Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
Official Sporting @ 2006/07 Taça de Portugal/Portuguese Cup thread
Taça for real
by João Sanches
Translated from O Jogo
After, for the first time this season, having presented the same starting XI in consecutive matches, Paulo Bneto is preparing to show a different line-up in the last official match of the Lions in 2006, against União da Madeira.
Not so much due to the modesty of the opponent, but, mainly, due to some minor injuries resulting from the game that allowed Sporting reaching Xmas with 32 points in the League - five behind the leaders FC Porto, but in a position that gives direct qualification for the Champions League -, the coach will change pieces in all sectors, starting, probably, from the goalkeeper.
Different from the one, that due to his strategy, served the team until very recently, this rotation of players will have, however, to be influenced or inspired by the same levels of responsibility and competitiveness.
Finished as it is, due to their own fault, the road in this season's European cups, the importance of the Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal) – the second trophy in our domestic hierarchy – grew lively amongst the Lions, needed as they are of victories to sustain and boost up a sporting project that, in spite of its troubled start, evolved a bit more than one year ago.
Due to some (bad) moments he lived during his career as a Sporting player, Paulo Bento will know that because in these games the will to create surprises and to cause a sensation brings spirit and strength in your opponents, the team cannot facilitate - not even of taking the risk of giving up the lead "deliberately".
In this evaluation period after the crisis appeared after two consecutive defeats in the games with Benfica and Spartak, it was clear that the Lions would only spend Xmas with some peace of mind if they could win the three games left in this year. Two of those obstacles - in theory less easy, by comparison - have been already surpassed...
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”