Sporting Lisbon beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday, to clinch the Cape Town Cup. A second half brace from Fredy Montero was enough for the Portuguese side to seal the win and lift the trophy.
Both teams named a strong starting line-up with new signings Teofilo Gutierrez, Alex McCarthy and Yohan Cabaye, getting a start. Palace threatened the goal earlier on, when in the 2nd minute Jordan Mutch fired in a shot that was excellently saved by Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio. Then Islam Slimani squared the ball to Sporting captain Adrien Silva but his shot was blocked by Damien Delaney.
It was evident from early on that both European sides were playing at a much higher level than the PSL teams that also participated in the pre-season tournament. Both sides looked much more adept to the conditions than they were in their first games and their overall play was better. The match was turning out to be a tough, physical encounter with nothing separating the teams in the first half. Sporting made an early injury enforced change when Ruben Semedo was taken off for Joao Mario. In the 38th minute, Sporting won a free-kick but Palace keeper Alex McCarthy, denied the Portuguese side their first goal with an impressive acrobatic save. With very few chances created in the opening half, the teams went into the break at a 0-0 deadlock.
The 2nd half saw both sides sticking with mostly the same side that started the game, which probably indicated both sides more serious approach to this pre-season encounter. Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon threatened the Sporting goal but their shots were easily dealt with by the excellent Patricio in goals. It was turning out to be a very tight and competitive game, with both sides affording their opponents with very little space to manoeuvre.
The teams seem to have felt the physical effects of the game during the 2nd half, with the game’s intensity dropping. But the opening goal of the game would come in the 71st minute, when Montero’s free-kick beat Palace goalkeeper McCarthy. The goal seemed to have sparked the game into life as James McCarthur immediately had a chance to equalise but he was denied by the in-form Patricio. Alan Pardew brought on Wilfried Zaha and Patrick Bamford as Palace looked for the equaliser. Scott Dann sent a powerful header towards goal but he was denied by another excellent save from Sporting goalkeeping Patricio. The Portuguese goalkeeper was having a fantastic tournament and was proving to be the difference between the two sides. The game was wrapped up in the 86th minute, when Sporting scored their 2nd goal. Slimani broke away from his marker and played in Fredy Montero, who finished with aplomb, to score his 2nd goal of the game. The game ended 2-0 in favour of the Portuguese giants and Sporting Lisbon were crowned as the winners of the Cape Town Cup.