MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER Roman Abramovich watched his ‘other’ team, CSKA Moscow, become the first Russian side to win a European competition in Lisbon last week. Sporting had done all the hard work, overcoming the likes of Middlesborough and Newcastle, on the way to their first European Final since 1964 but at the final whistle, José Peseiro’s men once more failed at the final hurdle.
Rogério got Sporting off to a perfect start at their own José Alvalade Stadium, curling in a beautiful shot from just outside the area after twenty-nine minutes. But the Russians, who had looked down and out after the first forty-five minutes, came back strongly after the interval. Alexei Berezutsky equalised after a Daniel Carvalho free-kick, the Brazilian also setting up Yuri Zharkov’s second for Moscow nine minutes later. Vagner Love, another Brazilian earning his money in the former Soviet Union, then finished things off when rounding Ricardo in the Sporting goal fifteen minutes from the end. Sporting’s young team had lost out again having conceded the title to Benfica a week earlier but can look forward to a more scintillating UEFA Cup campaign next season following its end-of-season loss against Nacional da Madeira.