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After last week's rain out, it's time to get back to work. We've got a tricky match today in the Acores.

Potential Lineup: 4-4-2

Tiago; Hugo, Beto, Contreras, Rui Jorge; Rui Bento, Sa Pinto; Quaresma, Kutuzov; JVP, Jardel.

A couple of changes since the Porto game. Beto returns and will move to the center alongside Contreras. Hugo, by default, ends up on the right side. Also, surprise move planned by Boloni putting Sa Pinto in the central midfield with Rui Bento. If I recall, This was a move that Dae recommended last season. We'll see how it works. Also, Barbosa thankfully moves to the bench and Kutuzov will be out on the wing.

Other interesting note: Leandro might see some time today for Santa Clara. If you recall, he was our main striker on the 1997 team that was in the Champion's League. He's a severe headcase (he got canned by Sporting), but a good player. Santa Clara just picked him up.


Gametime: 4:15 EST on RTPi
 

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I have my dish back so I can see this match. :)


Yes, I recall a year or two ago, Mass Sporting (where'd he go) and I came to the agreement that Sa's workrate would make him a good midfielder. The man has offensive skill and works his ass off, so that could add up to a solid ball winner and distributor. Of course, that was nearly two years ago when he was healthy. Regardless, it is an interesting move and shows Boloni is thinking.



Is Jardel ready to play? I know he scored twice against some traveling team a week or two ago, but any news on how is mind is? Obviously, it's much, but is he ready to play?


Is Hugo on the right side really a better option than Prates? I can't believe Prates has fallen so far that his speed and decent ball skills aren't rated higher than Hugo and his no talent at all? If we are playing a 4-4-2, then perhaps he will hang back and leave the forward presses to the left side. Too bad Quiroga is hurt or Hugo might not be on the field at all. Dare to dream, huh?
 

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No offense to either Quiroga and Hugo, but surely a right defender like Prates must be better tham a central defender? But it was the same last year, when Beto played on the right. Too bad because there was some interest of Prates two years ago (before Bölöni took over), if we had sold him we would have earned a buck. As it is now, we'll have to give him away for free.

Are you sure about Sá Pinto in the middle? Well, we need to find a solution there, but Sá Pinto would not be my first choice, rather JVP in that case. It will be interesting never the less.

Anyone interested in a bet? Especially if Mr Glass Sá Pinto playes in central midfield. How many minutes before he breaks in thousand pieces again? The four minutes Sá Pinto plays, he may be great, but for the rest he's a waste of space.
 

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WHen I made reference to Sa playing midfield, it was when he was playing the second forward spot, but essentially playing a right midfield position. He was really all over the place, if I recall correctly. I don't know if he is a distributor in the lines of Duscher or Vian, but I think his workrate and creative instincts might prove useful. Surely, it's better than watcing him f*ck it up at the forward spot.
 

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Tonito scores on a brilliant volley off a long bal. Beautiful!


The field looks like crap, so I hope the game doesn't come down to a bad bounce or some rub of luck.


Sa and Kutuzov are not playing, but Tello, Ronaldo and TOnito are. JVP and Jardel up front with teh two Bentos as defensive mid. Looks like Beto, Contreras and Hugo are playing back.


Up to the goal, I'd have said Santa CLara were contrllling the play if anybody was.
 

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Santa Clara continue to control the pace of play as most of the game is taking place on Sporting's side of the field.

Teh pitch is crap. Nearly every play on the ball leaves a long slash in the turf.
 

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Tiago makes a great save on a cross that was all but on the attacker's head. SC continue to make the most of things. I think Sporting scored on their only real chance and it wasn't so much a chance as Toniti pulling some brilliance out of his butt. We still miss a good central mid. Playing with three attacking mids behind JVP and Jardel leaves so much empty space between the attack and the Bentos.
 

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1-0 at the half.


I don't know who I would say was man of teh half aside from Tonito's goal. I suppose the defense has held up to the fairly consistent assault on the goal. Sporting just don't seem to hold onto the ball very long.


Maybe we'll see Sa in the second half, but I don't know what kind of player he is now. If he can tie a midfield together with the attack and the defense, then great, but if he just becomes another attacking mid then he's surplus.
 

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Sa is on for Ronaldo. So far he has had a few touches but all out on the right wing.


Tiago attempts to play the ball nearly out of his box with his hands, then lets it run free only to have a Santa Clara attacker nearly steal it.



As I type this, JVP crosses to Jardel who controls the ball (more or less) and fires a nice shot, but a SC defender is right there. Esily could have been goal number 2.
 

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I don't know whether to blame the field or JVP simply overran his own dribble, but Jardel sent a beautiful through pass to an onside JVP who seemed to dribble through a patch of field riddled with slashes and muck and this allowed the defender to catch up. Either that or he thought he had so much time that he allowed the defender to catch up.
 

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Beto, our supposed "captain", just got a yellow card for yelling at teh ball boy for not giving him the ball properly or something to that effect. :rollani:



The pitch now looks as pock marked as a teenager's acne ravaged face. Can I assume it rained a lot or is the pitch always crap?
 

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1-0 is teh final result.


I'd be tempted to diss Sporting again for boring disorganized play, but the field was garbage and to be fair, they were a better side in the second half. Had the pitch not been sh*t, a second or third goal could have been realistic.


Tiago made some great plays and then some scary ones, too. In the end, it evened each other out.

Other than a couple of questionable clearances (especially one by Hugo directly to a player at the top of the box) the back three played pretty well. They were under a pretty steady attack for long periods of time and held up.


The Bentos did their job and nothing more. Same story.


Tello made a few decent touches, but Ronald was invisible. Tonito scored the goal and could have scored another later on a breakaway that was slowed to a crawl by the pitch.


JVP assisted the goal (I believe) and played his usually energetic game. JArdel was pretty much invisible, but to be fair was given nothing to play with. He had a couple nice touches, including the previously mentioned ball to JVP.


Sa ran around a lot but didn't do anything special. He did seem to fill the gap between the attack and defense, but he'd need more time to convince.

Kutuzov came on with no time left and played mop up minutes.

Barbosa came on at some point, but I did not notice until near the end, so he obviously failed to make an impression.


All in all, a good result in a place where a loss was quite possible.
 

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Dae, thanks for the referate - here where there's no RTP/Sport TV it makes a difference.

It seems the problems on the modfield continues. When you say Ronaldo leaves the pitch without leaving an impression you put the finger on the problem. He's our midfield distributor, either he should be comletely crap or a genius. But invisible means he hasn't been doing his job.

Sá Pinto isn't going to be a saviour. He might add value to the right field (but with Toñito doing so well he'll be working hard to take the place) or in the attack, but it is on central midfield we need a player.

I guess we have to be glad we won the game. After all that is what matters. But we are still crap, this year.
 

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Glad to be of service. I was just posting for my own amusement and hoping maybe somebody benefited from my input. :)


Ronaldo really didn't do anything. Granted the field was pure sh*t and his game is greatly based on ball control and the ability to dribble, but it was very easy to forget he was playing.


Santa Clara seemed to actually be able to put some passes together and control the ball for long periods of time, but this was a game to be decided on a long ball or some field glitch and Tonito's goal was the result of a nice longball and a great control and finish.



Agreed, this team is sh*t. THere's a topic in the Debate forum about liking winning football versus pretty football and this is an example of what I said. I love to watch flowing beautifl football, but when it is my team I don't care so long as we win. I would never watch this Sporting team for fun because they suck, but I am tied to them and thus can't resist but watch them muck about on a sh*tty pitch and hope they pull out a win. Same thing goes on a good pitch when they can't do **** either.
 
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