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Photo by José Lorvão

Paulinho strike earns 0-1 win against Portimonense SC

By Sporting CP
05 Mar, 2023

The substitute gives Sporting CP their only goal in an away victory

A solitary goal from second half substitute Paulinho was enough to earn Sporting Clube de Portugal an away victory against Portimonense SC on Matchday 23 in Liga Portugal, as Os Leões continued a positive run of results.

Coach Rúben Amorim rang the changes in his starting XI, with Ousmane Diomande, Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio, Manuel Ugarte and Youssef Chermiti taking the places of Jeremiah St. Juste, Matheus Reis, Héctor Bellerín, Francisco Trincao and Paulinho.

Sporting CP took control from the opening minute, and attacks by Nuno Santos, Manuel Ugarte and Gonçalo Inácio in the first quarter of an hour set the tone for the game.

The first chance of note came in the 16th minute, when Marcus Edwards was played through by Ousmane Diomande and shot into the side netting. Soon after, off a corner, both Pedro Gonçalves and Hidemasa Morita tried to score, without success.

Ten minutes later, Morita set up Nuno Santos, who laid off to an unsuccessful Pedro Gonçalves. The same thing happened to Edwards, who met a cross from Gonçalves to the far post with a shot wide.

Portimonense SC's only shot in the first half was a free kick taken by Maurício, and the one-way traffic continued with Nuno Santos being brought down inside the area and a penalty being awarded to Sporting CP. Stepping up to take was Gonçalves, who struck his effort over the crossbar.

The 0-0 scoreline at half time was somewhat misleading, as Sporting CP had nine shots to Portimonense SC's one, as well as 76% possession.

The dominance only increased in the second 45 minutes, and opportunities came and went at a breakneck pace -Sporting CP lacking only effectiveness in front of goal.

Just after the restart, Edwards crossed and Park, in an attempt to cut the attack out, sent the ball against his own crossbar. Shortly afterwards, Gonçalves' shot from outside the area was met by excellent intervention by goalkeeper Kosuke for a corner, and on the following move Gonçalves was close to making it 0-1 again.

Ricardo Esgaio was also denied by Kosuke and Gonçalves hit the post, as Sporting CP enjoyed chance after chance.

In the 72nd minute, after Gonçalves had another effort blocked by Kosuke, Amorim decided to make an attacking change and replaced Manuel Ugarte with Paulinho.

The decision turned out to be the right one, as, in the 77th minute, Gonçalves found Paulinho with a precise cross and the striker met it beautifully to score his 12th goal of the season.

Portimonense SC had their only real attacks of the entire match in response, but Antonio Adán was steady and defended the few shots that came his way.

A 0-1 win earned Sporting CP three more points in the league. Their attentions now turn to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League, in which they host Arsenal in midweek.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK], Ousmane Diomande, Sebastián Coates [C] (Matheus Reis, 60'), Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio, Manuel Ugarte (Paulinho, 74'), Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos (Jeremiah St. Juste , 85'), Marcus Edwards (Francisco Trincão, 85'), Pedro Gonçalves and Youssef Chermiti.