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Sporting style pays dividends

Published: Wednesday 24 September 2003, 22.55CET
Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-0 Malmö FF The Portuguese team are in pole position to progress.
Published: Wednesday 24 September 2003, 22.55CET

Sporting style pays dividends

Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-0 Malmö FF The Portuguese team are in pole position to progress.

Sporting Clube de Portugal put themselves in pole position to progress to the UEFA Cup second round after an excellent showing at their new Alvalade stadium against Malmö FF.

Bright start
Goals from Laurenço and Liedson Da Silva Muniz ensured the Portuguese side will travel to Sweden in good spirits for the return on 15 October. From the start, it was a free-flowing game. In the fifth minute Nigerian striker, Peter Ijeh missed a golden opportunity to put Malmö ahead from five metres out. Two minutes later, Malmö broke through again but keeper sRicardo easily gathered Ijeh's shot.

Good response
In the 15th minute, Portuguese Under-21 international Laurenço opened the scoring. He was played through by an inspired pass from Rodrigo Tello to the edge of the area and struck the ball into the net through goalkeeper Mattias Asper's legs.

Stylish play
Just after the half-hour mark, superb play between Laurenço and João Pinto carved open the Swedish defence but the pair could not finish off the move. Sporting were starting to turn it on, and João Pinto forc ed a brave point-blank save from Asper.

Asper save
Tello almost provided a second goal for Laurenço in the 41st minute, after being played through by Fabio Rochemback, but once again Asper came to the rescue.

Loud support
Sporting began the second half brightly with Rochemback and João Pinto linking well together on the right side of midfield as the Sporting fans' drums thundered around the ground. For the first ten minutes of the half, play was almost entirely in the Malmö half.

Captain inspirational
Silva, João Pinto and Rochemback linked up in a sweet movement from the left into the middle of the park but Asper was again on hand to collect Rochemback's shot. While Sporting's forwards were asking all sorts of questions of Malmö's defence, Beto, the Sporting captain, was a rock upon which the visitors' few attacks foundered.

Liedson on
In the 65th minute, Beto went close with a free-kick but not close enough. Sporting were struggling to get the second goal their superiority deserved, but coach Fernando Santos introduced Liedson for Silva and the move paid dividends.

Second goal
After João Pinto hit the post in the 74th minute he then turned provider to supply Liedson with a free header, which he missed. However, Liedson scored from close range five minutes from time to reward for the home side for their efforts.

'I am happy'
Santos said after the game that he was was content with the result. "We are only at half-time but I am happy with the score. I am confident and I think that in Sweden we can score a goal that will decide everything."

'Very good team'
His opposite number Tom Prahl said: "We missed a couple of very good chances and now we have to give our very best at home to try to win the match by three goals difference which is very difficult. Sporting are a very good team and they are favourites."

Last updated: 25/09/03 9.53CET