FC PORTO VS SPORTING CP
Estádio Municipal de Braga,
26 January 2019, 19:45 WEST
(Fernando Andrade 79' - Bas Dost (pen.) 90+1')
PORTO: Vaná; Militão, Felipe, Pepe and Alex Telles; Corona, Herrera, Óliver and Brahimi; Marega and André Pereira
SPORTING: Renan; Ristovski, Coates, André Pinto and Acuña; Gudelj, Bruno Fernandes and Wendel; Nani, Raphinha and Bas Dost
Sporting does it again, this time with a weakened squad, the Lions successfully retained their title through much suffering. Just like last year, Sporting did it through a penalty shootout as Porto's penalty kick woes continued.
The first half saw Sporting completely dominant, having a couple of good chances, most notably Bruno Fernandes' free kick at the very end of the first half which was just wide of the post, however in the second half Sporting started fading away as Porto took control, Porto almost opened the scoring with a header but Renan's strong hands parried it, however in Porto's goals, Renan's hands had turned to jelly as he spilled the shot directly to Fernando Andrade to make it 1-0 to Porto with little time left.
Porto looked certain to win their first ever League Cup as Sporting gave it everything they had but yet nothing worked, however with 2 minutes to go, Diaby was brought down in the box, VAR was checked and Sporting was awarded a penalty. Bas Dost, who had been out of form, put the penalty past Vaná with plenty of force, and with only a few minutes to go, Sporting could've grabbed the winner as Vaná's save almost made the ball go into his own net, but still Sporting had unexpectedly dug themselves out of the hole and forced a penalty shootout.
Dost bravely opened the shootout after missing against Braga, Alex Telles equalised the score with his, Coates skied his penalty, giving Porto a morale boost, however that didn't matter when Militão sent Renan the wrong way but hit it wide, Bruno Fernandes put Sporting back in the lead, and Renan redeemed himself for conceding a calamitous goal by saving Hernani's shot, Nani put his away and Sporting were crowned champions again when Felipe hit the bar, showing that even after Alcochete, Sporting are still a force to be reckoned with.
Just as long as it's not in the Liga NOS.
The league returns on the 30th against Vitoria de Setúbal and right after that Lisbon burns down with Sporting vs Benfica home and away for the League and Cup. It's going to be a wild ride.