I've missed this one but it seems that it was another gritty display by Sá Pinto's boys.
Nacional 2-3 SPORTING
by Jorge Vicente, 22.04.2012
Sá Pinto fielded a much changed XI for Sunday night's trip to the Portuguese Island of Madeira. In fact, only Xandão, Daniel Carriço and André Martins also started against Bilbao in midweek, with the Sporting coach taking the opportunity to rest a wealth of players ahead of the coming visit to the Basque Country.
The main highlight of the team sheet was the return of Onyewu to the heart of the Sporting defence, after the American giant has been sidelined by a knee injury.
It was a well contested opening to the game, until Diego Rubio struck with his first official goal in Sporting shirt on 12 minutes. The chance came about from a free-kick at the edge of the Nacional box, with the young Chilean international pouncing on a loose ball to tuck home with his left foot on the turn.
Holding an early lead, the Lions took control of the match thanks largely to a spirited display in the middle of the park. As for Nacional, the Portuguese islanders looked to be struggling with the pace of Pereirinha, Carrillo and Diego Rubio.
The next goal of the game came in the 31st minute, when Renato Neto controlled well outside of the box to blast home a superb effort. Two minutes later, Nacional struck through Mateus, after the forward popped up behind Arias to drill a shot high into Boeck's net.
Ricardo Sá Pinto brought on Schaars for Renato Neto after the break and the Dutch midfielder proved to be a constant pain for Nacional with his passing qualities.
Diego Rubio showed his age early in the half, when the striker controlled with his hand inside the area to be given his marching orders with a second bookable offence. The Sporting coach responded by throwing Ricky van Wolfswinkel into the mix for André Martins, while Pereirinha and Carrillo dropped back into the middle in support of Daniel Carriço and Schaars.
Jeffrén was also introduced into the action in the 63rd minute for Arias, with Pereirinha slotting in at right-back.
Pereirinha looked to have cleared away a dangerous ball on 75 minutes, but the Sporting Academy's ball forward took a kind bounce off another defender and landed at the feet of Keita, who beat Marcelo with a smart half volley.
With the game again deadlocked, Ricky van Wolfswinkel surged forward into the Nacional box, only to be brought down by the out rushing keeper for a penalty. The Dutchman stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and put his side back into the lead.
Marcelo Boeck certainly earned his pay in the final stages, with two fine saves from Claudemir (85') and Candeias (89').
2011/2012 Liga ZON Sagres
Estádio da Madeira, Funchal
Ref: Carlos Xistra
Nacional 2-3 SPORTING
[Mateus 34', Kieta 74'; Diego Rubio 12', Renato Neto 31', Ricky van Wolfswinkel 76' pen.]
Santiago Arias (Jeffrén 65') - Xandão - Onyewu - Evaldo
Daniel Carriço - Renato Neto (Schaars 45')
Pereirinha - André Martins (van Wolfswinkel 61') - Carrillo
Coach: Ricardo Sá Pinto.
Subs not used: Tiago, Izmailov, André Santos and Ribas.
Booked: Diego Rubio 36' + 59' and Marcelo Boeck 90'+2'.
Sent off: Diego Rubio 59'.
João Aurélio (Skolnik 61') - Neto - Danielson - Marçal
Moreno (Keita 73')
Claudemir - Diego Barcellos - Candeias
Mário Rondon (Márcio Madeira 87') - Mateus
Coach: Pedro Caxinha
Subs not used: Vladan Giljen, Todorovic, Juliano and Andrés Madrid.
Booked: João Aurélio 45', Mario Rondón 71', Marcelo 76' and Candeias 84'.