Today would be the 4th game in one week for the boys and it happened to be the hottest day of the week so far. They would be going up against Leiria 2005s. We decided to do three periods of 20 minutes because of the heat. Leiria was a better matchup for the boys as they were closer in age and physically not as dominant as the past teams they have gone up against.
Leiria showed quality in their possession of the ball and continuous play from the back. Especially with the heat the boys found themselves a little tired and disconnected when pressing. Leiria took the lead in the 1st period and continued control up until the last 15 minutes of the 3rd period. Our boys found more of a rhythm and energy to close spaces quicker and cause mistakes closer to their goal. AJ won a ball took another player on and got taken down inside the box for a penalty. Although we missed the penalty by hitting the post, this was the start of the boys come back. They continued to press higher up the field and eventually cause another mistake in the middle for Alex G, Connor, Neel and AJ to combine for the tying goal! The boys deserved to score based on their effort in these final 15 minutes but with respect, Leiria was a good team that created many unfinished chances throughout the whole game. They are a real team one year older compared to our mixed Academy group that is a few steps ahead on certain concepts.
The game was a good start to another long day ahead with a lunch at O Telego which is a beautiful wedding venue in Rio Maior. The restaurant is a family owned business that cooks daily and only opens for lunch with walk-ins. The food was very good and a buffet style so everyone could pick what they liked from octopus to beef to fish. After lunch it was time to head back to Lisbon for people to tour Lisbon before attending the Sporting Setubal game.
Upon arrival in Lisbon we decided to spilt up so everyone had the option to see what they wanted in a larger city. It is a beautiful city however there was this semi-important game on that some of you might have watched. Juventus against Chievo Verona @ the stadio Bentegodi. This would be Ronaldo’s first game with Juventus and it only made sense to find the CR7 hotel in Lisbon to watch the game. To no surprise the place was filled with ronaldo and Juve fans for the game. It wasn’t the easiest game for them to start off the season but they were able to squeeze out the victory 3-2 if you didn’t catch the game.
This game brought us right to our meeting time so we had to report to the bus and start our trip to Sporting Stadium. This would be the professional math that all the tour members would see. We arrived earlier so we could eat and drink before going in for the game since it was a late kickoff! The game had 36,500 in attendance for their home opener. To be honest it made the game that much more exciting having a good turnout for them in a stadium that holds 45k. The people came to watch and support their favorite team but is wasn’t the best of games that I have seen live. Nani scored twice for Soorting and the game finished 2-1 but it was a lower level game. The unexpected mistakes from both teams was surprising for this level and I doubt Sporting will be fighting for the title if they continue to play this way especially against Benfica and Porto. Overall I believe everyone enjoyed the experience and got to see the love Portuguese people have for their club, their team and colors.
So congratulations to Sporting for going up to 6 pts for the league so far with 2 wins. But Benfica and Porto are in the same situation as Benfica also won tonight 2-0 and Porto most likely winning tomorrow against Belenense. We will see how that all plays out but we got our first goal of the week today, got our first result with tying 1-1 and we are all looking to finish the tour strong with the game against ABCD tomorrow morning.
Let’s see how it goes tomorrow! Thanks!