Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
Athletic 2-1 SPORTING at HT (3-3 on agg.)
An electric first half showing once again two teams completely turned forward with the sole intention of winning the game and the tie. We've started well, pressing high,giving very little space to Athletic's expected tidal wave.
Athletic managed to score in a move clearly preceded by a foul but we all know (well...all except UEFA apparently) what a shit ref Martin Atkinson is. Sporting reacted strongly, created two great chances, by Pereirinha and Polga and Athletic only could react close to the break with two good chances by Ibai and Llorente.
Finally at 43' we scored the deserved goal through a left footed volley by van Wolfswinkel who has been massacred with fouls but, funny enough, was the only player to see a yellow from a completely normal tackle. Unfortunately we were not cool enough to kill time until the break and on a fast counter Athletic ended up doing the 2-1 that they really did not deserve.
Sporting had a great performance under the very tough circumstances but there are a couple of things that need to improve. Javi Martinez is having too much space in the middle, perhaps Carriço should come in to cancel him. Pereirinha started well but he started losing too many balls as long as the first half went. Maybe Carrillo or Jeffrén will eventually come in later on.
The tie is now completely level but a second goal from us will force them to score two. From what I've seen so far in this tie, I still believe we can do it!
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”