Sporting fire into Champions League last 16 while defeat versus Liverpool leaves Porto on hold

Sporting have made it into the round of Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League after defeating ten-man Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at the Alvalade.

The Lions cruised into half-time with a two-goal lead, courtesy of a Pedro Gonçalves double before a straight red card from Emre Can set the hosts on their way through for the first time in 13 years, defeating the Germans 3-1 in Lisbon.

FC Porto will have to wait to find out their fate, however, as a 2-0 defeat left the Dragons stuck on five points in second place, with an AC Milan win against Atlético Madrid leaving qualification from Group B on a knife edge for the three sides trailing first-placed Liverpool.

Sporting 3-1 Dortmund

On the night Dortmund were unable to count on Erling Haaland and Raphaël Guerreiro, among others, Sporting had their eye on a historic night at the Alvalade in their quest for victory and potential qualification.

Rúben Amorim’s men found themselves well-placed to make it out of the group after a Pedro Gonçalves brace supplied Sporting with a 2-0 lead going into half-time, despite the Bundesliga side’s best efforts to dominate possession. 

Dortmund responded with changes at the interval, but the shake-up backfired after the man tasked with plugging the gaps in the back-line, Emre Can, found himself in the referee’s bad books with a straight red card midway through the second period.

A foul on Paulinho from Axel Zagadou gave Sporting’s Pedro Gonçalves the chance to grab a hat-trick from the spot, prior to Gregor Kobel’s stop, but the Swiss wasn’t prepared for Pedro Porro’s follow-up to make it 3-0.

Donyell Malen’s consolation goal completed the score at 3-1, making way for the celebrations in the Portuguese capital as Sporting followed Ajax into the next round. 

Sporting’s success in the competition will earn millions of much needed euros for the club’s coffers, and making good money is also the objective of a visit to

Rúben Amorim, Sporting coach:

“The team has grown. Today we played against a great team, who pushed us back, and who actually played better than in Germany, but we were also much better. It’s a small step forward for the idea we have for the club. We’re in the last 16, it’s not usual for Sporting, but it has to become common. For us to be “regular customers” here, there is still a long way to go.”

Sebastián Coates, Sporting captain:

“I’m proud to be captain of this team, which gives everything on the pitch. Sometimes things go well, sometimes they go badly, but the goal of this team is always to give it our all.”

Liverpool 2-0 FC Porto 

Running in tandem was Porto’s fixture away to the might of Liverpool, at Anfield, with the visitors going a goal down in the second half to a stunning Thiago Alcântara opener on the volley in the second period.

The class of Mohamed Salah in the 70th minute was telling as he increased the Reds’ lead to 2-0, but a goal in the other game of the group for Milan, against Atlético, sees Porto hold onto their one-point advantage in second place ahead of their match-up against the Colchoneros.

Sérgio Conceição, FC Porto coach:

“I leave here with a feeling of frustration. In the first half we created three or four clear goal-scoring chances, but we didn’t score. At this level you pay a big price for those misses. Today we played a good game but were not clinical. In attacking terms we were not at all effective.

“In the three away games, in Madrid, Milan and here, we always created clear opportunities, a handful of chances, which we should have taken advantage of. We want, again this year, to get into the last 16 and we’ll work hard to do so, but when the time comes. Now it’s time to think about the game against Vitória de Guimarães.”

By Patrick Ribeiro