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Slimani brace against Ghazal’s Nacional keeps Sporting top
Sporting consolidated their lead at the top of the Liga Nos with a crushing 4-0 win over struggling Nacional, with Algerian striker Islam Slimani scoring a brace to take his tally for the season up to 18 in the league.
Nacional XI: Gottardi; Aurelio; Sequeira; Belkeroui; Correia; Ghazal; Agra; Willyan; Santana; Tiquinho; Gomes.
Sporting XI; Patricio; Pereira; Coates; Semedo; Zeegelaar; Carvalho; Bruno Cesar; Joao Mario; Ruiz; Silva; Slimani.
Sporting took an early lead through in form Algerian striker Islam Slimani, who lost his man in the penalty area to header home from close range. Soon after, Egypt international Aly Ghazal received a yellow card.
The rest of the second half was balanced but fairly uneventful, as Bryan Ruiz having a goal dubiously disallowed was the only main talking point until the interval.
Early on in the second half, Sporting won a penalty from what seemed to be a harshly given handball decision against Rui Correia, from which captain Adrien Silva scored from the spot despite Gottardi diving the right way.
The game went beyond any doubt when in form midfielder Joao Mario scored a rebound from Slimani’s shot which cannoned off the crossbar. In the closing moments of the game, Slimani doubled his tally from the game from the spot after a foul which appeared to be outside the box, in a disappointing day for the Madeira side.
The win puts Sporting three points clear at the top of the Portuguese league ahead of fellow Lisbon giants Benfica, who lost to fellow title contenders Porto 2-1 in the Friday night game. Nacional remain just three points above the relegation zone.