League Cup: Sporting and Braga in unprecedented final for the first title of 2021

Sporting, the “executioner” of FC Porto, and the holder Sporting de Braga, responsible for Benfica’s “goodbye”, dispute on Saturday in Leiria an unprecedented final of the 2020/21 edition of the League Cup in football, very marked by the covid- 19.

The pandemic withdrew the public and the party from the ‘final four’ and greatly affected the two semi-finals, from the controversies with tests for the new coronavirus in the ‘lions’, which led the ‘dragons’ to threaten to boycott the event, the outbreak decimated the ‘red’ team, with 17 infected, including seven players, including six defenders.

Still, as the ‘show had to continue’, the competition continued, with Sporting, without the ‘false positives’ Nuno Mendes and Sporar, beating FC Porto 2-1 on Tuesday, thanks to the ‘joker’ ‘Jovane Cabral, and Sporting de Braga imposing itself on the’ patched ‘Benfica by the same result, the next day.

The ‘dragons’ advanced in the first semi-final, with a goal from Marega, at 79, but, entering at 78, Jovane gave the triumph to the ‘lions’, with goals at 86 and 90 + 4, and in the second , the heads of Abel Ruiz, at 28, and Tormena, at 59, qualified the Braga players, only hit by penalty, by Pizzi, at 45.

Thus, the final of the 14th edition of the League Cup will have an unprecedented final, but already with the guarantee of a winner who will add the third title, to isolate himself in the second place of the ‘ranking’, four of the ‘eagles’ , and a technician who will reach the second.

The ‘lions’ won the 2017/18 and 2018/19 finals, both on penalties, after losing the 2007/08 and 2008/09 finals, while the ‘arsenalists’ triumphed in 2012/13 and at the time past, and in the middle, in 2016/17, they were surprisingly defeated by Moreirense.

For his part, the ‘Leonino’ coach, Rúben Amorim, is the holder of the competition, who won in the first ‘steps’ of his career, but for Sporting de Braga, while Carlos Carvalhal snatched the inaugural edition, in 2007/08, at the helm Vitória de Setúbal, in a final against Sporting, decided on penalties.

As leader of the I Liga, and also for having beaten the Braga – then with three infected centrals -, by 2-0, already in 2021, for round 12 of the championship, the ‘lions’ can consider themselves slightly favorites.

In this match, played in Alvalade, the ‘arsenalistas’ built several occasions to get ahead in the scoreboard, but were ineffective, and not happy, and in the second part, Pedro Gonçalves and Matheus Nunes sealed the hosts’ triumph.

The ‘lions’ won the last encounter with the Braga team, but in the League Cup, the last to laugh was Sporting de Braga, who prevailed 2-1 in the semi-final last season, in their ‘quarry’ – resolved Paulinho, at 90 minutes.

As for Saturday’s final, none of the teams lost players through punishment, but at the tragic level of the covid-19, it is unknown whether any of the formations will be at or near maximum strength.

Rúben Amorim may, eventually, already be able to count on the ‘false positives’ Nuno Mendes and Sporar, unlike Luís Neto and Tabata, while, as far as public knowledge is concerned, the ‘arsenalistas’ have no infection.

The meeting between Sporting and Sporting de Braga, corresponding to the final of the 14th edition of the League Cup in football, takes place on Saturday, at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, in Leiria, starting at 19:45.

Source: Futebol 365 – Notícias by www.futebol365.pt.

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