Amorim anxious to get going against Vitória


Sporting CP’s big money appointment could gain valuable momentum if his side can return to Lisbon with three points from their trip north to face Vitória SC of Guimarães.

Rúben Amorim (pictured above) became the Lions’ third managerial appointment of the season in March and won his only match in charge so far – a 2-0 no-contest at home to nine-man, rock-bottom Aves.

There’s huge expectation on his 35-year-old shoulders though, as tonight’s visitors paid a remarkable €10 million in compensation to Braga despite him only moving into senior management there in December.

Ten wins in 11 league games, including against Portugal’s ‘Big Three’, and a League Cup trophy tempted Sporting to pay a fee that is the third highest ever for a manager or head coach – only André Vilas-Boas to Chelsea and Brendan Rodgers to Leicester have commanded more.

Where they stand

Estádio D. Afonso Henriques (credit: Hugo Delgado)

A win would move the hosts up two places to fifth and into a Europa League spot on goal difference, as the top two are set to meet in this season’s Portuguese Cup final.

Vitória’s form was excellent before the coronavirus shutdown, securing four victories in their last five, including a remarkable 7-0 triumph at Famalicão; the sole defeat in that run was 2-1 at home to league leaders Porto.

Despite sitting three places and five points behind the visitors, Guimarães (40:25) have also scored more and conceded less goals than the Lisbon side (37:26).

Sporting sit comfortably fourth and will stay there even if they pick up three points at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques.

They were disappointingly inconsistent between the winter break and lockdown though, picking up 16 points from ten matches (5-1-4) and just one point in their last three away games.

Team news

The hosts, known as the Conquerors, will be without half of their regular back four; right back Falaye Sacko is serving a one match suspension for accumulating five yellow cards, whilst centre half Pedro Henrique is also not expected to feature due to injury.

Sporting’s only absentees should be Brazilian winger Wendel, who picked up a knee injury in training, and Luiz Phellype, who injured his ACL back in February.

The Lions can count on Andraž Šporar, a January addition from Slovan Bratislava, to lead the line and Sebastián Coates to marshal their defence. Exciting youngster Jovane Cabral could come in to the starting line up to replace Wendel.

Jovane Cabral (credit:


Rúben Amorim, on the long break between his first and second matches in charge, said: “There was time to see how the club worked, meet the players and work with some of the team.

“In that sense it was good, but as soon as the date for the return was set I was anxious and excited. I think the team needs to see how they are doing.

“We were going to face V. Guimarães with a week of work and now that will be different. “

“Besides that, the team needed some time to clear their heads and, in that respect, this stop was also an advantage.”

Discussing the unusual circumstances, the Sporting manager continued: “It is not an advantage for anyone [to play behind closed doors].

“I prefer to play with a full stadium, even if it was only with fans of V. Guimarães. The environment is part of football.

“The system is irrelevant, but if I changed after two days, imagine after three months. The important thing is that the players understand the idea of the game and I am very excited to see that.”

 Home head coach Ivo Vieira, meanwhile, is expecting a low tempo match lacking rhythm, after three months off.

He said: “The teams will prepare to give the highest possible intensity, but it will probably be lower for most of the game.

“[But] I want to overcome the barrier of three consecutive victories and, therefore, we are going to play to win and continue with the good time we were going through.”

Vitória’s boss also bemoaned the fact that the Primeira Liga hasn’t temporarily adopted the five substitutions rule.

He added: “I am not the only coach in favour of keeping the intensity of the game [higher], with the possibility of changing five players.

“You can do a more balanced management, in terms of loads for the same athletes. The five substitutions would help.”


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