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
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
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
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