Real Madrid is visiting the Sporting Lisbon FC on Tuesday night during the 5th leg of the UEFA Champions League Group F. It will certainly be a very exciting matchup considering that Sporting proved to be a very tough team to beat in their first routing at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, when Real Madrid needed late goals from Ronaldo and Morata to give them edge over the Portuguese side.
This will be the 6th time these two teams go head-to-head in the UEFA competitions, with Real Madrid having more success, as they came out victorious in three occasions, while suffering one loss and one draw. Despite their positive record against the Portuguese team, the Spaniards were winless in their last two visits to Portugal, when they suffered a loss and a draw.
SPORTING LISBON FC
Sporting Lisbon is ranked 3rd in group F with three points to their name, coming victorious against Legia Warsaw in the 2nd round, while suffering defeats in all remaining matches.
Against the Spanish teams, Sporting has an overall record of 6 wins, 10 losses and 5 drawn matches, with all 6 wins coming at home, which means that the visitors will have a tough time winning points from the Estadio Jose Alvado on Tuesday night. The chances of Sporting seeing the next round of the UEFA Champions league are still alive, but they would first need to get a win on Tuesday night, then in the final leg defeating the Legia Warsaw, while Real Madrid must suffer a loss against Borussia Dortmund. This scenario is unlikely to happen, but as long as the chances are alive, the Portuguese team will not surrender.
In the domestic competition, the Portuguese team is holding the 3rd spot as well, collecting total of 21 points with a 2 wins and 3 draws in their last 5 games, and 5 points behind the leaders Benfica. In their last game in the domestic competition against Prainense, Sporting came on top with a comfortable 5:1 win, with the Brazilian striker Andre netting two goals, coming off the bench. Andre and Bruno Cesar will be the main threat for the Los Blancos. There are no reported injuries for the Portuguese team so far.
No one really expected Real Madrid to have such a difficult time to beat Sporting on matchday 1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, but if it were not for Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata, who scored late goals, the situation in group F would now be much different. The game in Portugal will be especially emotional for Ronaldo, who is returning to home to face the team where his senior career kicked-off. There is no doubt that he will have an extra motive to impress when he steps onto the pitch on Tuesday night.
In the history of the club, Real Madrid has played a total of 21 games against the Portuguese teams, holding a solid record with 13 wins, 5 losses and 2 drawn matches. Additionally, in their 9 trips to Portugal, they have recorded 4 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. Real Madrid has not shinned in the Group stage so far, giving away points easily, especially in the last leg when they came from behind, only to draw the match against Legia Warsaw 3:3 in Poland. They are currently holding the 2nd spot in group F with 2 points behind the group leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Although the Spaniards need only 1 point from the remaining two matches in order to qualify for the knockout round, the visitors will certainly look to win all three points and keep their chances of winning the group alive, when they face the German team in the final leg.
Despite the fact that some of the key players (Pepe, Casemiro, Morata and Kroos) still unavailable for the team due to injuries, the Los Blancos are playing in a great from in the domestic competition, thrashing their city rivals Atletico Madrid 3:0 away, confirming the top spot of La Liga and keeping 4 points clear of the 2nd placed Barcelona.
Real Madrid has not shinned defensively conceding at least 1 goal in the last four games, giving away points against Legia Warsaw and Dortmund, but still they are entering the matchup against Sporting on Tuesday as the favorite. The hosts will look to use their chances but will not risk too much as they would be more satisfied with at least 1 point. The most likely final outcome is a draw, but if there is an early goal scored, look for the game to open up and the teams to combine for 4+ goals.
Sporting Lisbon expected lineup: Beto – Douglas, Jefferson, Oliviera, Esgasio – Silva, Elias, Cesar, Ruiz – Castaignos, Andre
Coach: Pinheiro de Jesus Jorge Fernando
Real Madrid expected lineup: Navas – Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo – Modric, Kovacic, Isco – Ronaldo, Bale, Vasquez
Coach: Zinedine Zidane
Sporting CP vs Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League – Group F
Date: Tuesday, 22nd November 2016.
Kick-Off at 20:45 CET,
Venue: Estadio Jose Alvado, Lisbon, Portugal