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Sporting Double

23 July 2012

Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Owls

Goals either side of the break saw the Owls go down 2-0 to European giants Sporting Lisbon at the Municipal Stadium, Albuifera, on Sunday.

Andre Martins and Ricky Wolfwinkel did the damage for Sporting in what was a testing encounter for Dave Jones’ side, who fielded Portugese goalkeeper Carlos Henriques following minor strains sustained by senior keepers Stephen Bywater and Nicky Weaver. 

Teenage keeper Cameron Dawson was set to start against Sporting but the Owls managed to secure Henriques at the eleventh hour. The native Portugese played for Segunda League side Portimunense last season.

Elsewhere, as expected, Jones shuffled his pack, particularly throughout the second half. The Wednesday manager underlined the main objective of the game was to ramp up the fitness of his players and it was mission accomplished as Wednesday and Sporting played in soaring temperatures despite the 8.30pm kick-off.

Around 400 Wednesdayites have descended on Albuifera to take their first look at Jones’ revamped Owls, who take on newly-promoted Premiership side Reading at the same stadium on Tuesday.

The hosts enjoyed most of the possession though the early exchanges and after threatening to open the scoring early in the game, did so on 11 minutes.

A neat move saw Ricky Wolfswinkel find space down the right flank to play a perfect pull back for the advancing Andre Martins to slam home from close range. 

Wednesday responded with Mark Beevers just failing to get a good connection to a Chris Lines free kick and the Owls found some rhythm as the first half unfolded.

Jermaine Johnson sent Gary Madine down the middle with a clever chipped ball just before the half hour mark but the big striker was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Daniel Carrico.

Johnson then beat two defenders with a trademark run down the left but the ball was taken calmly by Carrico with Madine bearing down on goal.

Pleasing on the eye as the opening period was, the friendly contest was not without spice either, with Jose Semedo and Reda Johnson picking up yellow cards for the Owls before half time, while Gelson Fernandes saw yellow for Sporting.

The second half saw the Portugese side emerge in a change strip of orange shirts after playing the opening 45 in their traditional green and white hoops.

Wednesday, meanwhile, made changes to their personnel, with a string of substitutions around the hour.

And although they enjoyed a decent amount of possession with the second half taking shape, Wednesday were undone on 67 minutes when Sporting doubled their lead.

Tricky substitute Matiaz Fernandes was at the heart of a swift four-man move that ended with Wolfswinkel applying the finishing touch almost on the goal line.

But the Owls were far from disheartened and Miguel Llera ensured Marcelo was on his toes when the big Spaniard drilled in a low free kick that brought a smart save from the Sporting custodian.

More changes followed for both sides in typical friendly fashion and the fluidity of the game dropped towards the end as a result.

Chances came at a premium in the closing stages and although the whistle sounded to trigger defeat for the Owls, the chief objective of the next step to full fitness was duly achieved.

Sporting Lisbon: Marcelo (Golas 80), Pereirivha, Carrico, Reame, Insua, G Fernandes, Martins (M Fernandez 57), Schaars, Jeffren (Trindade 46), Wolfswinkel (Eduardo 78), Capel (Kostner 78)

Unused substitutes: Diaz, Rinaudo, Da Silva, Xan Pranjic, Soares, Reis, Zapata

Owls: Henriques, Lee (Mattock 50), Gardner (Llera 60), Beevers, R Johnson, Pecnik (M Jones 60), Semedo, Lines (Amado 78), J Johnson (D Jones 78), Madine (Harewood 50), Maguire (Lowe 50)

Unused substitutes: Dawson, R Jones, O’Grady 

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