Sporting CP lose out in Taça da Liga final
The team are beaten 0-2 by FC Porto in Leiria
Sporting Clube de Portugal missed out on a third consecutive Taça da Liga, losing 0-2 in the final of the competition against FC Porto at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria.
Coach Rúben Amorim made two changes to the starting eleven from the semifinal against FC Arouca, fielding a lineup of Antonio Adán, Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates, Matheus Reis, Pedro Porro, Manuel Ugarte, Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos, Marcus Edwards, Paulinho and Pedro Goncalves.
Os Leões started the match well, not letting the opposition into their area in the first few minutes, but steadily it turned into an even contest with both teams trying to attack.
It ended up being FC Porto who drew first blood, on ten minutes, in a move from the right in which a cutback fell to Eustáquio, who fired in to make it 0-1.
Sporting CP went looking for an equaliser soon after and even had the ball in the net, when Pedro Gonçalves fed Marcus Edwards, goalkeeper Cláudio Ramos came out and the Englishman sent his effort in, but the goal ended up being disallowed for offside.
Ten minutes later, Gonçalves had a shot blocked by the defence, with Hidemasa Morita trying to lob the goalkeeper off the follow-up before Cláudio Ramos clawed the ball away.
Sporting CP remained more dangerous and, half an hour in, Morita tried to enter the box when he got past Pepe, but Marcano appeared to thwart the Japanese international.
In the 35th minute, Pedro Porro ran towards the area, shooting from the central channel and seeing his effort deflected onto the crossbar. The ball fell to Gonçalves, who shot on goal, and a defender put it onto the bar again. From the resulting corner, Sporting CP again threatened, as Gonçalves dug a shot over.
In the last five minutes of the first half, Paulinho had his strike tipped over by Cláudio Ramos, and Marcus Edwards tried to surprise the goalkeeper off the corner, to no avail.
Two more chances before the break were also dealt with, as the game went into the interval with the scoreline at 0-1.
Amorim kept the same lineup for the second half and the match resumed as it ended: With Sporting CP focused on attacking FC Porto's goal. Edwards was the first to provide a warning with a shot from distance, which went off target.
A first substitution was made before 60 minutes, as Nuno Santos was replaced by Abdul Fatawu.
The pace and quality of the match dropped thereafter, with many fouls, and the referee began handing out cards. A red for Paulinho, in the 72nd minute, for two rapid bookings, made things more difficult for Sporting CP.
Os Leões responded well and again attacked the opposition box, but Cláudio Ramos blocked another shot by Pedro Porro.
Against the run of play, from a move on the right, FC Porto made it 0-2, after Pepê's cross was met by Marcano at the far post.
In the remaining six minutes, Sporting CP continued with the same desire to level, and substitute Francisco Trincão nearly made it 1-2 after a Gonçalves cross, but the ball went wide and there would be no change in the scoreline.