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Sporting start too fast for Zürich

FC Zürich 0-2 Sporting Clube de Portugal
The Portuguese visitors inflicted the damage inside the opening 21 minutes and later rode their luck to make a winning start to Group D.

Sporting start too fast for Zürich
Sporting start too fast for Zürich ©UEFA.com

Goals from Emiliano Insúa and Ricky van Wolfswinkel ensured Sporting Clube de Portugal's UEFA Europa League Group D campaign got off to a flyer at FC Zürich's expense.

Zürich were made to pay for allowing Insúa too much space in the fourth minute as the former Liverpool FC defender headed in Stijn Schaars' free-kick. The Argentinian then turned provider midway through the first half when his cross was met emphatically by Van Wolfswinkel. Despite hitting the woodwork three times, Urs Fischer's charges never convinced that a fightback was on the cards.

The Lions' lead arrived when Schaars' floated set piece found Insúa unmarked and the 22-year-old glanced a deft header past Johnny Leoni. The hosts almost levelled in the 17th minute, however, Ricardo Rodriguez latching on to Oliver Buff's lay-off from an indirect free-kick inside the penalty area and crashing a shot against Rui Patrício's left upright.

Zürich were soon on the back foot again as Leoni was required to keep out another Schaars free-kick and Diego Capel's stinging follow-up. The warning signs were there and Sporting duly emphasised their dominance on 21 minutes, Van Wolfswinkel connecting with Insúa's whipped cross from the left and smashing past Leoni.

Despite half-chances for Yassine Chikhaoui and Milan Gajić, the Swiss side were struggling to cope with their visitors' superior passing and movement. They nevertheless should have halved their arrears soon after the interval, Admir Mehmedi doing all the hard work and advancing into the penalty area only to see his effort come back off the woodwork.

Rodriguez's curling free-kick also hit the frame of the goal with 14 minutes remaining, while Sporting were later left grateful for a last-ditch Oguchi Onyewu tackle.

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