Primeira Liga champions Sporting have been rocked by defeat in their UEFA Champions League opener against Ajax, losing 5-1 at home to the Amsterdam outift, this Wednesday.

Four goals from ex-West Ham United forward Sebastian Haller and an additional first-half finish from Steven Berghuis condemned Sporting to an embarrassing start to their European campaign, leaving them bottom behind the defeated Besiktas in Group C.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid, ten-man FC Porto were unable to go beyond a point in their first Champions League outing, against Atlético de Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano, after Mehdi Taremi was unlucky to see a goal of his chalked off for handball.

Also destined for a goalless night was Benfica, who on Tuesday held onto a goalless draw to share the spoils with Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine. All Champions League games and matches in other competitions can be followed via the Sports168 website.

 

Sporting 1-5 Ajax

The Lions couldn’t have asked for a worse return to Champions League action after a Sebastian Haller brace left Sporting, without the likes of Sebastian Coates and Pedro Gonçalves, 2-0 down as early as the 8th minute.

Rúben Amorim’s men fought for their luck and clawed a goal back through Paulinho on the half-hour mark, but the hosts were pegged back soon after, with Steven Berghuis making it 3-1 to Ajax in the 38th minute.

Unlike the first half, Alvalade was rocking early in the second period after a blistering start that saw Paulinho nab a second with a looping header in the 47th minute, only for the tables to be turned on Sporting once more with the goal being ruled out for offside, just a couple of minutes before Haller made it 4-1 with his hat-trick.

It was Haller’s night as he upped his personal account to four and handed Sporting a shock 5-1 defeat at home, placing the Lisbon outfit bottom of Group C. 

Sporting coach Rúben Amorim:

“Congratulations to Ajax; they were better than us. We have to work hard and think about the next game. We have to learn from this defeat, especially the coach. We have to look at the match and understand what went wrong.

“My team has a big heart, the players suffered a lot out there, and I’m proud of them. Despite a very harsh score-line they fought until the end. Like that, they will always have the backing of their coach. I like to say, at these times, that I’m very proud.”

 

Atl. Madrid 0-0 Porto

A hard-fought and intense encounter was what the world expected between Atlético and Porto in Spain and the two Iberian sides offered just that in a first half of few chances.

The second period followed the same mantra until the Dragons were able to win the ball high up prior to Taremi fumbling the ball into the back of the net, as late as the 80th minute.

It wasn’t to be for Sérgio Conceição’s men, however, with VAR cancelling out Taremi’s goal after a handball from the Iranian forward in his efforts evade the goalkeeper and finish, keeping things muted at 0-0 after Chancel Mbemba's late red card for the Portuguese side.

Porto coach Sérgio Conceição:

“It’s a point gained. We wanted three, but we knew it would be a tough game given the individual and collective quality of our opponents. As expected, it was a highly competitive game.

“Atlético started strongly and dominated more in the first half. The second half was more even, and it was always us that created more danger. It was a very balanced match but perhaps the clearest goalscoring opportunities were for us.”

 

Dynamo Kyiv 0-0 Benfica

With some of the bigger names present in Group E, Benfica placed a great deal of importance on a victory away to Dynamo Kyiv, also keen to secure all three points in Ukraine.

Rafa Silva and Roman Yaremchuk were the danger-men for the visitors but it was Dynamo, via Mykola Shaparenko’s free-kick in the first half, who created the biggest opportunity of the opening exchanges, as the playmaker’s set-piece pinged off the bar.

There was even greater panic for Benfica to stomach in the second period after another effort found its way onto the crossbar, prior to a key save from Odisseas Vlachodimos and a fortunate Nicolás Otamendi intervention that shaved his own post to leave the Ukrainians in sheer agony.

Dynamo thought they had nicked it at the death with a back-post Shaparenko finish, but the midfielder’s goal was ruled out for offside, cementing a goalless draw between the two outfits.

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus:

“We played a great game, but didn’t manage to turn this quality into big goal-scoring opportunities, we only had one clear one, through Yaremchuk. We were in command of the game but did not make the right decisions in the finishing zones.

“Football is a sport where the team that plays better does not always win. We couldn’t score, and we almost lost in the final two minutes, with the ball hitting the woodwork and that confusion which could have ended up as a goal. But this is the Champions League and it is one point gained, not two points dropped.”

By Patrick Ribeiro

Comments (7)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Please correct the headline:

"...as Benfica held to goalless draw and Porto screwed by corrupt officials and UEFA out of 3 very clear points".

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Sporting should be banned from playing in European competitions at least under Amorim. He won just one game (Europa League qualifying campaign against Aberdeen), and lost the other four. The last two games were lost 4:1 and 5:1 both at home.

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I wasnt expecting much from Sporting but to lose 5-1 at home was sad indeed, I know we very inexperienced team along with the manager but I still expected better but credit to Ajax because they were efficient.

Hopefully Ruben can learn that...

I wasnt expecting much from Sporting but to lose 5-1 at home was sad indeed, I know we very inexperienced team along with the manager but I still expected better but credit to Ajax because they were efficient.

Hopefully Ruben can learn that parking the bus against superior is a tactic he can use, sometimes you can't outscored the opposition because they are better than you, theres no shame in that.

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Losing 5-1 to Liverpool or Real Madrid I can understand but Ajax? Ajax is only good for cleaning toilets not putting up 5 goals in champions league.

The wheels came off the bus, lets see what happens next.

Porto were robbed, the call had the...

Losing 5-1 to Liverpool or Real Madrid I can understand but Ajax? Ajax is only good for cleaning toilets not putting up 5 goals in champions league.

The wheels came off the bus, lets see what happens next.

Porto were robbed, the call had the smell of Madrid influence, again.

JJ did what JJ does in Europe, nothing.

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Sporting vs Ajax match was not televised on our cable network and I couldn't find a livestream. It was my first priority, but sadly I had to watch other match. When I got the notification that Ajax scored just in 2 mins, all my hopes and...

Sporting vs Ajax match was not televised on our cable network and I couldn't find a livestream. It was my first priority, but sadly I had to watch other match. When I got the notification that Ajax scored just in 2 mins, all my hopes and expectations were flushed down the toilet.

How could Sporting let a West Ham flop Sebastien Haller score 4 goals? I cannot believe this. I am so devastated by the result, I still don't want to watch the match replay.

Benfica and Porto could have won and should have won. All three are in very tough groups. I have little hopes for Sporting and Benfica. Can Porto slip past Atl. Madrid for the second place? I don't know.

In the Europa, we have Braga losing to a team I don't even know about in FK Crvena Zvezda. Not a good week for Portuguese teams in Europe. We also lost two Conference League spots by Santa Clara and Pacos de Ferreira.

The Portuguese League is currently the top 5 league in Europe based on coefficient, and for that we have 3 champions league spots. I really want to keep this momentum going and keep crushing the French League.

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Not surprised Sporting got destroyed to be honest. Nerves and inexperience coupled with no Pote, Coates, and Inacio (who clearly wasn't ready) had disaster written all over it. Feddal is a horrible defender; so is Ruben Vinagre. The latter is...

Not surprised Sporting got destroyed to be honest. Nerves and inexperience coupled with no Pote, Coates, and Inacio (who clearly wasn't ready) had disaster written all over it. Feddal is a horrible defender; so is Ruben Vinagre. The latter is young and can learn, I'm not sure the former can learn anything. Only bright spot for me was Matheus Nunes. Hoping he gets called up next month and commits to Portugal. I got serious Renato Sanches vibes from him despite the heavy defeat, and Lord knows our midfield could use another player with those characteristics.

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Soccer teams win and lose matches. This is natural. I wasn't expecting much from Sporting if I'm honest. Player movement before the start of the season combined with some injuries is never a good recipe for success in soccer. Having said all...

Soccer teams win and lose matches. This is natural. I wasn't expecting much from Sporting if I'm honest. Player movement before the start of the season combined with some injuries is never a good recipe for success in soccer. Having said all that, I never expected this. What the hell was going on?

I'm with Val in an earlier post. Lose heavily to one of the "big boys" and you can appreciate their superior class. Simply better and more seasoned players can produce dramatic results. You need to be very disciplined combined with a little luck to get a point or even steal a win. This was not the case however.

Gone are the days of Ajax dominance of Europe. They are definitely capable of winning against Sporting let's not kid ourselves but 5 goals and 4 from one player? The gaps were ridiculous, the commitment seemed poor, the overall lack of team speed was torture and the desperation of being sucker punched by goal after goal was was shameful. It's games like this that make me not want to watch soccer. This will be a scary season for the Lions if they don't fix this.

Thankfully this is only one game and they know they are up against it. We all recognize losing is contagious. Better have plan to right the ship or you may find Sporting not only finishing last in their Champions League group but falling way down in the League as well.

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