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Photo by José Lorvão

Chermiti goal earns Sporting CP three points

By Sporting CP
07 Feb, 2023

The striker opens his account in a 0-1 win over Rio Ave FC

A maiden goal from Youssef Chermiti earned Sporting Clube de Portugal a 0-1 win over Rio Ave FC on Liga Portugal Matchday 19, as the young talent struck in the 84th minute on a cold night in Vila do Conde.

Opponents Rio Ave FC started the game in 13th place and, although they came into the contest after five league games without a win, they already showed their capabilities by beating FC Porto by 3-1 on Matchday 4.

Sporting CP had beaten SC Braga 5-0 in their previous fixture, and coach Rúben Amorim made only one change from the starting lineup from that game. Matheus Reis was brought in to replace Sebastián Coates, who had picked up a fifth booking of the season and was suspended.

The 18 year old Chermiti continued as starting striker in place of the also suspended Paulinho – serving the second of a three-game ban– and winter reinforcements Ousmane Diomande and Héctor Bellerín were part of the squad for the first time. They joined the returning Jovane Cabral on the bench.

After an even initial ten minutes, in which Luís Freire's Rio Ave FC were able to press harder, Sporting CP started to feel more and more comfortable on a fast playing surface, and started to take control of the ball. They alternated between trying to either give width to their play or find Chermiti up front.

Pedro Gonçalves found himself in a good position for the first shot of the game, which was blocked, and Hidemasa Morita, on the edge of the area, struck hard and wide after twenty minutes. However, despite Sporting CP's ascendancy, the home team remained organised and also tried to attack from transitions and corners.

A first half of few chances ended 0-0, but right after the restart it was Rio Ave FC who threatened for the first time: Boateng ran towards the area and only a huge stop by captain Antonio Adán prevented a goal.

In the 55th minute, Amorim brought on Francisco Trincão and Arthur Gomes, taking off Marcus Edwards and Nuno Santos -who was at risk of a sending off after picking up a yellow card. Around ten minutes later, Gonçalves came very close to scoring with a shot from outside the area that hit the crossbar.

Cabral's introduction for Ricardo Esgaio moved Trincão to the right wing, and there was a steady stream of approaches into the opponent's area, but Sporting CP found it hard to get through the organised Rio Ave FC defence.

Finally, in the 84th minute, an excellent diagonal pass by Gonçalo Inácio found Chermiti in space, and the young striker showed the necessary efficiency, lashing the ball into the net. It was the teenager's first goal for the Sporting CP first team, and was effusively celebrated by the players and by the approximately one thousand Sportinguistas in the stands.

Diomande and Bellerín both came on to make their debuts in a final stretch in which, despite the home team's efforts, Sporting CP held out for a second consecutive victory and a clean sheet.

Sporting CP remain in fourth place in the table, with 38 points. Next up, they play FC Porto in 'O Clássico.'

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK] [C], Ricardo Esgaio (Jovane Cabral, 75'), Jeremiah St. Juste, Gonçalo Inácio, Matheus Reis (Ousmane Diomande, 87'), Nuno Santos (Arthur Gomes, 55'), Manuel Ugarte, Hidemasa Morita, Marcus Edwards (Francisco Trincão, 55'), Pedro Gonçalves (Héctor Bellerín, 87') and Youssef Chermiti.