Compulsory to make points
A defeat would finish with the Lions' hopes in the Champions League.
A victory will be an historical feat.
by Filipe Alexandre Dias and Ricardo Reis, in Milan (Italy)
Translated from O Jogo
Sporting goes almost over hot embers for this third duel with Inter this season, after having faced the Milan team in the presentation game to its public in Alvalade and, afterwards, in the opening match of the Champions League - with a promising win. To the Lions it is asked, at least, that they do not leave the pitch of the majestic Giuseppe Meazza bent to the weight of a defeat which, if it happens, will leave them, immediately, without chances of reaching the last 16 of the millionaire competition, being left to fight for a place in the UEFA Cup, although that depends on the result obtained by the last placed of Group B, Spartak Moscow, against Bayern Munich. However, since that goal of Caneira that left the "nerazzurri" KO, on a dream return to the tournament by the group lead by Paulo Bento, many things changed.
After a negative start, Inter has been recovering ground, having already surpassed Sporting, with a total of six points. In Serie A, life has been also smiling to the current champions. In spite of having lost one of their main attacking players (Júlio Cruz), the rich squad of the Italians should not accuse that and other absences. The same cannot be applied to the green and whites: Paulo Bento knew already that the suspended Liedson would be out, but the injury of Djaló left the forward line even more weakened in terms of alternatives. This, it is good to recall it, in a phase in which it have been the midfielders and the defenders, the ones to make the difference when it is time to score.
It is asked, therefore, that this failure can stop in San Siro, in a match where the team of Alvalade plays a desive strike for their European future. A victory in Italy would be, more than a great step forward towards the next round, but also an unparallel feat in the centennial history of Sporting, that never won there a match for the European competitions.
SPORTING's Tactics: 4-4-2
Nani with Alecsandro
With so few solutions for a striking force where Liedson and Yannick Djaló are absent, Paulo Bento should make Nani change sector and go forward on the pitch. The young creative will move in this way from his usual position of inside midfielder to make a striking pair with Alecsandro. This alternative will be thus used to solve the problem of lack of forwards, allowing the Lions' coach to have one more option upfront at he bench, in this case the Uruguyan Carlos Bueno.
Inter's Tactics: 4-4-2
Everything points at, Mancini will leave Figo out of his starting XI. Nevertheless, that will not change the ususal approach of the "nerazzurro" coach to the matches, as Mancini will certainly present the same system shown in Alvalade. A midfield diamond - just like in Sporting -, reinforced with some muscle. Dacourt will be the most defensive man in the middle, accompanied by Vieira and Zanetti, on the right and left, respectively. Stankovic will be the most advanced unit in the middle, supporting the attack, that will count with Crespo and Ibrahimovic as protagonists.
SPORTING's results so far in the UCL 2006/07:
Sporting | Inter Milan 1-0
Spartak Moscow| Sporting 1-1
Sporting | Bayern Munich 0-1
Bayern Munich | Sporting 0-0
SPORTING vs Inter:
UEFA Cup 1990/91 (Semi-finals)
10/04/91 Sporting | Inter Milan 0-0
24/04/91 Inter Milan | Sporting 2-0
Champions League 2002/03 (3rd qualification round)
14/08/02 Sporting | Inter Milan 0-0
27/08/02 Inter Milan | Sporting 2-0
Champions League 2006/07 (Group stage)
12/09/06 Sporting – Inter Milan 1-0
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan (Italy)
20h45 (Local time - CET)
Refs: Frank De Bleeckere [Belgium]
Mark Simons + Peter Hermans
Probable line-ups for tonight: