Nani's solo effort helps Sporting rise to second
Winger Nani scored a superb solo goal to help Sporting beat Maribor 3-1 on Tuesday as the Portuguese side gave a big boost to their chances of qualifying for the Champions League last 16.
Lisbon: Winger Nani scored a superb solo goal to help Sporting beat Maribor 3-1 on Tuesday as the Portuguese side gave a big boost to their chances of qualifying for the Champions League last 16.
Carlos Mane and Islam Slimani were also on target for Sporting, who won their second game in a row after taking only one point from their opening three matches, while an own goal by Jefferson kept the Slovenians in the hunt until the last 20 minutes.
Sporting are second in Group G with seven points from five matches, two ahead of Schalke who were thrashed 5-0 at home by Chelsea.
The Portuguese visit Chelsea in their last game where a point will be enough to finish second thanks to their better head-to-head record with Schalke who travel to Maribor.
Maribor, bottom with three points, have been eliminated while Chelsea (11 points) top the group.
Mane stroked home Jefferson`s low cross at the far post in the 10th minute to give Sporting a flying start.
Nani doubled the lead 25 minutes later when he collected a pass inside the penalty area, side-stepped his marker, saw his first shot blocked, pounced on the rebound, jinked to the right, put his foot on the ball, side-stepped two markers and fired the ball in.
Jefferson deflected an Ales Mejac cross into his own net just before halftime to bring Maribor back into the match.
Sporting then struggled to regain their rhythm after the game was held up for 45 minutes at halftime by a floodlight failure.
However, they restored their two-goal advantage in the 65th minute when Joao Mario`s cross from the right was headed back into the goalmouth by Nani at the far post and Algeria forward Slimani hooked the ball in from close range.