Champions League Recap: Shaq D 0 – 1 SportingBy: Greg | October 23rd, 2008
Another three points makes your fearless blogger a happy boy. Bento’s tactics and a muddled midfield however, make me sad.
Sporting Starting XI
Derlei – Liedson
João Moutinho – Romagnoli – Izmailov
Miguel Veloso – Polga – Tonel – Abel
This is the second match in a row where I’ve seen the lineup and almost hit the fucking floor. Grimi has been STELLAR at left back and our offense has been anemic. Paulie B’s solution? Sit him out and slide trinco Veloso into the spot, thereby eliminating his ability to distribute between the defense and the midfield. For the holding mid spot he threw (for me) out of form Rochemback in, to essentially have the team play what amounted to an overwhelmingly defensive spread. Lucky for him (and yes, they won IN SPITE of the formation, not BECAUSE of it), they took home the three points.
First Half Analysis / Notes
Shakhtar came out firing on all cylinders. They pinned Sporting back a number of times and were more than willing to go to ground to earn a free kick. The referee, for the majority of the match, was happy to oblige and buy into their bullshit for the most part (don’t get me wrong, I know we have our fair share of divers) and as we’re all too aware, where there’s free kick defending that has to take place, we’s in trouble.
Intermission changes / Thoughts
Shakhtar had the better chances, but we held up okay for an away CL match. Our best defense tends to be an effective, short passing offense. This was essentially nowhere to be found as the ball got stuck in midfield quite a bit.
Second Half Analysis / Notes
Few chances but the ones that were there were wasted by both sides for the most part. Patricio was caught out once or twice but held strong when his number was called. The match could have gone either way but once Derlei backheeled Rockyback’s cross into Liedson for the 76th minute goal, the three points seemed ours at that point. A somewhat boring encounter that was held up quite a bit in midfield. Three points is three points, so there.
Individual Player Rankings:
Rui Patrício: 7.75 – Had a few tricky balls in his direction that he handled very well (sounds like my wife’s college career). Made a bad decision to come out on the aforementioned set piece in the first half from the right channel but Shaq D didn’t make him pay for it, so it’s all good. He needs more mature, stable performances like this before I’m 100% comfortable with him between the pipes.
Abel: 7.75 – Rock solid, handled all the pressure which came in spurts well. Had to essentially play on a three man defensive line with Veloso (who still did a pretty decent job) out of position at left back.
Polga: 7.75 – See above. Saved our asses by clearing a ball off the line on (surprise!!) a cross into the box.
Tonel: 7.75 – See above.
Miguel Veloso: 7.25 – Played out of position so he was somewhat high in the box, drifting towards his natural trinco position at times. There really wasn’t much he couldn’t handle, but he shouldn’t have had to play here as Grimi has been thoroughly effective in this slot. A waste of Mikey V’s abilities.
Romagnoli: 6.5 – Tends to be massive in matches such as this but didn’t really knock anything out of the park for me. Kind of “meh.”
João Moutinho: 6.25 – Asleep for most of the first half. Good service to Liedson that the striker wasted in the second half. I’m starting to get nervous about him habitually being lost in the woods for long spells match after match. His mind may be elsewhere (Everton).
Izmailov: 7.5 – Best midfield player of the match. Got forward well and had an unending motor. He rarely disappoints and didn’t
Rochemback: 7.25 – I know I’ve been hard on him but I was in love with his play early in the season so to see him regress somewhat disappoints me. Tough love is what he needs. Free kick led to the goal so he’s going to get a temporary stay of execution.
Derlei: 6 – With the ball hung up in midfield for the most part, it was hard for him to make any impact. His rating is more a reflection of the way the match went rather than his performance.
Liedson: 7.5 – See Derlei. Scored the match winner so he gets 1.5 more points.
Bruno Pereirinha: (for Romagnoli 68′) 6.5 – Must have shit his pants when he came on before the 85th minute. Played fine as a more defensive minded replacement.
Grimi: (for Izmailov 74′) : 6.5 – Should have started, further defensive reinforcement. The move actually scared me as there were seven thoroughly defensive minded outfield players on the pitch at this point.
Postiga: (for Derlei 88′) Incomplete – Time waster, nothing more.
No man of the match this time around because nobody really and truly stood out for me. I’m really apprehensive about Boss Bento’s inconsistent, somewhat scary tactics of late. I feel like the team won in spite of him today rather than because of him. The late mass of defensive subs always scares me as well, since going into a “Prevent” defense (to use an American football term) so often comes back to bite teams in the ass. On the other hand, I think we have the talent to make it through and expect another win when we face the Ukranians at home in Lisboa.
Viva O Sporting!!!