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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE 2015/2016

ROUND OF 32
First Leg



Estádio José Alvalade, Lisbon
18 February 2015, 21:05 CET
26,201 att.
Ref: Björn Kuipers (NED)




x

SPORTING CP 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
(Bellarabi 26')


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We're back in Europe after the winter break and we get right at the starts of the knockout stages one of the main favourites to win the whole competition. Bayer Leverkusen are in third place in the Bundesliga and that says it all about their value.

Needless to say it will have to be a top quality Sporting if we want to have any chances of beating them.

Besides, this game brings the anecdote of seeing Sporting playing for the first time ever against a team wearing red which was really founded in 1904. :nasty:

All this should obviously be put into perspective as our main aim of this season is not to win the Europa League.

JJ picked this starting XI:



Jefferson is back at LB, whereas Adrien and Slimani are rested giving their places to Aquilani and Teo Gutiérrez. We'll see if it works.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
18' and the first goal chance is ours with Jefferson hitting hard on goal but Leno saved.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great counter started with a pearl by João Mário, followed with another pearl by Bryan Ruiz but Teo was caught offside.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Leverkusen scores at 25' through Bellarabi. Rui Patrício could have done better this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Once again Mané creates havoc with his speed but Teo wastes, again, a good chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No surprises on how the game went in this first half. Sporting played fairly well on a very balanced game but one small mistake in the back was enough to give the Germans a lead that they did little to deserve.

We've had a few chances, mostly before the goal, but we're missing our two most influential players who were rested by JJ. Aquilani is not playing half of what Adrien usually does and upfront the exact same thing can be said about Teo in relation to Slimani. This and the obvious fact that this is not a game being played at 100% can explain this score.

I'm curious to see if JJ decides to bring on those two players or if he prefers to sub in one of the two quick wingers, Gelson or Matheus.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Half time stats:

SCP 0-1 B04

2 Shots 5
1 Shots On Goal 1
74% Pass Accuracy 56%
7 Fouls 7
2 Corners 2
61% Ball Possession 39%​
 

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This and the obvious fact that this is not a game being played at 100% can explain this score.
If Sporting gives Bayern permission to win this game, will you expect a thank you note for not subjugating them with a full effort?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
At 61' JJ does make the two logical subs:

Adrien IN for Aquilani
Slimani IN for Teo
 

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Discussion Starter #16
At 74' second yellow for Rúben Semedo. The usual brainfart in this player tbh.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
This second half started exactly with the same tone of the last 15'/20' of the first one. Sporting never looking capable, or even willing, to press the Germans and although the introduction of Adrien made things better in midfield that wouldn't last very long as Rúben Semedo's stupid sending off closed the game for us. A shame because he did have a good first half but he does have the tendency to exaggerate in wreckless challenges.

Very tough task overcoming this in the second leg in one week from today.

The clear state of "decompression" which our players showed in most of the European matches this season is not alien to the speech of JJ whenever European games are in question. He knows that with this squad we can't fully be "giving it all" in the EL if we want to keep top of the league table and today was another clear example of it. Am I happy with it? Not really, but between this and jeopardizing the title challenge I know very well what to choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Full Time Stats:

SCP 0-1 B04

2 Shots 14
1 Shots On Goal 3
76% Pass Accuracy 61%
14 Fouls 16
3 Corners 8
58% Ball Possession 42%​
 
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