Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Photo by Isabel Silva/José Lorvão

European win for Sporting CP

By Sporting CP
10 Nov, 2023

Two penalties give a 2-1 win over KS Raków Częstochowa in the Europa League

Sporting Clube de Portugal beat Polish side RKS Raków Częstochowa 2-1 on the fourth matchday of the UEFA Europa League group stage, with Pedro Gonçalves scoring both goals from the penalty spot. Os Leões are now in second place in Group D with seven points, three behind leaders Atalanta BC.

At a well-attended Estádio José Alvalade, despite the cold conditions, coachRúben Amorim made four changes to his starting XI. Three were made by choice, as Ousmane Diomande, Matheus Reis and Morten Hjulmand made way for Jeremiah St. Juste, Gonçalo Inácio and Francisco Trincão, whilst the other was as a result of suspension for Viktor Gyökeres, with Paulinho chosen in his place.

On the substitutes' bench, the presence of youth players Afonso Moreira, Rodrigo Ribeiro and Tiago Ferreira stood out, with the latter going on to make his debut for the first team main team.

The match started at a good pace, with intensity a constant. Ricardo Esgaio was the first player to create danger with a cross into the heart of the area, but goalkeeper Vladan Kovačević gathered. The shot-stopper did the same soon after, when Paulinho struck towards goal.

Daniel Bragança shot wide from outside the area in the sixth minute and Trincão, twice, made clever moves in which he tried first to set up Gonçalves, then Esgaio.

Twelve minutes in, and after consulting VAR,  referee Enea Jorgji signaled a penalty kick for Sporting CP, showing an additional red card to Bogdan Racovițan for his foul on Jeremiah St. Juste.

Gonçalves held firm from the spot, converting to open the scoring with his fourth goal of 2023/24.

Out in front and a man up -a reverse of what had occured in the first meeting between the two teams, Sporting CP dominated until halftime, with the only reaction from the visitors being a shot from Jean Carlos over the top in the 23rd minute.

Camped out in the opposition midfield, Sporting CP threatened again in the 36th minute, when Marcus Edwards finished a counterattack with a shot that Vladan Kovačević saved.

The Englishman gave the goalkeeper trouble again in the 42nd minute, after Trincão had missed the target. On the last move of the first half, Paulinho, meeting a free kick taken by Gonçalves, headed the ball into the side netting.

The first half ended 1-0, which seemed to be a scarce reward for the superiority that Sporting CP had shown.

The second half almost started perfectly, but Paulinho's goal in the opening minute was disallowed for offside.

However, Sporting CP did make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute, and once again the goal came from a penalty -this time due to a handball from Milan Rundić.

From the 11 metre mark, Gonçalves repeated the feat, sending Kovačević the wrong way to put the ball in the back of the net.

After a shot by Francisco Trincão into the side netting, Amorim made three changes, bringing Morten Hjulmand, Matheus Reis and Iván Fresneda on to replace Gonçalves, Inácio and Esgaio, respectively.

Trincão threatened again with a shot that was only kept out by a defender, then Hjulmand also missed the target.

With 20 minutes remaining,  St. Juste and Edwards exited, with Ousmane Diomande and debutant Tiago Ferreira coming on.

However, the game opened up again when, in the 71st minute, RKS Raków Częstochowa made it 2-1 with a free kick that surprised the defence. Antonio Adán saved the first shot, but Milan Rundić turned in the rebound.

The goal did not change the run of play, and Sporting CP continued on top. Bragança and Tiago Ferreira had chances, and in the 83rd minute, at the end of an excellent move, Bragança forced a spectacular save from Kovačević.

In the final minutes, RKS Raków Częstochowa gained some momentum and tried to get an equaliser but were unable to create any danger and trouble Adán again. The game ended 2-1 to Sporting CP.

Next up is an away game in Liga Portugal, across town against rivals SL Benfica in one of the biggest fixtures of the season.

Sporting CP: Antonio Adán [GK], Jeremiah St. Juste (Ousmane Diomande, 70'), Sebastián Coates [C], Gonçalo Inácio (Matheus Reis, 56'), Ricardo Esgaio (Iván Fresneda, 56'), Daniel Bragança, Pedro Gonçalves (Morten Hjulmand, 56'), Nuno Santos, Marcus Edwards (Tiago Ferreira, 70'), Francisco Trincão and Paulinho.