Sporting beats Braga on penalties to win Portuguese Cup
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Sporting Lisbon overcame an early sending off and a two-goal deficit in the final minutes before beating Braga in a penalty shootout to win the Portuguese Cup on Sunday.
Braga had a perfect start, seeing Sporting lose a player to a red card and scoring on its first two strikes. But Islam Slimani and substitute Fredy Montero scored with less than seven minutes left and Sporting proved the steadier side under the pressure of penalties.
Sporting was left a man down in the 15th at the National Stadium when right back Cedric Alves earned a direct red card for fouling Djavan Ferreira.
Braga striker Eder Macedo converted the resulting penalty kick shortly before Sporting sent on defender Miguel Lopes for midfielder Joao Mario to replenish its back line.
But Lopes’ mistake in the 25th led to Rafa Silva striking a second goal from a counterattack.
Braga appeared to be in complete control until Slimani fired in a poor clearance from long range to grab Sporting a lifeline with six minutes left.
Montero, who went on for Lopes in the 74th, then struck deep in stoppage time to get Sporting the equalizer at 2-2.
After a scoreless extra time that Braga ended with 10 men after Mauro Silva picked up his second booking, Sporting’s Adrien Silva, Nani and Slimani all made their spot kicks, while Braga’s Andre Pinto, Eder and Salvador Agra all missed.
“Losing 2-0 nobody believed in us, but we only became more united,” said Nani, who has played at Sporting this season on loan from Manchester United. “We always believed. We knew we could turn the result around. Finals are to be played and to be won. Never give up.”
Sporting’s 16th cup trophy and first since 2008 equaled FC Porto’s number of cups. Only Benfica, with 25, has won more.