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Shikabala unused as Sporting draw with Gomaa and Ghazal’s Nacional

Aly Ghazal vs Sporting

Round 29 of the Liga Zon Sagres saw Shikabala on Sporting Lisbon’s main team bench for the first time, as they went to the Madeira island to draw with Saleh Gomaa and Aly Ghazal’s CD Nacional 1-1.

With both Sporting and Nacional having guaranteed their spots in the European competitions, both teams went into the match trying to avenge the 0-0 draw from the first round of the championship, back in December.

The match started at a tame pace, with the first chances coming only after the 10th minute, with João Aurélio shooting wide of goal and André Martins failing to make the best of Diego Capel’s cross originally intended to Islam Slimani.

Djaniny was one of Nacional’s main figures in the first half and had two very good occasions, the first being a header which went wide of goal and 10 minutes later, João Aurelio’s cross found the Cape-Verdean inside the box, but his shot was well saved by Rui Patrício.

However, just two minutes later, Sporting took the lead. A cross missed everyone except Nacional defender Nuno Campos, who mistakenly tapped the ball into the back of his own net and putting his team behind.

Before the break, there was still time for Gerson Magrão to rifle a shot just over Gottardi’s goal. A well fought half which had potential to improve.

But the second half began like the first, with both teams not threatening and it was only in the 57th minute that Slimani had an excellent chance to double the scoreline, but his shot past mere inches over the crossbar.

Saleh Gomaa left the field at the 66th minute, making way for Claudemir, as Nacional began to press for an equalizer. And nine minutes later it came, as Daniel Candeias’ tapped the ball against the post, Reginaldo took a poor shot but it fortunately went to Diego Barcellos, who tapped the ball past Rui Patrício.

From that point on, the match cooled down and Sporting used all of their substitutions, the last being Héldon, who came on for Magrão. Shikabala’s long-awaited debut was not to happen in this match.

Before the end of the match, Nacional had a chance through Mário Rondón, who headed straight to the hands of Rui Patrício and in injury time, Eric Dier forced Gottardi to pull off a good save.

Sporting managed to reinforced their 2nd position and Nacional remain 5th. Only one more league game to be played this season, with Nacional going to Barcelos to face off against Gil Vicente.

Alexandre Queirós is a Portuguese sports enthusiast, with particular focus African, Portuguese and Oceanic football. He followed the exploits of the Egyptian players plying their trade in Portugal for KingFut.com and also covers the rest of African football for other websites. He also proudly sates that he has been on the BBC World Service radio, even though he only said one sentence.

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