O Sporting ended the pre-season tests this Saturday, with a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton, at the Algarve stadium, thus making a balance of five wins, five draws and one defeat.
The lions didn’t start well in the game, largely due to the high pressure imposed by Bruno Lage’s men, which caused numerous errors by Sebastián Coates and Gonçalo Inácio, and invariably forced the team to play long, resulting in lost ball after ball lost.
The Portuguese central defender was, moreover, directly linked to the English goal, which opened the scoring, just after the 15th minute of the game, as he committed the penalty on Pedro Neto that resulted in the goal by Rúben Neves.
Gradually, the greens and whites were ‘freeing themselves from the shackles’, and restored equality even before the whistle for the break. Nathan Collins brought down Paulinho in the penalty area, and Pedro Gonçalves did not hesitate, shooting into the back of the goal from the 11-meter mark.
The second half ended up being very different, from the point of view of aggression. The ‘disagreements’ between players multiplied, in such a way that, five minutes after returning from the changing rooms, five yellow cards were already counted.
With the passing of the minutes, the teams were losing intensity, and, with few more important opportunities, ‘they were content’ with a 1-1 draw, turning, now, all attention to the start of the ‘painful’ season.
Sporting visits Sporting de Braga, next Sunday, for the opening day of the I Liga. The day before, Wolverhampton travel to Leeds United for the first round of the new edition of the Premier League.
Magnifying glass reinforcements
Some nervousness on the part of the former Juventus goalkeeper, although he rarely called for intervention. He alternated good runs from the posts with some hesitations that could have turned out to be fatal, and he didn’t convey great confidence with the ball at his feet either. He could have done little to prevent Rúben Neves from scoring a penalty.
Another positive performance by the midfielder hired from Santa Clara, particularly in the defensive chapter, where he stood out for his aggressiveness in individual duels. With the ball, he did what island fans are used to, always playing simple, with one / two touches, with speed of reasoning, but never neglecting the criterion.
The forward acquired from Barcelona is still far from reaching the levels that the potential shown at the service of Sporting de Braga augured. Although he was never afraid to face opponents in one-on-one and to try shots from afar, he was rarely happy, with the exception of an attack, in the 73rd minute, which crossed the goal post in the guard of José Sá.
The young Ghanaian promise was launched onto the field by Rúben Amorim, in the 83rd minute, to replace Francisco Trincao, and was ‘devilish’ from the first moment. He always tried to have the ball at his feet, and even ‘smelled’ the goal just two minutes after entering, when he received a pass from Ricardo Esgaio, flexed to the center and shot over the bar.
The ex-Vitória SC came on, too, in the 83rd minute, to fill the vacancy left open by the departure of Pedro Gonçalves, and, although more discreet than the Ghanaian, he also left, here and there, some good details.
Eleven: franc Israel; Pedro Porro, Matheus Reis, Coates, Gonçalo Inácio, Nuno Santos; Morita, Matheus Nunes; Trincao, Pedro Gonçalves and Paulinho.
Also played: Marcus Edwards, Ricardo Esgaio, Fatawu Issahaku and Rochinha.
Did not play: André Paulo, Diego Callai, Jeremiah St. Juste, Luís Neto, Dário Essugo, Bruno Tabata (remained on the bench), Antonio Adán, Manuel Ugarte and Daniel Bragança (injured).
Also read: Penalty here, penalty there. Sporting closes pre-season with a draw
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