Silva and Mané
2 Sunday, 23 February 2014 18:11
I fully agree with you Jon/ USA I was about to mention these 2 youngsters who are impressing enough to get a call-up! Hope that Bento see what we saw and include some youngsters especially that Bruma is still injured and might not recover before the world cup... so Rafa and Mané!! Bring'em on!
1 Sunday, 23 February 2014 00:30
There's been a lot a talk about Quaresma getting a possible call-up to the national team due to the injuries of Nani, Vieirinha, and Bruma. As he proved the other day, he is still capable of conjuring up a bit of magic every now and then, but he is still Quaresma; he's still an immature, selfish player who is clearly past his prime.

Therefore, I would much rather see Bento incorporate some fresh new faces for the upcoming friendly against Cameroon. Rafa Silva and Mane in particular are two extremely exciting young prospects who have done more than enough to warrant a call-up. Both players are young, hungry, and more than capable of playing at the highest level.

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