All the leading clubs in Portugal won their matches this weekend, meaning there was no change at the top of the Liga NOS.
Leaders Benfica won 2-0 in Chaves to equal their own record (dating back to 1973) for the most consecutive away wins in the Portuguese top flight – 15. Late goals from Mitroglou and Pizzi gave the Eagles the points.
Porto won their local derby against Boavista at the Dragão, with André Silva scoring a brace in a 3-1 victory, while Braga came from behind to beat Vitória Setúbal 2-1 at the Quarry thanks to the evergreen Alan, the 37-year-old Brazilian scoring one and setting up the other goal.
The most impressive performance came from Sporting, whose 4-2 victory over Estoril did not reflect the home team’s superiority as the Lions returned to winnings ways.
Sporting 4-2 Estoril
Jorge Jesus sprang a surprise by giving Jefferson a rare start at left-back. João Pereira, Bryan Ruiz and Bas Dost were also recalled in relation to the Rio Ave match as Sporting attempted to bounce back from two straight defeats.
And Sporting’s players looked set on putting things right as a determined and focused team immediately took control of proceedings. As ever, captain Adrien and William Carvalho were pulling the strings in midfield, and with Gelson Martins and Bryan Ruiz causing all sorts of problems for Estoril’s defence, the only surprise from a one-sided first half was that the hosts only scored the one goal.
In the 13th minute Bryan Ruiz played a perfectly weighted pass to Gelson, whose pinpoint cross was guided into the net by the diving head of Bas Dost.
The opening 45 minutes saw a typical performance from Bryan Ruiz. The Costa Rican’s outrageous skill was a constant source of danger for the visitors, but his wayward finishing was also on show as he spurned a couple of inviting chances to increase Sporting’s lead.
Bas Dost at the double
The second half started off in the same vein. On the hour mark Coates took advantage of a misjudgement from Estoril goalkeeper Moreira to head in a corner, and soon afterwards it was 3-0 as a lovely through ball from the outstanding William was clinically finished by Bas Dost. As well as his goals (4 goals in 4 games for Sporting), the Dutch striker’s clever link-up play and good work rate suggests the record fee of over €10m the Lisbon club paid Wolfsburg was money well spent.
With around 30 minutes remaining and Estoril completely inoffensive a thrashing looked on the cards, but Sporting took their foot off the pedal and JJ withdrew Adrien and Bas Dost from the pitch, with Tuesday’s Champions League match in mind.
In contrast, Estoril made attacking substitutions and at last woke up. A late flurry of goals saw Bruno Gomes score a brace for Estoril, with Brazilain striker André grabbing his first goal for Sporting in between.
Jorge Jesus was full of praise for young winger Gelson Martins after the match, and also admitted he was still undecided about who is the best option to partner striker Bas Dost up front. Argentinian Alan Ruiz was again disappointing, being hooked at half time, while Markovic and André played lively cameos.
Sporting return to Champions League action on Tuesday night, hosting Legia Warsaw in Lisbon.
By Tom Kundert at Alvalade
Sporting: Rui Patrício, João Pereira, Coates, Semedo, Jefferson, Gelson, Adrien (Elias, 77’), William, Bryan, Alan Ruiz (André, 46’), Bas Dost (Markovic, 74’)
Estoril: Moreira, Lucas Farias, João Afonso, Dankler, Joel, Diogo Amado, Afonso Taira (Eduardo, 71’), Matheus Índio, Mattheus, Alisson Farias (Gustavo Tocantins, 61’), Paulo Henrique (Bruno Gomes, 65’)
[1-0] Bas Dost, 13’
[2-0] Coates, 59’
[3-0] Bas Dost, 62’
[3-1] Bruno Gomes, 85’
[4-1] André, 91’
[4-2] Bruno Gomes, 93’