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Photo by José Lorvão

Mission accomplished with Europa League Round of 16 qualification

By Sporting CP
22 Feb, 2024

Sporting CP draw 1-1 with BSC Young Boys, advancing on aggregate

Sporting Clube de Portugal booked a place in the Round of 16 of the Europa League, thanks to a 1-1 draw in their playoff with BSC Young Boys at the Estádio José Alvalade. The 1-3 first leg result in Switzerland the previous week was enough to give an aggregate advantage to Os Leões.

Coach Rúben Amorim made adjustments to a starting XI consisting of Antonio Adán, Eduardo Quaresma, Ousmane Diomande, Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio, Morten Hjulmand, Daniel Bragança, Matheus Reis, Marcus Edwards, Viktor Gyökeres and Francisco Trincão.

Ahead of the game, Ousmane Diomande's success with the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations was recognised, and there was a minute's silence held in honour of Artur Jorge, a former club and national team coach who passed away this Thursday.

Just like they had in Switzerland, Sporting CP started the match well, imposing their will from the opening minutes and scoring even earlier - after 13 minutes. Viktor Gyökeres received the ball from Francisco Trincão with his back to goal, spun, took the central defenders out of the equation and shot past goalkeeper David von Ballmoos, thus putting Sporting CP in front and increasing the difficulty for their opponents.

Always dangerous, Gyökeres received deliveries both from the right and the left wings, with the opportunity to score twice immediately following his goal.

BSC Young Boys defended resolutely and had a few approaches on the Sporting CP area, but Antonio Adán had a relatively calm first half.

Meanwhile, at the other end, the threat of another goal was always present, with Daniel Bragança trying to make it 2-0, twice, with shots off target.

Before the halftime whistle, Marcus Edwards also had the opportunity to score, receiving from Gyökeres on the right, but miscued his attempt.

Sporting CP went into the break ahead, and Amorim made a switch for the restart, bringing on Nuno Santos and withdrawing Gonçalo Inácio.

Despite increased aggressiveness from BSC Young Boys, Sporting CP were always on top, continuing to attack. In the 56th minute, they won a penalty when Trincão was fouled in the area, but Gyökeres was unable to convert. Off the rebound, Bragança was also denied by David von Ballmoos.

After an hour of play, Amorim decided on a double substitution, introducing Pedro Gonçalves and Koba Koindredi - making his home debut - in place of Trincão and Morten Hjulmand.

Bragança found himself alone in front of goal, when the defence was more concerned with Marcus Edwards, but Von Ballmoos again denied him -this time with an almost accidental save with his leg.

Serving up a scare, in the 66th minute the visitors had the ball in the net, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Sporting CP responded with a couple more opportunities, Gyökeres being thwarted by Von Ballmoos again, although it would be BSC Young Boys who struck next: Edwards handled the ball inside the box and, from the 11-metre mark, Silvère Ganvoula converted the penalty to make it 1-1.

Iván Fresneda came on to replace Ricardo Esgaio late on, and both Gonçalves and Bragança had efforts to put the home team back in front, but the match ended in a draw. Sporting CP now enter into the draw for the Round of 16 of the European competition.

The team travel to Vila do Conde this Sunday to face Rio Ave FC in Liga Portugal action.