Coates goal earns win over Moreirense FC
Sporting CP win 1-0 on Matchday 9
Back in Liga Portugal action at home after the European triumph over Beşiktaş JK in midweek, Sporting Clube de Portugal bested Moreirense FC 1-0 on Matchday 9 of the season. Despite the numerous opportunities created, it would be a lone goal from Sebastián Coates' that gave the team their fourth consecutive victory.
For the first time this season, the Estádio José Alvalade had full capacity permitted, leading to an attendance of 35,882 fans.
Coach Rúben Amorim made two changes to the starting XI from the contest in Turkey: Nuno Santos and Daniel Bragança came in, with Zouhair Feddal and Matheus Nunes left on the bench. Once the match started, Nuno Santos set up stall on the left wing, as Matheus Reis moved to the left side of the central trio. Bragança accompanied João Palhinha in midfield.
Moreirense FC tried to attack early, but the first real chances were for first Sporting CP, through Paulinho and Pedro Porro: Paulinho, inside the area, shot over, then Porro tried a lob from way out that went off target.
In his 50th game for Sporting CP, goalkeeper Antonio Adán was first threatened by a Rafael Martins effort, which he was able to block.
Coates would break the deadlock at the end of the opening quarter hour, off a perfectly placed Pablo Sarabia corner met by the captain with his head to make it 1-0.
From there, Sporting CP took control of the ball and kept the visitors occupied in their own half. Organised at the back, very mobile in attack and with Bragança's skills delighting the fans present, Os Leões were only let down by their finishing: First, Pedro Gonçalves, from distance, missed the target, then Paulinho gathered a loose ball in the box and struck slightly over the top.
The momentum continued into the second half, which began with clear opportunities to extend the lead. Silva was able to clear an attempt by Paulinho, and then the forward was set up again to go inches away from scoring. A timid header by Walterson, of Moreirense FC, followed, before Sarabia came close from a free kick.
After 67 minutes, Amorim made the first substitution, putting Matheus Nunes – playing his 50th game in the league – on in Sarabia's place.
Attempts by Palhinha and Nuno Santos were unsuccessful, and the former was taken off as a series of substitutions were made: Paulinho was replaced by Tiago Tomás, then Manuel Ugarte and Ricardo Esgaio came on for Palhinha and Pedro Gonçalves.
The result would remain 1-0, with Sporting CP winning and moving up to 23 points. They next play on Tuesday (9:15pm local time) against FC Famalicão, at the Estádio José Alvalade, in the First Round of Group B of the Taça da Liga.
Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK], Pedro Porro, Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates [C], Matheus Reis, Nuno Santos, João Palhinha (Manuel Ugarte 85'), Daniel Bragança, Pedro Gonçalves (Ricardo Esgaio 85'), Pablo Sarabia (Matheus Nunes 67') and Paulinho (Tiago Tomás 77').