The champion of Kazakshtan Astana travels to Lisboa
The champion of Kazakshtan Astana travels to Lisboa to face Sporting in a second 1/16-final leg from Europa League.
More or less, Sporting already did their job in the first leg away from home. The Lions enjoyed a 3-1 win in Astana, which is seriously decreasing their opponents’ chances for qualification.
Astana got an early lead in the first game after a goal from Tomasov, but Sporting scored three consecutive times after the break. Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Martins and Seydou Doumbia decided everything in Sporting’s favour. Plus, Yuri Logvinenko from the home team was sent off.
It’s difficult to think that Sporting could lose their lead in the second leg, especially at home. They were favourites before the first game and the result in Astana proved it. Now they just have to finish the job.
In the Portuguese Primeira Liga Sporting are currently third in the standings, just after Porto and Benfica. They have 56 points, being on par with Benfica. The leader Porto have two points more at the top.
In their last five games in the league Sporting won three times, made one draw and lost once. In their last match they enjoyed a 2-1 win during the visit to Tondela. Bas Dost and Sebastian Coates scored for the win.
Meanwhile the championship in Kazakhstan is still about to be open. This is why Astana have some serious problems regarding their match fitness – they have to play friendly games to keep their match practice. But friendly games could never be compared to actual league games.
Sporting are the obvious favourite here. It’d be a huge surprise if they don’t dominate this game and don’t win it. They are going to be a strong contender for reaching the final, so Astana are not a big test for them.