Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira PreviewBy: Greg | August 15th, 2008
2008 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
Sporitng v. Porto
August 16, 2008 @ 4:15 PM Eastern
Estadio do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
These teams finished 1-2 (well, Porto were a fucking country mile ahead, but Sporting were 2nd nonetheless) last year in the standings. Porto’s third consecutive league championship and Sporting’s 2-0 victory over The Triperos in the Taça de Portugal final has these two teams squaring off for the first silverware of the new campaign.
They contested the same season-opening match last year with Sporting winning 1 – 0 on an Izmailov screamer from about 6934 yards out (see YouTubage below for this marvelous strike).
Probable (albeit, very tough to pick at this stage of the season) Sporting Starting XI
Yannick Djaló – Hélder Postiga (but probably Derlei)
Izmailov – João Moutinho – Romagnoli – Rochemback
Grimi – Polga – Tonel – Abel
Miguel Veloso is allegedly fully match fit but this remains to be seen. Marco Caneira may be there instead of Abel on the right and I’ve already touched on the Derlei possibility above. Romagnoli always comes up huge in big matches and I think this match means a hell of a lot more to Sporting than to Porto, who can chalk up a loss to the absences of players like Lopez and Ricky Q.
Fábio Rochemback, Midfielder – In the 2-0 preseason win over Sampdoria a few days ago, he was an absolute menace. He fouled, roughed up, and disrupted the flow of Sampdoria’s game thus never allowing the Italians a chance to put their game into top gear. I think this is a statement match for Sporting (more so than Porto, as I’ve indicated above) and a player like Rochemback needs to go out there and put some of Jezzy’s boys on their asses right from the outset of the match. Rochemback isn’t the most technically gifted midfielder, but Sporting have plenty of those both in the XI and on the bench. He needs to get out there and let Porto know that he couldn’t care less how well they’ve done in the past, and that Sporting aren’t going to take any shit off the Tripers this season.
Porto’s attack is likely to be somewhat hindered with the absence of their (and the league’s) top goal scorer from last year Lisandro Lopez (in Beijing for Argentina). Ricardo Quaresma is not on Porto boss Jezzybelle Ferreira’s list of convoked ones, as he’s seen limited action (unlike your mom) this preseason. Even without Quaresma probing the Sporting defense, newboys Cristian Rodríguez and Givanildo “The Hulk” Souza will probably get their fair share of looks at Rui Patricio’s goal. Porto aren’t always the quickest of starters, but like a seasoned professional heavyweight, they’ll wear you down and take advantage of whatever chances they find.
If Sporting go with both Yannick Djaló and Hélder Postiga up front, they’ll be giving up quite a bit of size and will likely not be able to do much in the air (the same applies if they go with a Djaló – Derlei partnership). They’ll have to rely on more precision passing and a deliberate attack taking advantage of Postiga’s ability to get into space and Djaló’s overwhelming pace. Rochemback will have his hands full trying to disrupt the Porto attack and Moutinho must be Deco-like in distribution and creativity for Sporting to be able to grasp the upper hand in the match. Rui Patrício has looked excellent on some occasions and stunningly awful on others. He needs to play within himself and ensure that he’s focused for the full ninety minutes. If he decides to check out for a shot or two on net, it could get real ugly real fast.
Porto defeated Lázio in preseason recently with a similar group of players, so they should be able to make due with who they have to choose from. Sporting on the other hand have almost everyone fully match fit and ready to go. These matches a lot of times tend to be cagey, somewhat boring affairs. After Porto lost this match last year 1-0 (a boring sleep-inducing poofest), they went on to blow the doors off the league and no one had a shot at first place after the opening eight weeks of the season. This match serves Sporting’s confidence a great deal and I want to see them come out with a certain level of swagger and confidence, especially since this group isn’t a huge change from last year’s. I’m gonna go all fan boy crazy here and say Sporting 3 -1 Porto. Don’t ask me who scores, I just hope it ends up that way.
Viva O Sporting!!!