Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
1-1 at HT
Sporting started very strong, scored early and until Leiria's equaliser we could even have added one or two more to the scoreline. The goal from Leiria came out of nowhere but the truth is that after that we were unable to create that much danger and Leiria managed to balance the game.
The reasons for our relatively poor first half are various. First of all it's good not to forget that the absence of Rinaudo is not only making us miss the pendulum of our midfield but it also provoked a tactical change which obviously takes time to assimilate.
Elias and Schaars are now responsible for covering and not just creating which means that they are now playing a few metres behind the areas that they've been covering so well in our last 10+ games. On top of it Elias seems to be passing through a low period of form which obviously doesn't help.
On the wings it is abysmal the difference of our game on the left side when Insúa is there or when Evaldo is at his place. The Brazilian is completely woeful, even more defending than attacking, and we've been suffering from it. On the other side Pereirinha is completely harmless which is obviously an handicap.
It's also clear that the 18 year old Tiago Ilori is accusing the responsibility of having his first start in the main team and Leiria's goal was practically entirely his fault.
In any case I still think that with a few changes, both tactical and of personnel, we can win this one. Carrillo should come in asap, for example.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”