Sporting Clube de Portugal booked their place in Friday's draw for the UEFA Cup quarter-finals, as Bruno Pereirinha's goal five minutes from time ended Bolton Wanderers FC's resistance and secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
Simon Vukčević had wrested the initiative from the English side with a 69th-minute equaliser in the first leg seven days ago, and Sporting never looked like relinquishing it at the Estádio José Alvalade – even if Bolton kept them on tenterhooks. Despite missing nine players for reasons of injury, suspension or Premier League survival, the visitors were in contention throughout, yet just when it seemed only the shrill of the referee's final whistle would finish off their hopes, Pereirinha collected a long ball on the right flank, cut inside and fired in.
Progress always appeared to be Sporting's for the taking. Given the away-goal advantage, their task was made easier when Bolton arrived in Lisbon without several key players as manager Gary Megson kept an eye on Sunday's crucial domestic fixture with Wigan Athletic FC. So many were absent that the captain's armband was passed to Gary Cahill, a 22-year-old with only seven Bolton appearances to his name, yet the defender and his team rose to the challenge.
Bolton's Portuguese Under-21 international Ricardo Vaz Té soon gave warning that it was going to be no stroll for Sporting when he shot into the side-netting, and though the hosts had the better of the play, chances were at a premium. Twice, dithering from Abdoulaye Méïté created openings but Cahill came to the rescue, blocking Leandro Romagnoli's effort having forced Vukčević to drive wide with his weaker left foot moments earlier.
Vukčević endured a disappointing evening, but almost supplied the breakthrough goal on the half-hour when he headed Pereirinha's cross into the path of Marat Izmailov who, in space at the far post, blasted over. Sporting upped the tempo after the restart but opportunities did not materialise until Bolton committed men forward with time running out. Liedson was denied by goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi with ten minutes to go before Pereirinha sealed Paulo Bento team's progress.