Plucked out of irons… to the champion? Sporting was only seconds away from registering their third draw at home, against a Santa Clara who was in no way inferior to the “lions” and even managed to be superior in offensive terms at certain times.
Towards the end, with the draw to a ball, the visitors were closer to applying the first defeat to Alvalade’s formation this season in the League, but in the last minute of the rebates, Sebastián Coates was once again a hero and scored the goal that gives the NOS NOS leaders three more points.
Pedro Gonçalves and Rui Costa scored the other goals.
The game explained in numbers
- Rúben Amorim made two changes in relation to the team that drew in the goalless Dragon. The injured Pedro Porro gave his place to Matheus Nunes and Bruno Tabata surrendered Nuno Santos. Pierre Sagna, starter for Santa Clara in the 3-0 triumph over Paços de Ferreira, left and, in this meeting, the one chosen to act the right-back was Rafael Ramos.
- More difficulties for Sporting than the Leon team eventually expected. In the first quarter-of-hour he dominated in terms of ball possession (64%), but only Santa Clara registered shots, two, one of them framed, had more actions in the area adversary, four against just one of the men in the house, and more corners (3-1).
- But Sporting this season doesn’t need much to score. At 22 minutes, good collective play, Bruno Tabata found Pedro Gonçalves in the area and without wasting time, he crossed the ball to the bottom of the net. One shot, one goal for the championship leaders.
- And nothing changed until half an hour. Sporting with much more ball, but only with a shot, enough to be in advantage. The two formations were as if they matched and were unable to create goal situations.
- Pedro Gonçalves led the ratings at this stage, with 6.0, for the goal, essentially. Carlos Junior, with 5.8, was the best of the Azoreans, already with two shots and three ball actions in the opposite area.
- Sporting’s advantage at rest, but in truth, neither team did enough to be in front of the scoreboard.
- The “lions” had more ball, Santa Clara shot more (2-1 …) but only at the beginning of the match.
- The championship leaders shot in the 22nd minute and scored a goal for the inevitable Pedro Gonçalves. After that, there was no authentic attack in both teams. “Pot” was the best at this stage, ordinary GoalPoint Rating of 5.9, essentially for the goal he scored and little else.
- The “lion” remained out of ideas in the attack and the game time arrived without any more shots, although dominating. Only Santa Clara registered a shot in the second half and already seven corners, against only one of the house. The open attitude of the visitors was evident in the 14 defensive actions in the opposing midfield, more than double those of Sporting (5).
- Later in the game, around 70 minutes, Sporting started to get closer to the opposite goal, registering their second corner and their third shot and their second framed. At this stage, Santa Clara was already putting pressure on the entire terrain, hampering the first construction phase of the hosts.
- It wouldn’t be a surprise if Santa Clara scored, and did score. After 84 minutes, Jean Patric got through on the left and was very close to equalizing for the home side, but didn’t get the shot away Rui Costa who, on the sixth shot of the Azoreans in the match, scored, in a shot without chances for Antonio Adán. And suddenly, the leader found himself in a difficult situation in the match.
- Santa Clara did not give up looking for a new goal and victory, they continued to press and attack, but against the current of play, already within the last minute of compensation, Sporting came to victory. João Mário, on the right of the big area, crossed tense and Sebastián Coates again donned the “hero cape” and headed in 2-1. And shortly after the game ended.
The best in the field GoalPoint
Coates was once again a hero. Against Santa Clara committed the first offense since January, but it was in the attack that the Uruguayan was decisive, in scoring the leonine victory goal at the end of the clearing time.
Best on the field with a GoalPoint Rating of 7.7, Sebastián shot twice, once framed, created a blatant occasion goal, added five ball actions in the opposite area, won the four offensive aerial duels and made three interceptions.
- João Mário 6.5 – The midfielder has been one of the most important players of the Leonina team in this unbeaten journey and, this time, he was really decisive, when assisting for Coates’ goal. In the end he recorded three passes for finishing, three valuable offensive passes, completed 89% of the passes and made three tackles.
- Lincoln 6.1 – The best element of the Azoreans. The midfielder lends a different criterion to the moves in which he participates, but he also helps defensively, having made nine possession recoveries, three defensive actions in the opposite midfield, three interceptions and so many other pass / crossing blocks.
- Pedro Gonçalves 5.9 – Another goal, the 15th in the League, opening the asset in this match. “Pote” shot twice, once with good direction, added four ball actions in the away area and eight possession recoveries. It didn’t shine, but it was fundamental.
- Rui Costa 5.7 – The 25-year-old striker, who arrived in January from the Spaniards at Deportivo La Coruña, scored his first goal in the Portuguese League. A fact that deserved, of course, a celebration, but for Rui Costa it turned out to be cruel, because his attempt was worthless to his team. In the 62 minutes he was on the pitch he made two shots and completed two of three dribbling attempts.
- Bruno Tabata 5.5 – One of the novelties in the starting lineup for Sporting, the Brazilian started well, when assisting for the goal of Pedro Gonçalves. He was discreet in the rest of the game, a bit like the entire Leon team, so the highlight is still six recoveries of possession and four fouls suffered, two in danger zone.
- João Palhinha 5.5 – Less successful game on the part of the Leo star, still completed 90% of the 42 passes he made, all five long, won the three defensive aerial duels in which he participated and added seven defensive actions.