Manchester City's Europa League opponents Sporting Lisbon slump to a shock defeat before hosting first leg 6Mar 2012 - Manchester City FC

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Season 2011/12

Euro watch: Sporting slump in shocker

  • 06 March 2012 11:19
  • Posted by Alex Rowen

Sporting Lisbon’s resurgence under manager Ricardo Sa Pinto hit an untimely blip ahead of their meeting with the Blues on Thursday.

City’s Round-of-16 opponents suffered a first loss in four at the hands of struggling Vitoria Setubal, who lifted themselves three points off the drop-zone with a shock 1-0 win.

Bruno Amaro’s 20th-minute strike proved the difference in a tempestuous affair that saw the referee dole out 11 cards – two more than this week’s stormy Tyne-Wear derby!

The Lions were widely expected to continue their run of three consecutive wins against a side that have spent the majority of the season at the foot of the table.

But they were left to rue a disappointing display that leaves them a massive 11 points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots.

Matias Fernandez (pictured) looked to have grabbed a late equaliser for Sporting – only to see his 86th-minute effort chalked off by the referee.

There was further disappointment for the Lions when substitute Andre Carillo saw red in the sixth minute of time added on

Now their Europa League qualification place is under threat with Guimaraes trailing the top five by just six points ahead of their own visit to Lisbon next weekend.

A hulking 14-point gulf now separates Sporting from Porto, and Blues travelling to the Estadio Jose Alvalade will fancy more goals after the 6-1 demolition of the Portuguese champions.

Having managed to score more than once in a game only five times in their last 19 matches, City’s opponents are clearly struggling for confidence in front of goal.

However, Roberto Mancini will be taking nothing for granted, for the Lions are sure to bare their teeth with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

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