As Sporting Clube de Portugal contemplate a break from fixtures for the forthcoming international programme, Paulo Bento's team can be well satisfied with their start to the season.
A 2-0 home victory against UD Leiria last night took them level at the top of the Liga with FC Porto after the champions lost 2-1 at SC Braga, as the Lisbon club strive to claim a first title since 2002. Meanwhile, a defeat of FC Internazionale Milano and draw at FC Spartak Moskva last week have left Sporting second in UEFA Champions League Group B ahead of the Matchday 3 visit of leaders FC Bayern München, when maximum points would leave Sporting within sight of the knockout rounds for the first time under the current format.
Liedson off the mark
Sporting took the lead against Leiria after 34 minutes when Nani turned in Alecsandro's cross. The visitors had struck the crossbar early on but were by no means a menace to Ricardo and Sporting scored again in the 56th minute when Éder brought down Nani and Brazilian striker Liedson stroked in his first goal of the season from the penalty spot. Éder's night went from bad to worse when he was sent off after 72 minutes following his second yellow card. Liedson said: "It's not normal for me to endure such a goal drought but we have to be patient and to keep on working hard. I'm very happy about my goal and even more for our win."
Bento, whose team will welcome Porto on 22 October, four days after Bayern come to Lisbon, added: "I think we played well and it was a deserved victory. We didn't allow our opponents to create any chances with the exception of a long-range shot. Obviously Liedson getting back in the goals is very good but that's just a part of the bigger picture.
The most important thing is to keep winning."
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