Aves 2-1 Sporting
In a historic day for the club from the small northern town of Vila das Aves, the minnows beat crisis-ridden Sporting 2-1 at the Estádio Nacional to claim their first ever Taça de Portugal.
An Alexandre Guedes' brace put Aves up 2-0 after 72 minutes, Fredy Montero scored a skilful late effort to give Sporting hope, but José Mota’s side hung on to lift the trophy.
José Mota was able to rest most of his side in preparation for this game as they lost at home 3-2 to Chaves in the final game of the season. However 42-year-old Quim started in goal ahead of Adriano Facchini.
Of course for Sporting, preparations couldn’t have been any worse. Defeat to Marítimo resulted in a week of off-pitch chaos that has plunged the club into deep turmoil. On the pitch, Cristiano Piccini missed out to injury with Stefan Ristovski in his place and a bandaged-up Bas Dost started up front.
Quim denies Gelson
It was Sporting who started the brighter of the two teams with Gelson Martins having two great chances but veteran Quim was there to prevent him from finding the net.
Aves however made full use of their first counter attack when Braga crossed for former Sporting youngster Alexandre Guedes to beat Rui Patrício from close range.
Aves continued to be a nuisance to Sporting on the counter attack as Jorge Jesus’ team looked pedestrian going forward for the remainder of the first half. At the other end, right-back Rodrigo Soares burst forward on another counter attack and almost doubled the lead for Aves.
At half-time Jorge Jesus replaced the once again ineffective William Carvalho with Fredy Montero, the hero of the 2015 final against Braga when Sporting had to come from a 2 goal deficit.
Guedes at the double
Aves defended well in the second half as Sporting attacked as much as possible but the Lions were still susceptible to the counter attack. Gelson Martins lost the ball in the 72nd minute that lead to Alexandre Guedes getting the better of Sebastián Coates and finishing with enough to beat the Portugal goalkeeper to prompt great scenes of celebration from the Aves team and fans.
Sporting almost pulled one back within minutes after Bas Dost had the best chance of the game. Bruno Fernandes' curling effort was stopped by Quim, the ball fell to the Dutchman with an empty goal in front of him but he somehow managed to hit the bar.
Sporting created a tense end of the game for Aves when Fredy Montero brilliantly finished an acrobatic effort to pull a goal back in the 85th minute.
Referee Tiago Martins added seven additional minutes to the 90, but Sporting just couldn’t find a way through and Aves won a historic and deserved victory that sends them into the Europa League group stages for next season, a tremendous achievement for José Mota and his team.
For Sporting, the turmoil continues and the inquisition as to what has turned a promising season into a nightmare end will continue through the summer and beyond.
by Richard Cole
Aves XI: Quim; Rodrigo Soares, Carlos Ponck, Diego Galo, Nélson Lenho; Fernando Tissone, Vítor Gomes, Braga (Cláudio Falcão, 71'); Amilton Silva (Mama Baldé, 75'), Nildo Petrolina (Jorge Felipe, 90'), Alexandre Guedes
Sporting XI: Rui Patrício; Stefan Ristovski, Sebastián Coates, Jérémey Mathieu, Fábio Coentrão (Josip Misic, 63'); William Carvalho (Fredy Montero, 45'), Bruno Fernandes, Rodrigo Battaglia; Gelson Martins, Marcos Acuña, Bas Dost
[1-0] - Alexandre Guedes, 16'
[2-0] - Alexandre Guedes, 72'
[2-1] - Fredy Montero, 85'