Sporting end campaign on high

Sporting Lisbon bowed out of the Europa League on a high with

their first win of the campaign in their delayed dead-rubber final

Group G encounter with Videoton.

The match, postponed by 24 hours due to a waterlogged pitch at

the Stadio Jose Alvalade, looked set to be settled in the hosts’

favour by Zakaria Labyad’s 64th-minute strike, but there was late

drama with two goals and a red card in the final 11 minutes.

Gyorgy Sandor equalised for Paulo Sousa’s Videoton with an

80th-minute penalty, only for Valentin Viola to swiftly head the

Portuguese side into the lead again. Sandor was then dismissed for

a foul on Diego Capel, which ended the Spanish winger’s involvement

in the game, and there was no way back for the visitors.

Sporting headed into the clash already certain of finishing

bottom of the pool after taking just two points from their first

five games, while third-placed Videoton’s hopes of becoming the

first Hungarian club to qualify from the group stages of a major

UEFA competition were extinguished when Genk and Basle drew 0-0

last night.

Sporting’s Marcelo Boeck was much the busier of the two

goalkeepers in the first half, parrying Filipe Oliveira’s

right-footed blast in the 17th minute and keeping out Nermanja

Nikolic’s close-range effort with his feet soon after.

Boeck was powerless in the 24th minute, though, when Renato Neto

lashed a shot from the edge of the box against the bar.

Despite having been on the back foot for much of the first

period, Sporting had a fine chance to open the scoring 10 minutes

before the break but Viola directed his header wide from Labyad’s

free-kick.

Franky Vercauteren’s side continued to look more positive after

the interval, however, and they received their reward in the 64th

minute, when Labyad was on hand to despatch the rebound into the

top-right corner after Videoton goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel had parried

a fierce drive from Emiliano

Insua.

Labyad could have grabbed a second goal eight minutes later but

was denied by the feet of Tujvel.

The save looked to have proved crucial soon afterwards when

Sporting midfielder Fito Rinaudo handled the ball inside his area

and Sandor made no mistake from the spot.

But Sporting were back on level terms for only three minutes

before Viola’s header made it 2-1 following a goalmouth scramble,

and the visitors’ hopes of getting back into the game suffered a

setback a minute later when Sandor saw red for a bad foul on

Capel.