Sporting Clube de Portugal finally ended their European hoodoo against German clubs as a deflected first-half Adrien Silva goal proved the difference between them and Hertha BSC Berlin in Group D.
Busy Adrien Silva
Sporting had not beaten a German club in 16 previous attempts and last season crashed out 12-1 on aggregate to FC Bayern München in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League. Adrien Silva – sent off for a second bookable offence in injury time – scored a deflected goal on 18 minutes which proved the key for Sporting, who enjoyed a late let-off as Christoph Janker thumped a thunderbolt of a shot against the post from well outside the area.
Hertha caretaker coach Karsten Heine retained only four of the team beaten 5-1 at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim last weekend; a sixth straight league defeat which cost Lucien Favre his job. The visitors did not start like a team short on confidence with Colombian forward Adrián Ramos producing the first effort on target. Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo, making his first start for Sporting, looked lively at the other end.
Adrien Silva will have good reason to recall his first Sporting appearance of the season. When the 20-year-old let fly with his left foot from well outside the box, a huge deflection off Hertha midfielder Pál Dárdai took the ball beyond Sascha Burchert. Either side of half-time visiting captain Raffael failed to make the most of clear sights of goal and his aim was also awry with a late attempt, after which Adrien Silva received his second booking. Sporting, with two wins from two, visit second-placed FK Ventspils on Matchday 3, while Hertha welcome SC Heerenveen, also on one point.