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Metalist pay the penalty as Sporting progress

Published: Thursday 5 April 2012, 23.20CET
FC Metalist Kharkiv 1-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal (agg: 2-3)
Cleiton Xavier was made to pay for his missed penalty as Sporting progressed to the semi-finals courtesy of Ricky van Wolfswinkel's header.
by Boris Popov
from Metalist Stadium

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Published: Thursday 5 April 2012, 23.20CET

Metalist pay the penalty as Sporting progress

FC Metalist Kharkiv 1-1 Sporting Clube de Portugal (agg: 2-3)
Cleiton Xavier was made to pay for his missed penalty as Sporting progressed to the semi-finals courtesy of Ricky van Wolfswinkel's header.

FC Metalist Kharkiv were made to pay for Cleiton Xavier's second-half penalty miss as their UEFA Europa League run came to an end at the hands of Sporting Clube de Portugal, who will play Athletic Club in the semi-finals.

Needing to oveturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit, it was the hosts who created the only meaningful chances before the break. However, the visitors struck first to extend their aggregate lead through Ricky van Wolfswinkel's 44th-minute header. Jonathan Cristaldo gave Metalist hope 12 minutes into the second half but their hopes faded when Xavier's penalty was saved by Rui Patrício and Sporting held on.

Metalist controlled the game after a cautious start but struggled to convert their early dominance into clear-cut chances. A Cristaldo header which went narrowly over from Xavier's cross was the closest they came early on. Xavier was involved again moments later but Patrício was alert to deny the Metalist captain at his near post.

Taison was a constant threat for Myron Markevich's men and could have given his side the lead just past the half-hour. The Brazilian dribbled past Xandão and evaded the attentions of Stijn Schaars but fired straight at Patrício. Content to play on the counterattack, Sporting's tactics paid off a minute before the break when Van Wolfswinkel climbed above Serhiy Pshenychnykh to head Diego Capel's cross into the bottom left-hand corner.

Marko Dević came off the bench to good effect in last week's opener and he was influential in getting Metalist back into the tie on 57 minutes. The 28-year-old flicked a long ball into the path of Xavier, who cut in from the left to smash past Patrício and give the tournament's top-scorers a lifeline. Dević was involved again six minutes later when he was brought down in the penalty area by Emiliano Insúa. Patrício dived to his left to keep out Xavier's spot kick and preserve his side's aggregate lead.

The hosts continued to pour forward in search of the goal that would have taken the game into extra time but Sporting kept them at bay to set up a meeting with Athletic.

Last updated: 27/11/12 4.04CET

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