Manchester United’s potential Champions League play-off opponents: Sporting Lisbon

by Sam Peoples

Sporting Lisbon lost just seven matches in all competitions in the 2014/15 season but they struggled for consistency throughout.

Numerous draws in their domestic campaign condemned them to a third-placed league finish and an early exit in the Taca de Liga, though they did win the Taca de Portugal at the end of the season.

Their season began slowly with the only real highlight of the opening months being an away victory at Porto in the Taca de Portugal third round in October. They won only four of their first ten league matches and dropped points in all three of their opening Champions League group stage games.

After two more more wins and two more draws in the league, Sporting put together the best winning run of the their domestic campaign. They won six consecutive league matches, pushing them up into third place, where they stayed for the remainder of the season.

Sporting Lisbon 2

In that period, however, they were eliminated from the Champions League and the Taca de Liga. They won only two of their six group games in Europe, and could only draw in their final game of the latter competition, when a win would have taken them to the semi-finals.

They were then eliminated from the Europa League by FC Twente but did reach the Taca de Portugal semi-finals, where they advanced against Nacional.

An ultimately successful campaign ended on a high though, with victory over Braga in the Taca de Portugal final demonstrating the team’s spirit. Despite being 2-0 down and having a man sent off, Sporting came back to win on penalties, rounding off an impressive campaign.

Ranking of preference to draw Man United (10 worst, 1 best): 9

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