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Saturday, 22 March 2014 22:58

Sporting pass Marítimo test

Lions win in Madeira to put pressure on rivals

william-adrien-20140322.jpgGoals from Adrien (penalty), William Carvalho and Jefferson gave Sporting a crucial 3-1 victory at Marítimo, for whom Weeks netted. Both Benfica and Porto had lost their league games at Marítimo this season, and the victory draws second place Sporting to within four points of leaders Benfica, while extending their lead over Porto to eight points, ahead of their rivals' games tomorrow.

There was an explosive start to the game with two goals in the opening minutes. Mané earned a penalty for Sporting after just two minutes. The young winger was quick to pounce on the ball in the box, and Márcio Rozário clumsily shoved him to the ground, making it an easy decision for the referee. Adrien made no mistake from the spot to give the Lions the perfect start.

Marítimo hit straight back with a wonderfully worked goal. A swift move saw Danilo Dias cut infield and play an incisive pass to the edge of the box, where Nuno Rocha's clever back-heel teed up Weeks. The Liberian midfielder, who has impressed in his debut season in Portugal, struck a low first-time shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards giving Rui Patrício no chance.

Adrien-William axis on song

Leonardo Jardim had selected an attacking team, with the quartet of Capel, Mané, Slimani and Héldon leaving midfield and defensive duties in the hands of just two players - William Carvalho and Adrien. The Sporting coach's option was no doubt influenced by the magnificent form of the duo, and they were again outstanding, looking a cut above all other players on the pitch. It was apt, therefore, that William should strike to reward Sporting's clear first-half ascendancy. A corner was half cleared, and William's firmly hit volley flew past Marítimo goalkeeper Salin, with the aid of a deflection.

Sporting were good value for their 2-1 lead at the interval, but the islanders came back strongly in the second half. The skilful Derley was proving a constant threat, and young midfielder Danilo Pereira also got more into the game. Pereira is starting to realise the promise at senior level which he first showed with a steller role in Portugal's run to the U20 World Cup final in 2011.

Derley shines 

From a counter-attack Slimani was close to finding the net for the fifth successive game, his low shot well saved by Salin, but it was Marítimo who were looking the more likely to score against an increasingly ragged Sporting. Derley came close twice with headers, before the Brazilian displayed some wonderful skill to completely bamboozle Maurício and lay on a great chance for Danilo Dias, who could only blaze the opportunity over the bar.

It proved a costly miss as two minutes later Jefferson scored Sporting's third to kill the game. A well-timed interception by Adrien triggered a Sporting counter, the left-back speeding down the flank before sliding the ball beneath Salin and into the net.

The win further boosts Sporting's ambitions of finishing second and qualifying directly for the Champions League group stage, as well as keeping alive their hopes of catching Lisbon rivals Benfica to snatch the championship title.

by Tom Kundert

Romain Salin, Márcio Rosário, Gegé (Luís Olim, 45), Patrick Bauer, João Diogo, Danilo Pereira, Nuno Rocha (Fransergio, 66), Theo Weeks, Artur (Sami, 69), Danilo Dias, Derley

Rui Patricio, Jefferson, Cédric Soares, Mauricio, Marcos Rojo, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Carlos Mané, Diego Capel (André Carrillo, 74), Héldon (Fredy Montero, 78), Islam Slimani (Vitor Silva, 88)

[0-1] Adrien (pen], 2'
[1-1] Weeks, 6'
[1-2] William Carvalho, 38'
[1-3] Jefferson, 84'

Comments (3)
Williams Replacement
3 Sunday, 23 March 2014 10:37
Oscar, Australia
Danilo Pareira would be a perfect replacement for William thi summer, he has been excellent for maritimo lately
2 Sunday, 23 March 2014 08:04
nishu dsouza/mangalore
Wow! Carvalho is a beast!
Fair result
1 Sunday, 23 March 2014 00:24
3-1 seems like a correct score could've been 4-2 ;) I think 2nd & 3rd place will be decided at National's ground with Porto & Sporting having to play there. Sporting's real challenging games coming at the last 2 games can't see them dropping more points till then and with Porto having to play Braga & National before away too and then Benfica being the last game. Benfica only real challenge would be with Braga... if they beat Braga the league is theirs surely.

Let's hope Europa League can help Sporting out a little ;)
Taca De Liga & Portugal can also help out aswell :)

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