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Shikabala debuts as Sporting Lisbon lose against Estoril

Shikabala debutsThe final round of the Liga Zon Sagres saw Sporting Lisbon lose their first home game of the season, in a 1-0 defeat to Estoril, a match that saw Shikabala make his long-awaited debut.

Despite the insignificance of the match, in regards to points and classification, both teams wanted to make their little references in the history books: Sporting wanted to end the championship undefeated at home and Estoril wanted to defeat the Lions away from home for the first time since 1945.

Just five minutes into the match, Marcos Rojo tripped Bruno Lopes inside the box. Calm and collected, Evandro took the penalty expertly, sending Rui Patrício the other way and giving the away side an early lead. A few minutes later, Estoril were close to doubling their lead, but Bruno Lopes’ header scraped the post.

However, at the 17th minute, Sporting had the perfect chance to equalize. Tiago Gomes fouled André Martins in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. A few eyebrows were raised, however, as the Sporting player seemed to have gone down a bit too easily. Adrien Silva was in charge of taking the penalty, but Vagner stretched and saved the shot.

Sporting then began to wake up and threaten more, but many passes were still going astray and players such as André Carrillo and William Carvalho were making sub-par matches. Both were replaced by Carlos Mané and Islam Slimani, respectively, and in the second half, Sporting behaved much better.

Jefferson saw his free kick go inches wide of the mark at the 53rd minute and Slimani hit the crossbar in an attempted cross at the 61st, but the nets failed to rattle.

At the 77th minute, the moment many Sporting, Zamalek and Egypt fans have been anticipating for over five months: Shikabala’s debut for Sporting Lisbon. The Pharaoh received one of the loudest cheers of the afternoon and demonstrated his skills straight away, impressing the crowd and showing positive signals for next season.

However, it was too late for Sporting to equalize and the game finished 1-0. Estoril win for the first time since the II World War at Alvalade and both teams will enter the crucible of the European competitions next season.

Individual Highlights: Shikabala vs Estoril

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 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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