Sporting Lisbon put in a strong home performance against Metalist Kharkiv to give themselves the edge in their quest to advance to the Europa League semifinals. Sporting had beaten Manchester City to get to the quarterfinals, and the hosts were impressive throughout, continually putting pressure on their Ukrainian opponents, who were rather sensibly looking to defend and counterattack, hoping for a vital away goal.
For the first half, it seemed to work. Metalist didn't really do much on the attack, but they also didn't look to be under any major threat as Sporting dominated play but failed to endanger Alexandr Goryainov's goal. That changed after the break, with Marat Izmailov slamming home a low cross following some excellent work down the left flank by Diego Capel. Emiliano Insúa made it 2-0 with a free kick, taking advantage of a huge gap in Metalist's wall and sending a fizzing shot into the bottom corner.
It would have been very difficult to recover from a 2-0 first-leg loss, and so Metalist went on the attack, opening up the game and setting the tone for a furious last few minutes. All seemed in vain until Marko Devic struck, the substitute bursting into the box only to be brought down by Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patrício. Cleiton Xavier powered home the penalty to reduce the deficit to one and give the visitors a huge away goal. The return fixture in the Ukraine looks set to be very interesting indeed.