Late goal sees Sporting CP lose to SC Braga
‘Os Leões’ suffer a 1-2 setback in stoppage time at home
Despite dominating the contest, Sporting Clube de Portugal were beaten 1-2 by SC Braga on Liga Portugal Matchday 19, coming out empty handed from the game at the Estádio José Alvalade. A Pedro Gonçalves goal in the first half put the team ahead, but two strikes in the second half from their opponents denied them a share of the points.
Rúben Amorim made two changes from the match against FC Vizela last time out, fielding a starting XI of Antonio Adán, Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates, Zouhair Feddal, Ricardo Esgaio, Matheus Nunes, João Palhinha, Matheus Reis, Pedro Gonçalves, Paulinho and Pablo Sarabia.
Gonçalves provided the first warning after 11 minutes of play, with a low shot held by goalkeeper Matheus. Next to try his luck was Paulinho, who had a good opportunity for Sporting CP come back off Tormena.
SC Braga tried to respond, experiencing difficulties in bringing the ball out, and it wasn't until 19 minutes in that Ricardo Horta had their first shot -which ended up going wide of goal.
Sporting CP opened the scoring on 25 minutes, when Gonçalves was fed in the box by Matheus Nunes. He controlled with his right foot and pulled the trigger with his left, slotting the ball through the goalkeeper's legs. A VAR check confirmed that he was not offside, and the goal stood.
More opportunities followed for Sporting CP, including a shot by Gonçalves from a setup by Pablo Sarabia, which ended up going wide. A backheel from Paulinho just before the break was called offside, as the team nevertheless went into halftime 1-0 to the good.
SC Braga equalised at the beginning of the second half, and did so from a controversial penalty kick given against Matheus Reis. Galeno would beat Adán from the spot.
Gonçalves and Paulinho took turns to test the opposition goalkeeper on the hour mark, and Amorim decided to make an attacking change to bring on Bruno Tabata in search of another goal. The winger came close to scoring, when picked out by Gonçalves alone on the left, but he would strike off target.
In the 75th minute, Sarabia and João Palhinha were replaced by Jovane Cabral -returning after several weeks away due to injury- and Manuel Ugarte.
SC Braga benefited from an indirect free-kick inside the area, and Ricardo Horta's hit was blocked by the omnipresent Gonçalves. With eight more minutes of stoppage time added on, he himself nearly put Sporting CP back ahead, with Matheus denying him his second goal.
Eventually, it would be SC Braga who scored, in the 97th minute of play. Gonçalo Inácio lost the ball in a dangerous zone area, and Gorby shot low to beat Adán. Having been the better side, Sporting CP suffered a rare defeat at home.
The team will be in action again on Wednesday, in Leiria, against CD Santa Clara, in the semi-finals of the Taça da Liga.