One more win
A 90th minute strike gives Sporting CP a 2-3 triumph over SC Farense
Sporting Clube de Portugal beat SC Farense 2-3 on Liga Portugal Matchday 7, but had to push hard and only found a winner very close to the final whistle through Viktor Gyökeres.
Coach Rúben Amorim chose to make a single change from the team that beat Rio Ave FC 2-0, bringing back Gyökeres into the starting lineup in place of Paulinho.
SC Farense came into the game in 12th place and bolstered by the São Luís stadium, where they had accumulated three consecutive victories at home in all competitions.
Sporting CP started creating dangerous approaches on goal early on. Among the main threats were swerving crosses and two misplaced shots: One by Pedro Gonçalves from outside the area, and the other by Ricardo Esgaio with an acrobatic bicycle kick.
In these first 15 minutes, however, there was also an important setback for the Os Leões: Captain Sebastián Coates was forced off with an injury, and Matheus Reis came on in his place. Gonçalo Inácio took the central position in the defensive trio, Ousmane Diomande moved to the right and Reis occupied the left.
Sporting CP reacted and, just after twenty minutes, Gyökeres successfully converted a penalty to give them the lead. Furthermore, the ball hitting Gonçalo Silva's arm when Gonçalves' shot was heading towards goal, earned the SC Farense player a red card.
Nuno Santos, with a free kick, and Marcus Edwards, from outside the area, threatened without success, but Sporting CP – dominating play and reaching the final third with ease – did make it 0-2 after 35 minutes. Gonçalves met a loose ball off a corner with a low shot from the 'D'.
The resistant home side immediately responded with a goal, scored by Mattheus Oliveira from a direct free kick, and a match that seemed under Sporting CP's control quickly broke down during the final stretch of the first half -albeit with no impact on the scoreline. Even so, the best opportunities continued to belong to Sporting CP: Edwards and Gyökeres both had chances before the halftime whistle.
At the interval the decision was made to bring on striker Paulinho for Hjulmand, with Gonçalves retreating to midfield. Sporting CP started with more of the ball and promptly threatened the opponent's goal through a strike from Nuno Santos, but the story from the first half would be repeated and another direct free kick from Mattheus Oliveira, reestablished parity in the game.
Paulinho followed up by heading into the hands of Ricardo Velho and, immediately, Geny Catamo replaced Esgaio on the right wing before the hour.
The crosses into the box multiplied, although without a clear recipient until close to the 70th minute, when only a huge save by Ricardo Velho prevented Paulinho from scoring. In turn, in addition to being well organised, SC Farense - galvanised by their fans - took advantage of any opportunity to try a counterattack and, even down to ten men offered a good response.
After Inácio tried his luck from a distance, Gonçalves received the ball inside the area and shot across, coming very close to scoring. Soon after, Mattheus Oliveira appeared again at the other end and forced Antonio Adán into a save.
Amorim's final roll of the dice was the entry of Daniel Bragança for Nuno Santos, and it was on his team's last effort that they took the definitive lead: Edwards slinked into the area, was brought down and, once again, Gyökeres took responsibility from the spot, converting to make it 2-3 before time.
Having achieved their third consecutive victory in the league – the fourth consecutive win in all competitions – Sporting CP are outright leaders with 19 points, taking advantage of FC Porto's defeat in O Clássico away to SL Benfica.
Next up is a game against Atalanta BC in the second round of the UEFA Europa League group stage on Thursday afternoon.
Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GR], Ricardo Esgaio (Geny Catamo, 58’), Ousmane Diomande, Sebastián Coates [C] (Matheus Reis, 12’), Gonçalo Inácio, Nuno Santos (Daniel Bragança, 83’), Morten Hjulmand (Paulinho, 46’), Hidemasa Morita, Pedro Gonçalves, Marcus Edwards and Viktor Gyökeres.