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Grimi pops up to seal top spot for Sporting

Sporting Clube de Portugal 1-1 SC Heerenveen
Substitute Leandro Grimi's late strike earned the hosts the point they required to progress while damaging the Dutch outfit's hopes.

Grimi pops up to seal top spot for Sporting
Grimi pops up to seal top spot for Sporting ©UEFA.com

An added-time equaliser from substitute Leandro Grimi earned Sporting Clube de Portugal a 1-1 draw against SC Heerenveen to seal their progression from UEFA Europa League Group D.

Crucial strike
Sporting started the game six points clear of their rivals in the section, but after going behind to Oussama Assaidi's strike just after the break, it looked as though the pool would be thrown wide open. However, Grimi's late effort means Sporting go through as group winners while Heerenveen need a victory in their final fixture against eliminated FK Ventspils and hope the Portuguese side defeat Hertha BSC Berlin on Matchday 6.

Confident visitors
Liedson was sharp from the off for Sporting and had his first sight of goal as early as the third minute while the visitors took longer to get into their stride before Roy Beerens shot wide. Heerenveen were becoming more confident and Michal Papadopulos headed just over before home goalkeeper Rui Patrício saved from Viktor Elm on the stroke of half-time.

Assaidi opener
The Eredivisie side soon received the reward for their industry two minutes after the break when Assaidi cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful right-foot shot that grazed the post on its way in after beating Patrício at his near post. João Moutinho and Liedson then both went close with away keeper Brian Vandenbussche making a point-blank save to deny the latter.

At the last
It looked as though the visitors' tenacity would be rewarded with three points but Liedson found Grimi in space in the 91st minute and the 24-year-old finished calmly to secure his side's place in the round of 32 draw.