Sporting CP fall to first Champions League defeat
A ten-men side lose 4-1 to Olympique Marseille
Sporting Clube de Portugal lost 4-1 to Olympique Marseille on Matchday 3 of Champions League Group D, playing with ten men for much of the game due to a sending off for Antonio Adán.
The match, which was played behind closed doors due to the UEFA ban imposed on the home team, started with a delay of 25 minutes, due to the Sporting CP bus having been delayed in traffic.
The starting lineup consisted of Antonio Adán, Gonçalo Inácio, Jeremiah St. Juste, Matheus Reis, Ricardo Esgaio, Manuel Ugarte, Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos, Francisco Trincão, Marcus Edwards and Pedro Gonçalves.
Sporting CP started the match well and took the lead in the first minute with a goal from Trincão who, after receiving the ball from Marcus Edwards, worked his way down the right shot in a swooping effort to make it 0 -1.
Gonçalves had the opportunity to score a second, when the opposition made a save, and the reaction from Olympique Marseille was not long in coming.
The equaliser arrived in the 14th minute due to misfortune for Adán. The shot-stopper tried to recover a ball back, but Alexis Sánchez intercepted and scored.
The home team followed that up with a goal from Harit to take the score to 2-1.
Sporting CP tried to respond with the ball, while Olympique Marseille continued to press high. In the 23rd minute another setback occured: Adán attempted to take the ball away from Nuno Tavares in the air, but did so outside the area and was sent off for handball.
With his team reduced to ten men, coach Rúben Amorim took off Edwards for Franco Israel to come on as replacement goalkeeper. The home team then benefited from a corner, managing to make it 3-1 through Balerdi.
At halftime, Amorim made more changes, introducing Paulinho, Sotiris, José Marsà and Flávio Nazinho to replace Nuno Santos, Manuel Ugarte, Pedro Gonçalves and Jeremiah St. Just.
Sporting CP were organised, defending more solidly and also managing to build some moves near the opposition area. Sotiris, in the 51st minute, had a chance off a ball from Ricardo Esgaio, shooting wide from the edge of the area.
Sotiris shot again from the perimeter shortly afterwards, but this time the shot was blocked by the defence.
From there, no clear-cut opportunities followed, until Marseille took the score to 4-1 in the final five minutes.
Sporting CP suffered their first loss in the Champions League this term, after two consecutive victories, and will play Olympique Marseille again next Wednesday at Alvalade.