REPORT: Sporting Lisbon 1-2 Real Madrid


Celtic may be playing tonight but it was another Scottish representative who played their part in Lisbon on Tuesday. Three goals, two penalty decisions and a red card put Willie Collum into centre stage – to a certain Madeiran’s disgust. Fresh off a Madrid derby hat trick, it was a relatively quiet game from Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Sporting Lisbon but Real Madrid got the spoils in the end.

 In the early stages, Sporting were matching Madrid with a Gelson raked pass across goal to Bas Dost but it was just over hit; Keylor Navas was scrambling to cover.

A goal followed in the kerfuffle, but not from the homecoming hero. A flat cross from Luka Modric on the right-hand side avoided every Lisbon player. In the confusion, a scuffed Ronaldo touch trickled to a just onside Rafael Varane and the defender had his shooting boots on, hooking it in to open up the scoring.

Whistler Willie Collum was stuck in an awkward place just after as the slippery Gelson slalomed past Marcelo and was clipped. The fans made sure to let him know that they thought it was just inside the box, but after a quick consultation with the assistant on the wing, the referee said it was just outside.  

The freekick from Bruno Cesar was a hair from the top corner, but the home fans cheered thinking that it was in.

Every attacking movement seemed to go down the right with Gelson Martin. Barely into the second half the mere sight of Gelson sprinting past Marcelo, led his knees to buckle and crumble beneath him; the following cross easily intercepted.

It wouldn’t last long before another controversial decision was made by Collum. A boxing-esque face off between Pereira and Kovacic in the corner flag sent the former packing. With that extra gap on the pitch, Madrid examined and prodded at every pocket, calculating where stress could best break the backline. But it wasn’t the Spanish side who scored again.

For Real Madrid, it isn’t much to complain about when you have James Rodriguez, Benzema and Asensio on the bench as back ups, and it would seem that substitutions would make or break this result.

Perhaps left back sub, Fabio Coentrao was trying out for a post-football career as an NFL receiver, or maybe he had put some bets on for a draw, but whatever was going through his head, we will never know. A harmless ball was flapped away in the box and it left the referee with no option. The penalty was clear this time and Adrien Silva took no qualms in dispatching it in the opposite corner away from a diving Navas.

This gave the game an extra bit of feistiness and it looked like momentum had shifted to the other green and white stripes. Karim Benzema was having none of it. After barely touching the ball after his substitution, it took just one deft head flick for it to trickle into the corner or the net. The points and their assured knockout place were theirs.

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