Sporting CP win first home game of 2022/2023
Os Leões overcome Rio Ave FC 3-0 at the Estádio José Alvalade
Sporting Clube de Portugal were victorious on their home debut in the 2022/2023 season, beating Rio Ave FC 3-0 on Liga Portugal Matchday 2.
Coach Rúben Amorim made three changes to the starting XI: Luís Neto joined the centre back trio alongside Sebastián Coates and Gonçalo Inácio, moving Matheus Reis to the left wing, whilst Manuel Ugarte took the place of Hidemasa Morita and Marcus Edwards replaced the injured Paulinho, accompanying Pedro Gonçalves and Francisco Trincão in the attack.
Before kickoff, Matheus Nunes' 100th appearance for Sporting CP received an ovation around the stadium, which then fell silent in memory of Fernando Chalana.
Os Leões dominated possession and were very patient in their buildup, but the first chances near the Rio Ave area did not take long in coming. First, Marcus Edwards hit a low shot, held by goalkeeper Jhonatan, then Ugarte tried his luck without success.
From the middle of the first half, the team intensified the pressure and came close to scoring on three consecutive occasions. In the first, Edwards beat two defenders and shot over, then Pedro Porro struck from the middle and missed the target. Finally Trincao, in the most obvious opportunity of all, rattled the crossbar.
The first goal of the night came from Pedro Gonçalves, who was free in the six-yard-box and had only to tap in Edwards' cross on 36 minutes.
At the start of the second half, Gonçalves almost got a second goal on the turn, shooting wide of the post, but Rio Ave regrouped and employed a counterattacking strategy whenever possible.
In the 65th minute, Amorim refreshed the midfield with the introduction of Morita to replace Ugarte. The next minute, Matheus Nunes scored a great goal from distance that increased the score to 2-0 and brought the bench to its feet.
With 20 minutes to play, Jeremiah St. Juste and Rochinha came on. Once again, Sporting CP scored swiftly afterwards. In the 75th minute, following a combination with Trincão, Gonçalves went through on Jhonatan and lifted the ball coolly over the goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
Gonçalves hit the bar to be denied his hat trick, Coates came close with a header, and debutant Fatawu Issahaku nearly rounded off the scoring with a shot over, but the score remained 3-0 and Os Leões took their first win of the campaign.
Sporting CP will be back in action on Saturday, August 20th, away to FC Porto in O Clássico.
Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK], Luís Neto (Jeremiah St. Juste, 71’), Sebastián Coates [C], Gonçalo Inácio, Pedro Porro (Ricardo Esgaio, 80’), Manuel Ugarte (Hidemasa Morita, 65’), Matheus Nunes, Matheus Reis, Francisco Trincão (Fatawu Issahaku, 80’), Marcus Edwards (Rochinha, 71’) and Pedro Gonçalves.