Chelsea edge past Sporting Lisbon

Published Tuesday, September 30, 2014 3:39 PM by Shane Barrow
Chelsea edge past Sporting Lisbon

Tuesday gave us Matchday 2 of the much loved Champions League where Chelsea faced the tricky trip to Portugal to face off against Sporting Lisbon.  Jose Mourinho expected such a tough trip that he ran out a very strong side including striker Diego Costa whose fitness and health has been questioned the last few weeks.

Sporting had their tails up and were clearly energized for their marquee guests, butit was Diego Costa who got the first big chance of the night.  Costa timed his run perfectly and was away on goal.  Sporting keeper Rui Patricio was up to the task as he smartly thrust out his left leg to toe the shot away at the last second.

Chelsea were on the front foot with Hazard and Schurrle looking dangerous, but Sporting looked the part of creating a bit of danger on the other end as well.  Fifteen minutes into the match the question for me was if the Sporting defense could hold out long enough to let them steal a goal and put some real pressure on the visitors.  If Chelsea were able to get the first goal the mountain would be tall for sure.

In the 20th minute Chelsea keeper Courtois was called into action as a Guzman cross found the head of Sumanni whose header was snatched out of the air by the young net under.  Chelsea went right back on the attack from there with Schurrle putting a header and then a long range shot on the Sporting goal.

Just a minute later Hazard broke free down the right side where he cut the ball back across the net for the onrushing Schurrle who was racing in on goal.  With Rui Patricio diving across the goal mouth Schurrle had plenty of net to aim for as he met the ball ten yards out.  He fell to ground clutching his head though as he watched his shot miss the frame to the left.  A huge chance missed as Chelsea should have been well ahead by now.  Was anyone from Sporting ever going to account for Schurrle?

Finally in the 33rd minute Chelsea had the lead they deserved and interestingly enough it came from a defensive presence as Matic got loose on the back post and headed home over Patricio.  Big trouble for Sporting now as they barely had a toehold in the match despite the boisterous home crowd.

The second half opened in attacking fashion as both sides surged forward.  Chelsea needed to get the second goal and put the match to rest otherwise risk getting pegged back.  In the 55th Oscar should have put the game to bed as he raced in alone on the Sporting goal.  Once again Rui Patricio stoned the breakaway chance keeping the score 1-0.

Nani had a golden opportunity only a minute later as he found himself alone on the left.  Unfortunately he fired off the side netting as Courtois raced out.  Sporting were definitely looking worthy of a goal though.

Meanwhile, there was craziness in Paris as both Messi and Neymar found the net, but Barcelona were trailing PSG 3-2 with half an hour to play.   In England, the ageless Totti had scored and Roma were giving Manchester City fits at 1-1.

With fifteen minutes to play in Portugal, Chelsea had still not put away Sporting as they clung to the one goal lead.  Costa ripped one high off the side netting missing my mere inches in the 80th and Sporting still had life as ex MLSer Fredy Montero entered the match.  Chelsea would not break though as they closed out the 1-0 win.  A solid three road points for the Londoners.

PSG 3 Barcelona 2
Manchester City 1 Roma 1