Champions League Recap: Sporting 2 – 0 BaselBy: Greg | October 2nd, 2008
Alllllright… That’s some good footballin’. Actually, it wasn’t super pretty but who gives a shit, we needed this win and got it. Here’s a look at the boys who started and got it done…
Sporting Starting XI
Derlei – Hélder Postiga
João Moutinho – Romagnoli – Rochemback
Grimi – Polga – Tonel – Abel
After all the talk about Vukčević featuring in this match, he came out of the tunnel in warm ups. I’m glad Romagnoli got the start over him, as he tends to really get up for big matches.
First Half Analysis / Notes
Basel played a very physical game throughout and Captain Moutinho found himself on his ass quite a bit. Both teams seemed to have trouble getting to the final stages of their attacks, but at least Sporting played somewhat patient and didn’t resort to the long ball like they did against Benfica in their 2-0 loss this past weekend. The lack of scoring on the 8,517,403 corners we had was frustrating. One of these defenders needs to step up and get an aerial threat going. Grimi’s technical skill showed well and I wouldn’t put Caneira back in on the left when he returns from injury as I feel Grimi’s earned the spot through performance.
Intermission changes / Thoughts
I would have thrown Liedson in for either Postiga or Derlei at this point, as neither looked too much like they were going to tip the scales in Sporting’s favor. However, Boss Bento Box decided it was time for Vukčević to get a run out and the largely ineffective Rochemback was sacrificed (literally, on an altar of DOOM!).
Second Half Analysis / Notes
More of the same from the first half: composed passing but the final level never being realized. After a bunch of pushes forward, Romagnoli finally broke through the Basel defense and after a bit of confused clearing, the ball ended up in the back of the net. Yannick came on for Postiga in the 73rd minute and basically proceeded to do nothing (as per usual in matches of this magnitude). A handful of shots and fouls later, Derlei got on the end of a beautiful through pass and poked home the match sealer in the 86th minute. The Alvalade faithful were bonkers and it was a fitting end to a deserved three points for Sporting.
Individual Player Rankings:
Rui Patrício: 7 – He only faced two shots on goal, but since they didn’t go in, he gets a loving seven.
Abel: 7.25 – Shut down his side well, working in tandem with the central defenders to support each other. Was more than Abel to handle the Basel “attack”. (Sorry, it’s cheap, I know)
Polga: 7.5 – Strong throughout. Anchored the defense excellently and had them playing as a cohesive unit.
Tonel: 6.5 – He’s a good defender, but I worry about the puzzled look he has on his face a number of times throughout the game. He plays a lot shorter than 6′ 1″, so he better figure out how to use that height on these set pieces, and fast.
Grimi: 7.25 – Please leave him at left back, even when Caneira comes back healthy. PLLLLEASSEE.
Romagnoli: 7.75 – Scored the match winner and played a solid wing / midfield hybrid. Should be starting every match that “matters.”
João Moutinho: 6.75 – Was beat to hell by the Basel defense. Spent a lot of time shaking off knocks, but featured more than he has in the past for this one. His influence prevented the long ball shit show that took place a few days ago in da Luz.
Rochemback: 4 – Eesh. He started out of the gate like gang busters, but where the hell did his game go?
Miguel Veloso: 7 – Gutty, clinical tackling. Did a good job of working with the defense to diffuse whatever moves forward they faced for the most part. If he continues on the upswing and Rochemback continues to regress somewhat, it could mean the pine for Fabby.
Derlei: 8 – Man of the Match -Experience shone through here. He had one or two missed opportunities early but made no mistake when the time came to put the match away. The younger guys should be ashamed at the fact that he looked like he could go another ninety. He just never seemed to give up.
Hélder Postiga: 5 – If he scored goals the way he dishes out and receives fouls, he’d be the leading striker in the world.
Vukčević (for Rochemback 45′): 6.5 – Was involved in a number of plays, more so than Rochemback. Gave the midfield a more offensive-minded approach that yielded the two scores.
Yannick (for Postiga 73′) : 4 – Had an effort or two on goal but nothing too crazy. He needs to get out of the funk he’s presently in or he could get lost in an attack that has an embarrassment of options.
Bruno Pereirinha: (for Romagnoli 87′) Incomplete – Standard issue time killing sub. It’s actually what he’s used for quite often: late match time killing and defensive reinforcement.
Yay for three points. Barcelona dispatched Shaq D so they’re sitting top of the group on six points. We’re equal with the Ukranians on three points each while Basel are in the basement with zilch. A trip to Shakhtar on the 22nd of this month is next. Let’s keep it rolling!