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Sporting's sights set on last 16

Published: Wednesday 22 February 2012, 19.38CET
Sporting Clube de Portugal boss Ricardo Sá Pinto is "sure" they can get past Legia Warszawa after drawing 2-2 away while defender João Pereira wants a win even if a 0-0 is enough.
by Carlos Machado
from Estádio José Alvalade
Sporting's sights set on last 16
Sporting coach Ricardo Sá Pinto instructs his squad ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 22 February 2012, 19.38CET

Sporting's sights set on last 16

Sporting Clube de Portugal boss Ricardo Sá Pinto is "sure" they can get past Legia Warszawa after drawing 2-2 away while defender João Pereira wants a win even if a 0-0 is enough.

Sporting Clube de Portugal may have the edge in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Legia Warszawa after scoring two crucial away goals in the first leg but defender João Pereira insists his side will still be going for the win in Lisbon.

The Leões were twice behind in Warsaw but Daniel Carriço and André Santos pegged back the hosts to ensure Ricardo Sá Pinto's first game in charge ended in a 2-2 draw. Having had a tastes of Legia's attacking potential, Sporting will not be taking anything for granted despite an eight-match unbeaten home European run at the Estádio José Alvalade which includes seven victories.

Pereira insists his side will be taking no risks as they attempt to go one better than Sporting's 2005 squad, who lost the UEFA Cup final to PFC CSKA Moskva in at their own ground. "The draw was an OK result for us but we have to be professionals," said the 27-year-old. "It's always good to go on to the pitch knowing 0-0 or 1-1 will be good enough, but in my experience when we start thinking of getting a draw, we lose. We need to think that the win is the best result."

The defender also revealed that the new coach, who replaced Domingos Paciência earlier this month, has helped relax the players. "We haven't had much time with him but we are trying to develop our own personality and avoid worrying about things around us. In the past we felt a lot of pressure and often didn’t want to have the ball at our feet. Now that doesn't happen."

Sá Pinto himself is confident his side will progress, explaining: "I'm sure we'll win though I know Legia will give their best. They have nothing to lose and will take all the risks. We feel confident, know our quality and will have the support of our fans. If we play to the level of our last two matches we will qualify but I don't want to speak too soon."

Legia coach Maciej Skorża acknowledged his side are up against it in Lisbon, but fancies his chances of causing a shock as Maciej Rybus and Marcin Komorowski make their final appearances for the club before moving to FC Terek Grozny. "Sporting are in the better position," said the 40-year-old. "However we won't give up; we are here to surprise people. We have to score and try to win, so the earlier we score the better. We want this to be a good farewell for Maciej and Marcin and what better way than by eliminating Sporting?"

Last updated: 23/02/12 15.48CET

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