Videoton vs Sporting Lisbon – Sousa vs Sa Pinto




KICK OFF: 19:00 (CET)


Vidi will host their first ever Europa League game tonight against a side that head coach Paulo Sousa knows rather well.

“Sporting have a strong squad, full of internationals. We have to play a very organised and disciplined game” said the former Sporting midfielder. “We have to be at our best.”

Sousa, who also played for Benfica while in Portugal, also praised his former teammate Sa Pinto in yesterday’s press conference.

“I wish him all the best. I am sure he will be successful. He is methodical, precise and wants to control every detail – and he is ambitious. But hopefully he will make mistakes against us.”

Videoton, who drew 1-1 at the weekend with Paks, are unbeaten in their last eight European games at home, a run stretching back to 1989 when they lost 3-0 to Hibernian of Scotland.

But after a poor second half showing last time out to Belgian side, Racing Genk, Sousa knows they will have to perform much better tonight against a struggling Sporting side.

“We made mistakes, but we also showed that we can compete at this stage. I am disappointed because we did not deserve to lose by such a margin, but we still learned a lot.”

Videoton are likely to play with their usual European 4-5-1 system, by utilising their physical presence to try and grind down their Portuguese opposition.

Nemanja Nikolic is likely to replace Sandor Torghelle up top. The former Crystal Palace striker had a bad time out against Genk, and he’s looked like a shadow of his former self in recent weeks so last season’s top scorer Nikolic will be the ideal replacement.

The Portuguese winger Filipe Oliveira will start on the left with the right midfield birth up for grabs between Walter Fernandez and Hungarian international, Adam Gyurcso.

Captain Gyorgy Sandor will want to prove to onlookers that he can cut it at this level, and he’ll partner Balazs Toth and Nikola Mitovic in the middle.

There’ll be a chance for Marco Caneira to play against his old club too with the former Portuguese Cup winner set to start alongside Paulo Vinicius in the centre of defence.

Stopira, who played at Feirense last season, is likely to start at left back with Alvaro Brachi on the right. Mladen Bozovic will continue in goal.

Videoton will need to be a lot stronger at the back this week, and the gaps that appeared against Genk will have to be nullified. Too many times Vidi were caught racing forward leaving themselves way too open to the counter attack.

For Videoton, there’s nothing to lose, but for Sa Pinto, there’s plenty.

Sporting come into the game with just two wins in their last eight games, and the pressure is really starting to build on the former Portuguese international, Pinto.

That poor form will mean with that Sporting are unlikely to rest any players, knowing that anything less than a victory could see the end of their legendary manager at the helm.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel is the man who is likely to cause Videoton the most problems. The Dutchman has 5 goals in his last 5 matches, and he’s sure to be a thorn in Vidi’s fragile side.

Sporting’s midfield is also bursting with attacking talent. Daniel Pranjic, Gelson Fernandes, Zakaria Labyad and Diego Capel are all players that could hurt Sousa’s side, and the lack of pace in the Videoton midfield is something that will be praying on Sousa’s mind.

A draw for Videoton will go down as a historic result, but anything less than a win for Sporting would be a disaster.

It’s sure to be an interesting game, and Videoton will have to utilise their pacey widemen whilst making sure they’re solid at the back. A tough ask, but if anyone knows how to defeat Sporting, it’s Paulo Sousa.