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VIDEO: Koka scores in Rio Ave defeat at Sporting
Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ scored his eighth league goal of the season as Rio Ave were defeated 4-2 by Sporting in a thrilling game.
Sporting came into this game on a seven-game winning streak, while Rio Ave were unbeaten in their last five league games despite scoring just twice during that run.
Sporting opened the scoring on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot, after Fredy Montero looked to have been fouled inside the 18-yard box. Replays showed that it was a soft penalty, and several Rio Ave players were booked for protesting to the referee. Nani, on loan from Manchester United, dispatched the penalty to give Sporting the lead.
Rio Ave had drawn a blank in six of their last seven league games prior to this evening’s game, but Yonathan Del Valle brought that run to an end nine minutes after Sporting took the lead after a rapid counter-attack sent the Venezuelan international through one-on-one against Rui Patrício, and he made no mistake as he rounded the goalkeeper to slot home and make it 1-1.
1-1 is how it finished at the break, and if the end of the first half was anything to go by, the second would surely be frantic — and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.
Fredy Montero hasn’t quite hit top-form this season, but with Islam Slimani on international duty with Algeria, this was the perfect opportunity for him to show the manager what he can do and on the hour, he did just that, after he latched onto the end of Jefferson’s brilliant cross from the left-wing to score his sixth league goal and put Sporting in the lead for the second time.
Sporting extended their lead seven minutes later with Nani, scorer of the opening goal, turning provider with João Mario heading in his 20-yard cross high into the net.
Koka is having his best season since he arrived in Portugal and he would score his eighth league goal of the season with a thunderous strike just inside Sporting’s 18-yard box. Sporting could have defended the opening pass a bit better, but the strike was unstoppable from the Egyptian, who now has eleven goals in all competitions this season — just four off his pre-season target of fifteen.
Sporting looked vulnerable at the back, but Junya Tanaka rounded off the scoring in injury-time to seal a 4-2 win for the home side, who leapfrog Vitória de Guimarães to end round 17 in third-place, while Rio Ave move down one place into seventh.
Next up for Rio Ave is a Taça da Liga tie against Académica on Wednesday afternoon, while their next league fixture, again away from home, is against Vitória de Setúbal in a week’s time.