The game had a considerable stake, as the fans in both Lisbon and Dortmund knew. Before the start, both teams had six points on their account, which means that the fate of promotion from the second place could be decided on Wednesday. The situation was slightly better for Borussia, who won the first match with Sporting and was second in the table before the match.
A possible victory for Borussia would mean the promotion of this team from the second place in the group. A win by Sporting would mean that the Portuguese would only need a draw with Ajax in the final round, unless they managed to win by more than one goal. In this case, Sporting could celebrate the promotion on Wednesday. The scattering of the points in Wednesday’s matchday 5 of the Champions League would lead to excitement until the very end of the group stage. It is worth remembering that when Sporting will play against Ajax, Borussia will face the theoretically weaker rival, i.e. Besiktas.
From the beginning of the first half, both teams had many inaccuracies in the game, the actions were constructed very chaotically. Sporting and Borussia played as if they were paralyzed by the stakes of this game. The players from Germany presented a slightly more culture of the game, but they also made simple mistakes in the middle of the field.
Pedro Goncalves opened the scoring in the 30th minute. The Sporting player took advantage of the astonishing behavior of Nico Schulz in the defense, who failed to knock out a strong pass. The Borussia player simply missed the ball, and his mistake resulted in a goal for the opponent. Goncalves had no problem defeating Gregor Kobe in such a convenient situation.
As the situation of Borussia seemed difficult, it became much more difficult after a while. Only nine minutes from the first goal, Pedro Goncalves hit the net for the second time. The Portuguese was completely unguarded in front of the penalty area and fired a very strong shot, which forced Kobel to take the ball out of the net a second time. The hit could certainly be liked.
In this situation, Borussia found itself in trouble. The defeat of Sporting meant that even a victory against Besiktas in the last round of the group stage could not lead to the 1/8 finals in the event of a draw or victory for Sporting in the match against Ajax. The Germans had all the other half to fight for at least a draw in Lisbon and to facilitate their way to the next round of the tournament.
At the break, Marco Rose replaced Nico Schulz and brought Emre Cana on the pitch, but in the first minutes of the second half practically nothing changed. The guests still had huge problems with constructing offensive actions that could threaten Antonio Adan’s goal in any way. Sporting defended himself by seeking strength in counterattacks, which is hardly surprising. This result gave Sporting a direct advance before the last round, without having to wait for what would happen in the last matches.
There was less and less time until the end of the match, and the players on the pitch were nervous. The guests knew perfectly well that it was not their day and that the chances of winning a further game in the Champions League were not great, there were struggles and loud quarrels on the pitch, which had to be separated by the referee. Borussia played badly, but still missed one goal to extend their hopes for a promotion to the 1/8 finals.
The faith of Borussia’s fans diminished after the events of the 74th minute of the game, when the players of both teams again clashed on the pitch. As a result of the visitors’ behavior, the referee threw Emre Can from the pitch, which made it much more difficult for Borussia to fight for a better result. Everything indicated that on Wednesday Sporting will be celebrating their promotion to the 1/8 finals of the Champions League, although hardly anyone could have expected it before the match.
At the end of the match, the referee gave Sporting a penalty kick for Dan-Alex Zagadou’s foul under his own goal. Pedro Goncalves failed to beat Gregor Kbel, but Pedro Porro caught the ball. Hitting the head of the team’s defender from the Portuguese capital gave the hosts a third goal and an almost sure advance. In the extra time the game the guests scored an honorary goal, which made things interesting again for a moment, but the Donyell Malen hit was not enough to save the promotion.
The match ended with a victory for Sporting, which gave the Portuguese champions a direct advance to the next round of games after the 5th round of the Champions League. Benfica is also very close to the promotion, and Porto is not yet deprived of chances, which, despite the defeat with Liverpool, has maintained the position of the runner-up. We already know that we will see at least one Portuguese team in the Champions League this spring. Sporting fans will certainly not forget their team’s performance against Borussia for a long time, because it was difficult to fault anything. The players from Lisbon have earned the promotion with three wins in a row, thanks to which they will play against Ajax without any pressure.
Sporting – Borussia 3: 1 (2: 0)
Goals: Pedro Goncalves (30 and 39), Pedro Porro (81) – Donyell Malen (90 + 3)