SC Heerenveen 2-3 Sporting Clube de Portugal
Sporting recovered from an early setback but it took Liedson's hat-trick goal only two minutes from time to earn the points in Group D.
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Liedson completed a memorable hat-trick two minutes from time to earn Sporting Clube de Portugal a 3-2 win at SC Heerenveen, but they were forced to work hard for the UEFA Europa League spoils.
An excitable home crowd was given more ammunition on 12 minutes when Gerald Sibon headed Heerenveen in front. However, signs of the form that has seen the club plummet to third from bottom in the Dutch Eredivisie soon came to the fore as Liedson struck twice before half-time. Michael Dingsdag's venomous free-kick looked to have given Heerenveen a Group D point – Liedson had other ideas.
Heerenveen's direct approach soon paid dividends, Michal Švec's cross picking out an unmarked Sibon to head in emphatically. Equally indicative of their central figure was Sporting's equaliser five minutes later, Miguel Veloso unleashing a vicious shot from outside the penalty area which Martin Lejsal could only parry to Liedson. Heerenveen then spurned two opportunities, Michel Breuer heading straight at Rui Patrício and Paulo Henrique seeing his attempted lob acrobatically cleared off the line by Marco Caneira. Their profligacy proved costly when Matías Fernández raced to the byline five minutes before half-time and back-heeled to Liedson whose shot squirmed under a culpable Lejsal.
The striker could have twice wrapped up his hat-trick in the opening 20 minutes of the second half but could not beat Lejsal. Simon Vukčević and Hélder Postiga failed even to find the target when in space, while Heerenveen's attacking ambition was limited to half-chances and speculative efforts. One unexpectedly reaped reward in the 77th minute when Dingsdag's free-kick from near the right touchline whistled past Patrício and into the far corner. Just as it looked enough to earn a draw, Liedson turned in Moutinho's cross from close range.