Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
I'm back in Sweden and only now had the chance to write a few lines about the match.
It's always great to watch your team playing live and when a game had the importance of this one it's even better. At the end of it I was of course disappointed because of the result and also because Sporting did not dare enough to win a very winnable clássico but to be very honest I am not too surprised with the way the game went.
I've said it several times at the beginning of this season and I still feel the same way - this is the first year of a completely new team and only some very naive or uber-optimistic fans could expect us to win the league already this season. Domingos is doing wonders in such a short period of time and in this game, even with some players showing a worst form than the one they've already showed earlier this season, we've managed to equal, and in some periods of the game to better, the same team (bar Falcao and AVB) that had a super season last year, the same team to which we finished the season 36 points behind.
We didn't start the game well, showing the same problems that we've been showing since Rinaudo got injured. We lack a key player that can bring the ball from the defence without resorting to the sterile long balls à la Polga. Our game suffers a lot from it and Domingos still couldn't find an antidote to this poison. Renato Neto was a good option in my opinion for the DM problem but the kid just arrived so it was silly to expect more than what he did. Around the middle of the first half we balanced the game and Polga created the first real goal chance forcing Helton to the save of the night after a great header from a corner. Before that van Wolfswinkel also missed a free header in what would be the first of quite a few bad actions of the Dutchman in this game. He is indeed a very good striker but he is no Liedson, at least not yet. At 23, Ricky's age, Liedson was not yet a professional footballer.
We came better in the second half and the introduction of Matias and Izmailov were crucial to balance the game in our favour. These two guys are great players and this game justshowed how much we have been missing them due to their constant injuries. It's true that Porto also had their chances but nothing compared to that ride of Matias on the right side of Porto's defence, right in front of the sector where I was sitting, that unfortunately Marat couldn't finish with more than a weak shot which was saved on the goal line by Alvaro Pereira's foot. This was the 83rd minute and that would have decided the game. Still I accept the draw as a far result even if it was hard not to get 3 points that we could have perfectly grabbed.
The future in the current season for us should be to focus in getting the second place as the first is now too far. I think that is feasible. We will not go that far in Europe, as I do feel Man City is too strong for both Porto and ourselves. That will leave us with enough space to concentrate in the league and I do feel we can reach the second place.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”