45 min: There will be two added minutes. Not entirely sure what for, but there it is.
44 min: Yep, a scrappy end to this first half.
42 min: Richarlison puts the ball in the Sporting net! But it won’t count. Kane, quarterbacking from deep, flicks a lovely pass down the inside-left channel. Richarlison is clear. He rounds Adan to the left, then slots. But he was clearly miles offside, and the flag goes up accordingly.
40 min: Ugarte attempts to release Trincao down the inside-right channel, but seriously overcooks the pass. Goal kick. It’s becoming a bit scrappy.
38 min: Son gets to the byline down the left and cuts back for Hojbjerg, who prepares to send an effort goalwards, only for Santos, tracking back, to read the danger and head clear, just in time.
36 min: Edwards skitters down the right, glides infield, then hoicks a manic shot miles over the bar from 20 yards. On the subject of Edwards, here’s Luiz Avelar: “You mentioned that Sporting are featuring Marcus, a product of Spurs academy. (We are very happy with him, by the way!) However, you forgot to mention that Spurs are also featuring a product of Sporting’s academy: Eric Dier. Dier spent almost ten years at Sporting’s A academy since eight years of age.”
34 min: Kane rolls a clever reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Richarlison, who rolls to the left for Son. Unselfish, although Adan was bearing down on him. However Son can’t slot before being closed down by Porro, and the flag goes up for offside anyway. A few Sporting hearts in mouths there, I’ll be bound.
32 min: Spurs win a corner on the left. Son takes. Adan punches. Bentancur drags a dismal shot miles wide left. This is better from Spurs, though, after a period during which Sporting had begun to take control.
30 min: An absurd situation, as Emerson whips a low cross through the Sporting six-yard box from the right. Five Sporting defenders, plus the keeper, fail to deal with the ball as it whistles through the danger zone and out for a throw. Son flings it back in. Again Sporting fail to deal with it, and a sharp striker like Kane or Richarlison would surely slam home from six yards. But it falls to Emerson, who can’t connect properly, allowing Adan to eventually claim.
28 min: Trincao grooves his way down the right before cutting back for Porro, who blooters a wild cross out for a goal kick. This game isn’t awful, and it isn’t great.
26 min: Some good end-to-end fun. First up, Richarlison meets Perisic’s left-wing cross, but his downward header at the far stick is weak and easy for Adan in the Sporting goal. Sporting counter through the lively Edwards, and Trincao lines one up from the edge of the D. He drags his shot well wide right.
24 min: Edwards spins on the spot and turns away from three Spurs players in a nanosecond. Sensational skill, only slightly spoiled when he then miscontrols while accelerating away.
22 min: Inacio shovels a pass down the inside-right channel in the hope of releasing Goncalves. A better ball would have seen Spurs in trouble, with a lot of space down that side of the field, but the delivery is heavy and sails out for a goal kick.
20 min: Sporting keep hold of the ball. Spurs keep holding their shape.
18 min: A few waves of warm applause as Sporting respond with some possession of their own. They probe down both flanks. Santos looks particularly up for it down the left. Spurs hold their shape, but the hosts are slowly beginning to assert some home-field authority.
16 min: A period of attractive but ultimately futile possession for Spurs, who ping it around nicely before running out of ideas in the final third.
14 min: Santos probes down the left. His low cross is met by Morita, who takes a fresh-air swipe, allowing Dier and Emerson to close the door. Sporting look lively whenever they choose to spring forward.
12 min: Sporting stroke it around the middle of the park to little effect. The Estádio José Alvalade is nevertheless bouncing. A great atmosphere in Lisbon, even though the early kick-off time means the stadium isn’t completely full.
10 min: Davies and Perisic combine cutely down the left, and look to have won another Spurs corner, but the flag goes up for offside during the move, correctly as it turns out.
8 min: Lloris claims the Sporting corner. A nice, open feel to the early stages.
7 min: Former Spurs lad Edwards dribbles at pace down the inside-right channel. He draws a couple of defenders and slips a pass to Goncalves to the left of the D. The pass pushes Goncalves wider than he’d like, but he still threads a clever low diagonal effort towards the bottom right. It’s heading in, and Lloris has to fingertip around the post. Great football all round.
5 min: Bentancur takes a whack from distance. His effort is charged down by Inacio, who bravely takes the shot square in the fruit bowl. He goes down immediately and play is stopped so he can take inventory, and a breath.
3 min: … a game of pinball breaks out in the six-yard box. Sporting eventually clear their lines, but this is a confident start from the visitors.
2 min: Spurs are on the front foot immediately, and Perisic wins a corner. From which …
Spurs get the ball rolling. Plenty of noise now.
One of those aforementioned minutes is spent in silence, in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. Well, not completely in silence. It’s not particularly well observed by some of the home fans, who make a smattering of noise, but then it’s not Portugal’s royal family, and while you can make it a matter of manners, they’re not obliged. The majority respect the moment, to be fair.
The teams are out! Sporting wear their famous green and white stripes, while Spurs are draped in insert-marketing-department-approved-adjective-here blue. A quick blast of Zadok the Priest (Version) and we’ll be off in a couple of minutes.
Antonio Conte, giving off extremely laid-back vibes, speaks to BT Sport. “Richarlison played very well against Marseille and also against Fulham. I think it is right to pick him to play from the start. It is always important to get a good result in this competition. It is very short. You don’t get many games to get points. For this reason, every game is really important. To play against a Portuguese team is always difficult, especially away. The atmosphere in this stadium is not easy, there is a lot of noise, and we have to be good from the start. We have to manage the situation very well.”
A reminder of how Group D looks after Matchday 1. Here’s the Guardian match report of Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Marseille, and there’s a wee bit on Sporting’s 3-0 demolition of Eintracht downpage here.
Tottenham make one change to the starting XI named for last week’s 2-0 win against Marseille. Ben Davies replaces Clement Lenglet, who drops to the bench.
Sporting Lisbon’s XI features former Spurs academy player Marcus Edwards. David Hytner has more on a young striker who had always seemed destined to feature in a showpiece Tottenham Champions League tie – albeit not in a Sporting shirt – below.
Sporting: Adan, Inacio, Coates, Matheus Reis, Porro, Morita, Ugarte, Nuno Santos, Trincao, Edwards, Goncalves.
Subs: Alexandropoulos, Israel, Rochinha, Issahaku, Paulinho, Andre Paulo, Arthur Gomes, Ricardo Esgaio, Marsa, Nazinho.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Romero, Dier, Davies, Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic, Richarlison, Son, Kane.
Subs: Doherty, Skipp, Sanchez, Gil Salvatierra, Sessegnon, Forster, Kulusevski, Spence, Tanganga, Bissouma, White, Lenglet.
Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic (Serbia).
Sporting are one of Portugal’s domineering big three, but unlike their all-conquering rivals Benfica and Porto, they haven’t made much of an impression in the European Cup. Their most successful tilt at Uefa’s premier prize came in 1983, when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Real Sociedad. Other than that, there’s very little worth noting. Beaten in the first round by Bob Shankly’s Dundee in 1962. Thrashed 5-0 at home last autumn by Manchester City. These are slim pickings. At least they’ve got memories of the 1964 Cup Winners’ Cup to keep them warm at night.
Last year’s thrashing by the hand of City came in the Round of 16. It was only the second time Sporting had made it through the groups, the first being 2008-09, whereupon they were spanked 12-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich. The moral of this story? It’s either be careful what you wish for, or that Sporting are currently on the up. Let’s go for the latter, as they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 and Besiktas 4-0 at home last season, to finish second in their group, even if they did go down 5-1 when Ajax came to town. More pertinently, they trounced Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 away last week, and currently top Group D, one goal ahead of tonight’s visitors Spurs, who eventually saw off Marseille last week with two late Richarlison headers.
Spurs are nevertheless expected to prevail this evening. “Tottenham are the clear favourites in the group,” says Sporting coach Ruben Amorim. “We will have to be wary because they will punish us for the slightest mistake.” By contrast, Antonio Conte is “relaxed” and in the mood to take advantage of the weekend off. “The postponement of the game against City has allowed me to change the idea of the team I had in mind,” he explains, perhaps ominously for tonight’s hosts. Will his team take charge of Group D with a win tonight? Or will it be Sporting who build on their impressive showing last week? Kick off is at 5.45pm BST. It’s on!
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Sporting v Tottenham Hotspur: Champions League – live
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