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Photo by César Santos

Coates: "Do my best for this shirt"

By Jornal Sporting
13 May, 2016

Coates on extending his stay in Alvalade

Sebastián Coates was a largely unknown name for many Sporting fans when arriving at Alvalade this January, but the backing given by fellow Uruguayan and former teammate at Liverpool, Luís Suárez, has certainly rung true: "A player like Sebastián brings lot of quality to a team. I am certain he will be a great signing." Since arriving in the Portuguese capital, Sabastián truly has bossed the Sporting defence in an intimidating double-team with Rúben Semedo.

"All players dream of playing for a club that is fighting for titles, with ambitious objectives, and that made the difference for me", said Coates in an interview with the Sporting website after signing his loan extension, before adding a word on his odd forays forward: "Personally, my role is to defend, but If I can help in attack then I will."

Jorge Jesus' focus on defence has actually taken the Uruguayan by surprise, considering that goals are need to turn in wins. However, the final result can of course be decided by good defending. "The coach worries a lot about how we defend. Of course goals are needed to win, but he really worries about getting us all defending. Not every coach does that and it makes a big difference", said the defensive giant, finishing: "This is a great club with fans who are always pushing the players. I want to do my best for this shirt for us to get the results that we all want."

Photo by César Santos

Bruno de Carvalho: “Anything could happen"

By Jornal Sporting
12 May, 2016

Alvalade president sits down with the Sporting president ahead of league showdown

You have to go back 42 years for the last time that Sporting and Benfica took the title race down to the last match of the season. It was in 1974, when millions waited for the final whistle. History isn't on Sporting's side, with the league leaders going into the decisive fixture tending to hold out and take the trophy, however Bruno de Carvalho sees things a little differently.

“Going into the last match of the season, we are two points behind first place. Of course it isn't the place we would prefer to be in and of course we would like to be in first. However, we are completely focused and we know anything could happen. That is what makes football such a beautiful game. While it is mathematically possible, anything can happen", commented the Alvalade president in an interview with the Sporting Journal this week, adding: "What I see is a Sporting team focused on our match and that believes that we can bring home a title that we have been missing for so long now. We will do everything we can to do that."

Sporting's hopes of silverware after the dust settles this weekend does however not just depend on what happens in Estádio Municipal de Braga. Meanwhile in Lisbon, Benfica will host Nacional, with Sporting needing the team from Madeira to at least steal a point.

“Looking at Benfica-Nacional, well from what I have seen and heard it seems like Nacional doesn't count for anything. It seems like Nacional doesn't care. That if what I have felt when listening to commentators associated with Benfica, but honestly I don't believe it", affirmed Carvalho, continuing: "Nacional are a good side and I don't think they want to be the side show for the league title. I know how hard Rui Alves has been working to put Nacional on the map and they are fighting for places further up the league now. Of course Benfica are motivated, because winning gives them the league, but Nacional are motivated as well."

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We were the team who wanted to win the most"

By Sporting CP
29 May, 2023

The Sporting CP coach's verdict on the final game of the season

Following the 1-2 win in the season finale against FC Vizela, Sporting CP coach Rúben Amorim explained that he was pleased with the performance in the farewell to the 2022/2023 campaign, underlining that there were “good things” to take away from the game.

“Although we immediately conceded the goal off a transition, we maintained our way of playing. We were trying to find spaces in a team that sometimes held onto the ball in midfield, and we had that calmness to look for the best moment to attack. We didn't create many clear opportunities either because of the number of players that were around the area," he began by saying in his post-match press conference.

“It was one-way traffic. We used our defensive transitions very well and the victory ended up coming naturally. Obviously the winning goal came at the end, but we were the team that wanted to win most. It was a fair victory, we worked well and we kept our run of 14 games undefeated going, which is important," he stressed, before identifying what needs to be improved next season.

“We have to do better planning and work on the things we didn't do so well at the beginning of the season, both on and off the field. Then we have to be more consistent and not drop so many points at the start of the campaign as that creates a lot of anxiety, and take things a bit like we did in the 'old days': Game by game. From now on, we have to work to win the first game of next season and plan things, now that we have more time for all players to be prepared," he said.

"It is important for us to opt for stability and not deviate from the project. Even when things go wrong, the fans know that there is a project here and an idea for how we play. They have every reason to be dissatisfied right now, but they know we have a path to follow. If we stray from this path, then everything becomes worse. The coach has to make the team, in tight moments and when we have to win -which is every game- correspond in a different way on the pitch. We are going to work on that."

In closing, he was asked about the calendar for the 2023/2024 pre-season, revealing that “the players will get back to work at different times."

“Jeremiah St. Juste, for example, will return earlier, and those who go away with their national teams will return later, but not as late as usual as we need to start all together at least a week before going to the Algarve for our training camp. Everything is planned, and on the 2nd of July we start work."

Photo by José Lorvão

Sporting CP end 2022/23 with a win

By Sporting CP
29 May, 2023

Os Leões claim victory against FC Vizela on the road

Sporting Clube de Portugal ended the 2022/2023 Liga Portugal season with a 1-2 triumph away to FC Vizela, on the 34th and final matchday.

Rúben Amorim made a series of adjustments to his starting lineup for the game. Without Ousmane Diomande, due to suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards, he fielded Matheus Reis on the left side of the defence, handed a midfield role to Dário Essugo, alongside Morita, and also returned Paulinho to the attack, along with Francisco Trincão and Pedro Gonçalves.

On a rainy night, FC Vizela took the lead early, striking just six minutes in through Osmajić off a quick counterattack. However, Sporting CP quickly took control, set up shop in the opposition half and got back on terms after 20 minutes, with a header by Gonçalo Inácio from a corner.

Os Leões dominated possession and had a series of approaches on goal, whilst their opponents looked to limit the space and hit on the counter.

Before the break, Sporting CP had two shots through Trincão and Nuno Santos that the opposition goalkeeper was forced to take action to keep out.

Upon the return for the second half, the match gained intensity -with both teams becoming more aggressive. In the opening moments, FC Vizela managed to recover a ball high up the pitch and crossed dangerously, with the ball cut out in the six-yard-box, followed by Sporting CP's response with Pedro Gonçalves shooting very close to the target.

Marcus Edwards was brought on for Dário Essugo, as Gonçalves moved into the midfield. Sporting CP took control again, but their crosses into the area were not very successful and it was difficult to break through the home team's solid defensive axis.

As the clock ticked down, Sporting CP increased the pressure and added some promising shots. First, Nuno Santos crossed low for Paulinho, whose knock towards goal was blocked by a defender, then Gonçalves hit a strong shot off target. Paulinho rounded off the chances with a weak header.

In the final stretch, just after the 85 minute mark, the team finally managed to score the winning goal. Gonçalves made his way up the left flank and crossed into the area, looking to find Paulinho or second half substitute Youssef Chermiti, but it ended up being former Sporting CP player Ivanildo Fernandes who turned the ball into his own net.

With a 1-2 win, Os Leões say goodbye to the 2022/2023 season with a run of 14 games undefeated in Liga Portugal, taking a total of 74 points, in addition to 71 goals scored and 32 conceded.

Sporting CP: Franco Israel [GK], Gonçalo Inácio, Sebastián Coates [C], Matheus Reis, Ricardo Esgaio (Héctor Bellerín, 80'), Dário Essugo (Marcus Edwards, 56'), Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos, Pedro Gonçalves, Francisco Trincão (Youssef Chermiti, 80') and Paulinho.

Photo by Sporting CP

Amorim: "The standings are decided but we have to win the game"

By Sporting CP
26 May, 2023

The coach looks ahead to the season finale

Sporting Clube de Portugal play away at FC Vizela on Friday night, in the 34th and final Matchday of the Liga Portugal campaign.

In his pre-match press conference, coach Rúben Amorim warned of the fact that, although this last game has little at stake, it represents a chance to improve things.

“The season is not over yet. Of course the standings are decided, but we have to win the game. We are coming off a long unbeaten streak and we should have won the last game, but we have things to work on. We are going to try to improve some nuances from the game against SL Benfica," he began by saying.

“FC Vizela play in a similar way to SL Benfica, pressing with a 4-4-2 with Samu [Silva] joining the striker. They could change to a line of five as they did at Alvalade. We have worked on that aspect because we want to take advantage of every minute to improve the team, in a season in which we haven't achieved our goals. Despite this, the players grew and saw how difficult it is to play for Sporting CP. We are prepared to do better."

Amorim later revealed that 18-year-old Dário Essugo will start in midfield.

“We're going to give Dário more minutes. The fact that the B team were fighting for survival in Liga 3 and the fact that we weren't in a comfortable phase either, meant that we couldn't give him the minutes we wanted to, but he will be a steady presence in the first team next season. We have an idea, there are things in defence that we want to see in this game and the best team will play to win the game. I believe it's important to continue our run."

“Franco Israel had a great response [against SL Benfica]. We understood during the season that Adán was the best solution, but we knew that Franco had full confidence from the coaches. He took steps forward in his preparation as a goalkeeper," continued Amorim, before guaranteeing that the fight for the title will start from zero next season in all positions.

“Everyone will start from scratch and fight for their place next season; only then will we be a competitive team."

To close, he revealed the Sporting CP lineup for the game against FC Vizela: “Franco [Israel] will play, [Ricardo] Esgaio, [Gonçalo] Inácio, Seba [Coates], [Matheus] Reis, Nuno Santos, Dário [Essugo], [Hidemasa] Morita, Pote, Paulinho and [Francisco] Trincão”.

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "We were the better side overall"

By Sporting CP
22 May, 2023

The coach reflects on the 2-2 draw with SL Benfica

Rúben Amorim analysed Sporting CP's 2-2 draw with SL Benfica at the Estádio José Alvalade, after a first half in which his team were the better side.

“We weren't able to keep up the pace, which is to the credit of SL Benfica and also a little to our detriment," said the coach.

"It was a very tense game, in which Sporting CP were still fighting to try to reach third place, but in terms of the pressure of the game there was no comparison between Sporting CP and SL Benfica players because of everything involved. There was a great response from my players in the first half, but in the second half the team were unable to play their game and it was SL Benfica who had more of the ball. Nevertheless, we had our opportunities, but then in some moments there was a lack of maturity."

“For us, this draw feels like a defeat, because we can't go into the last weekend of the season fighting for third place, but that wasn't really within reach either because we had failed early on in our goal of fighting for the title," Amorim acknowledged.

"I wanted to win the game and we didn't do that. Looking at the way the game went, even though SL Benfica grew in the second half, I think that, overall, we were the best team and deserved to have won -but it's a result that we can't be surprised about. We were better in the first half, they were better in the second, we had more opportunities, but that's how it is."

Talking about the support from the fans, he commented: "They supported us in this way even in a very difficult time. We saw a good atmosphere out there, on a difficult day for the fans and the players, but we showed them that there is talent, that there is a team that play well, that can fight -and that was a good sign. We have to improve. We have a game against FC Vizela and then a new season begins."

Photo by Isabel Silva/José Lorvão

Derby victory denied by late equaliser

By Sporting CP
22 May, 2023

The game against SL Benfica ends in a 2-2 draw

Sporting Clube de Portugal drew 2-2 against SL Benfica on Liga Portugal Matchday 33, in a Lisbon derby that was the last game of the season at the Estádio José Alvalade.

Coach Rúben Amorim fielded Franco Israel, Ousmane Diomande, Sebastián Coates, Gonçalo Inácio, Ricardo Esgaio, Manuel Ugarte, Hidemasa Morita, Nuno Santos, Marcus Edwards, Pedro Gonçalves and Francisco Trincão in his starting XI.

Sporting CP began well and were the better side in the opening stages, creating a series of chances. Trincão was the first to cause problems, with a shot from distance which goalkeeper Vlachodimos saved, then it was Ousmane Diomande who headed wide of goal.

SL Benfica tried to respond, but were not causing any danger in the final third.

Esgaio crossed from the right to the back post in the 21st minute and Gonçalves appeared behind Vlachodimos, but missed his shot and the chance to put his team 1-0 up. Esgaio himself would have an effort saved just past the half-hour.

In the 39th minute, the goal finally arrived. Nuno Santos put the ball into the area and Trincão shot at Vlachodimos, but won the rebound and, after going around the goalkeeper, made it 1-0.

Sporting CP doubled their lead before the break: From a corner taken by Nuno Santos on the left, Diomande out-jumped Grimaldo and nodded in the second goal.

It was up to SL Benfica to react in the second half and they replaced João Mário with Bah enter. Whilst their approach was more dangerous, Franco Israel was not provided with major difficulties.

In the 54th minute, Amorim also changed his team, taking off Edwards and bringing on Paulinho. The striker had the ball in the net ten minutes later, but the referee had already whistled for an offensive foul.

SL Benfica then made it 2-1, with a goal scored by Ausnes. Sporting CP reacted with two more substitutions, introducing Héctor Bellerín and Matheus Reis.

Bellerín began well and, five minutes later, after a good individual move, Sporting CP were close to scoring again: Vlachodimos failed to catch Paulinho's cross and Hidemasa Morita appeared for the rebound, but struck over the crossbar.

Morita and Nuno Santos were withdrawn for Dário Essugo and Arthur Gomes, and the latter smashed a shot into a defender almost immediately upon arrival.

In the 86th minute, Paulinho had a golden chance after beating the defence and entering the area with only Vlachodimos in front of him, but he hesitated with his shot and was smothered by the keeper.

In the eight minutes of stoppage time, SL Benfica equalised after much confusion in the area, off a move that was checked by VAR.

The derby thus ended in a 2-2 draw. Sporting CP sign off in Liga Portugal for 2022/2023 next weekend away at FC Vizela, with the kickoff time yet to be scheduled.

Photo by Bernardo Vidal

Amorim: "It is another game where we have an obligation to win"

By Sporting CP
21 May, 2023

The Sporting CP coach previews the derby against SL Benfica

Sporting Clube de Portugal play SL Benfica this Sunday at the Estádio José Alvalade, in a derby on Liga Portugal Matchday 33.

The day before the game, Rúben Amorim underlined the obligation to win in his pre-match press conference.

“The week was good for us. We were able to train things, not only for this game, but also for what we want to see in the future. We prepared for the game well and, as usual, we will pick a team ready to win the game," he began by saying.

“I don't think that SL Benfica are the favourites. I think that we have nothing at stake in this game and, therefore, it will always be a difficult game for our club and for us -because we are not fighting for the title. SL Benfica still have a gap at the top, even if they don't win in Alvalade, and that's why it will be an easier game for them."

“I expect an SL Benfica side that want to be crowned champions, but that always play the same way. We have to have the ball and play our game. We had a very good 30 minutes away from home against them, but for the rest of the game SL Benfica had more possession and were slightly on top. Therefore, what I want is to take those 30 minutes and turn them into 90. I'm not very interested in how SL Benfica are going to come into the game: I am interested in how we are going to approach things, both defending and attacking. We have the plan in place and it is yet another game where we have an obligation to win," continued Amorim, who refused to comment on the changes he has planned for his starting lineup.

"Anything is possible, but I will not open the game too much. We have to pay attention to the opponent's characteristics and try to take the game to where we want it, and that's where the characteristics of our players come in. Franco Israel is clearly prepared and, since Adán got the red card, it's clear in my head that he's going to play. I have complete confidence in Franco.”

Sporting CP are still fighting for third place, but without putting pressure on themselves.

 “As long as it is mathematically possible, we have to believe, and, above all, we have to win our games. We have the team to beat SL Benfica, we've already proved that we can beat any opponents, and we are playing at home. We know what surrounds the game, but that doesn't change anything. We have to be used to playing to win."

“This game is not going to change what we've done or the inconsistency we've had. We want to win and we're going to play to win. In my mind, the gift we can give the fans is to win the game and prepare for next season, so that the next campaign is befitting of the greatness of the club," he said, saying that a victory for SL Benfica will be just another win.

He also mentioned the two days off that he gave his side, explaining: “Since we've been here, that's what we've always done in such a long week: we train very hard for two days, we take a break and then we have two more days to prepare the game."

“It's always been what we've done. I already have a few years of experience and I know that this can cause some problems, but what I think about is how am I going to help my players. Sporting CP has to win every game and, therefore, it is no different to any other,” he justified, adding: “The important thing for me is that the players realise that we do not change things depending on the results and league positions. We have a way of working, we demand the maximum from the players, they arrived back here and prepared the game well."

The coach, who has experienced derbies on both sides of the equation, was also asked which one was the most outstanding for him.

“All of them are remarkable. For me, as a player, maybe it was the first when I was a kid. In terms of this team, the most striking was the first derby we had at Alvalade, in which we won with a goal from Matheus Nunes. We moved nine points ahead of SL Benfica. It was a very important moment and it was also important because Sporting CP had not won a derby at Alvalade for some time."

Photo by Sporting CP

Friday training to prepare for the derby

By Sporting CP
20 May, 2023

Rúben Amorim calls several youth team players up for the session

The Sporting Clube de Portugal squad returned to training at the Academia Cristiano Ronaldo in Alcochete this Friday, fully focused on preparing on the big derby against SL Benfica -which is scheduled for Sunday at the Estádio José Alvalade (8:30pm local time).

Coach Rúben Amorim called up several youngsters from the B team for the session: David Monteiro, João Pereira, Chico Lamba, Gonçalo Esteves, Miguel Menino, Tiago Ferreira, Vando Félix, Samuel Justo, Mateus Fernandes, Diogo Cabral, André Gonçalves, Francisco Canário and Rodrigo Ribeiro.

Jovane Cabral and Jeremiah St. Juste continue their recovery with the help of the club's Medical Department.

Os Leões will train again on Saturday at 10:30am, with Amorim holding a press conference at 12:15pm.

Photo by José Lorvão

Amorim: "The result turned out fair"

By Sporting CP
14 May, 2023

The coach reacts to a frantic finale against CS Marítimo

Upon the conclusion of Sporting Clube de Portugal's 2-1 victory over CS Marítimo, coach Rúben Amorim gave a press conference at the Artur Agostinho Auditorium at the Estádio José Alvalade.

"The quality of play was not very good, but the goals brought justice to a match in which one team wanted to win. CS Marítimo created a lot of anxiety amongst the Sporting CP players with their early goal, but the result turned out to be fair. We really wanted to turn things around, and we gave and tried everything," he began by telling journalists.

"If we hadn't conceded the goal, we could have been much better. That goal created a lot of anxiety. The players had a lot of desire, but there was a lot of rushing to do things. I never felt CS Marítimo opened up. We always pushed, but without great quality. I couldn't help them and at halftime we had to change to players with more minutes under their belts. The end of the game was chaotic: A goal for one team, a goal disallowed for another and everyone wanting to win."

Asked about the fact that, due to Antonio Adán's sending off and consequent suspension, Franco Israel will be in goal against SL Benfica next weekend, the coach stated that the Uruguayan "is a player who has evolved a lot" and that "he has already played in the UEFA Champions League."

Responding to a question about what his takeaways will be from the match, Amorim explained that, as always, he will "look at what happened and understand why we didn't play so well."

"I want to underline the character of the players. They turned the scoreline around fairly. That's the positive. In terms of the negatives, a lack of creativity, the missed passes, the players feeling the pressure of the atmosphere and the players being afraid of the ball. I have no concern about this ahead of the derby. In big games we usually have another level of performance and more quality. However, obviously, there is a lot to improve."

Another of the topics addressed was a possible guard of honour for SL Benfica if they win the title before the visit to Alvalade.

"There is no tradition of having a guard of honour in our league, and we talked about this two years ago, when there wasn't one for us. We're going to treat them the way we were treated, with all due respect."


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