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Sporting storm to Group C summit

Sporting Clube de Portugal 5-0 PFC Levski Sofia
The home side served notice of their intent with an emphatic victory in Group C, with five players on target.

Maniche celebrates after putting Sporting 2-0 up against Levski
Maniche celebrates after putting Sporting 2-0 up against Levski ©Getty Images

Five players were on target as Sporting Clube de Portugal brushed PFC Levski Sofia aside and stormed to the top of UEFA Europa League Group C.

Sporting captain Daniel Carriço started the ball rolling on the half-hour mark, with Maniche doubling the advantage two minutes before the break. Diogo Salomão and Hélder Postiga increased the lead either side of the hour, leaving Matías Fernández to round off the scoring and inflict Levski's joint-heaviest away defeat in UEFA competition 11 minutes from time.

For all the hosts' dominance, it was Levski who fashioned the first opening inside two minutes when Garra Dembélé tested Rui Patrício from the edge of the penalty area. Sporting responded with Hélder Postiga drawing a save from Georgi Petkov and Simon Vukčević shooting over.

Petkov then denied Hélder Postiga after the striker had breached the visitors' defence but was powerless to stop Carriço heading in Fernández's corner. That prompted the floodgates to open, with Maniche nodding in Vukčević's delivery from the right on 43 minutes.

Sporting picked up where they had left off after the restart as Salomão dispatched a shot in off the post after Postiga had headed the ball down into his path. Provider then turned scorer on 61 minutes as Hélder Postiga beat Petkov from 20 metres.

Hélder Postiga then rattled the woodwork from distance yet worse was to come for the Bulgarian side as Fernández completed a satisfying night for Paulo Sérgio's team with a simple finish. Sporting go into a double-header with KAA Gent three points clear of Levski, who will attempt to bounce back against LOSC Lille Métropole.