Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
Mission in Moscow under the plastic sign
Transl. from A Bola
Sporting arrived last night in Moscow after a quiet five hours trip. The main worry of the Lions' delegation is, for now, the synthetic grass where the game with Spartak will take place. Today, the adaptation training assumes therefore an added importance...
Moscow gifted Sporting with a mild temperature, quite uncommon for these parts when October is almost here. At ten o'clock in the evening of yesterday, when the TP 294290 flight touched the ground at the airport of Russia's capital, the temperature was around 16C ad the sky was clear, much better than what one had at the departure from Lisbon. Optmism and serenity mark, for now, the start of the sportinguista mission in Moscow. The quiet and categoric win at Vila das Aves had the gift of cheering up the team, sending to the dustbin of memory the "hand made" defeat against Paços de Ferreira.
Although the speculations around the starting XI that Paulo Bento will use are still not monopolising the conversations, it seems clear that the fantastic quintet that has been used as backbone of the Lions will remain untouched: Ricardo, Polga, Joăo Moutinho, Nani and Liedson. To these most probably we will see being added, Abel, Tonel, Marco Caneira, Miguel Veloso, Paredes and Alecsandro or Yannick Djaló. Today, after the training, the shape of the team will be more clear, but the joint inclusion of Paredes and Miguel Veloso in the middle seems to be an interesting track to follow.
Oh, the grass...
However, it is in the turf that lie the main worries of Sporting. Tomorrow's game, will be the first in the history of the Champions League to be played on an entirely synthetic pitch. The Portuguese team did not use the plastic pitch they have in Alcochete, on the training made yesterday before embarking to Moscow. Today, Paulo Bento's men will have the chance to do a quick adaptation, looking to measure the speed of the ball and also test different running moves and try the friction caused by the synthetic grass after a fall. It is certain that the pitch will be the same for both teams. But one is used to it and the other is not.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”