Sturm Graz-Sporting, in the first round of the Europa League group stage, starts at 8pm this Thursday.
Pedro Gonçalves starts the game against Arsenal on the bench. An unusual situation, as in Sporting’s three full seasons, it had only happened on ten other occasions, of course taking into account the games in which he was used as a substitute.
In 2020/21, he was on the bench in the game against Lask Linz and Marítimo in the Portuguese Cup, both with defeats to the lions. In 2021/22, he started from the bench against Famalicão and Penafiel (League Cup) and Varzim, in addition to Ajax, away, in the Champions League and in games with V. Guimarães and Moreirense in the League. In 2022/23 he only came off the bench against Marítimo, in the League Cup, and against Póvoa de Varzim, when Sporting fell from the Portuguese Cup, totaling 51 matches played.
It’s the biggest surprise in Rúben Amorim’s eleven, which has always placed Pote as undisputed, whether in midfield or attack. Being physically fit is a crucial piece and the coach does not take it off the books, already accumulating 124 starts in just over three years at Sporting.
Sporting eleven: Adán; Diomande, Coates and Gonçalo Inácio; Geny Catamo, Hjulmand, Daniel Bragança and Matheus Reis; Francisco Trincão, Gyökeres and Paulinho.
Substitutes: Franco Israel and Diego Callai; Luís Neto, Fresneda, Ricardo Esgaio, Morita, Nuno Santos, Dário Essugo, Eduardo Quaresma, Pedro Gonçalves, Edwards and Rodrigo Ribeiro.