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Photo by Isabel Silva/José Lorvão

Persistence continues perfect record

By Sporting CP
28 Aug, 2023

Sporting CP claim a 1-0 win against FC Famalicão

Sporting Clube de Portugal continued their perfect start to the Liga Portugal season with a 1-0 home win against FC Famalicão on Matchday 3. Os Leões now move to three victories in as many games, in what is already the best opening to a campaign since Rúben Amorim took charge.

With Jeremiah St. Juste the only player unavailable for the game due to injury, Amorim made just one change to the starting lineup that he had fielded against Casa Pia AC. Summer reinforcement Morten Hjulmand made his first start in midfield, alongside Morita, moving Pedro Gonçalves into the attacking trio alongside Paulinho and Gyökeres.

The night was also a debut for the team's new third kit, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Estádio José Alvalade was once again sold out. The fans saw their team take the reins right from the opening whistle. They settled in the opposing midfield and tried to find a way through, mostly through crosses which did not have the desired results.

However, it was only a matter of time before chances arrived. In the first, the ball fell to Paulinho and he dragged it towards goal, but goalkeeper Luiz Júnior prevented the opener with an instinctive save. Shortly afterwards, Paulinho met another cross, but this time a last-gasp intervention from the defence denied him.

At the same time there were sporadic attacks by FC Famalicão, with little danger. That could not be said about Sporting CP's chances:  Off a violent shot, Gyökeres forced a rebound and as the play continued Gonçalves also tried his luck, with Paulinho arriving slightly late for a final touch.

The end of the first half consisted mainly of stoppages that slowed down the play, but there was a close call from Gyökeres, who shot wide on the turn. The score remained unchanged at the interval, despite the dominance of the home side.

Sporting CP did not have to wait long after the restart for the opener, which came right at the beginning of the second half, in the 52nd minute. After Gonçalves had already threatened with a strike against the crossbar, Nuno Santos hit a free-kick into the area, Sebastián Coates headed on and Paulinho climbed higher than everyone else to score for the fourth time this season.

Even with a one-goal advantage, and with Geny Catamo and Matheus Reis brought on off the bench, Sporting CP continued to insist on attacking. Gyökeres came close to causing damage with a direct free kick, saved by Luiz Júnior, and shortly afterwards a move in the FC Famalicão area led the referee to consult VAR over possible handball, for which he did not award a penalty.

In the final minutes, Os Leões retreated and the away team had the ball for a longer period for the first time, but the best they managed was a long-range shot over the top. For Sporting CP, Daniel Bragança and Gonçalves were denied the team's second goal by excellent saves.

With this triumph, Sporting CP now have nine points, occupying the top of the table along with Vitória SC. Their next game is scheduled for Sunday, September 3rd, away to SC Braga.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK], Ousmane Diomande, Sebastián Coates [C], Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio (Matheus Reis, 66'), Morten Hjulmand (Daniel Bragança, 84'), Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos (Geny Catamo, 60'), Pedro Gonçalves, Paulinho (Francisco Trincão, 84') and Gyökeres.