Jesualdo Ferreira’s Sporting Lisbon side defeated Gil Vicente 3-2 in Barcelos with a squad consisting of many young players from its youth academy on Saturday.

After poor results against Maritimo and Rio-Ave in recent weeks, Ferreira featured a starting XI that included young players such as Tiago Ilori, Eric Dier, Zezinho and Bruma. The oldest player to have played on Saturday for Sporting was Miguel Lopes who is only 26.

The injection of youth paid off immediately in the 1st minute of play when 18-year-old Portuguese winger Bruma dribbling the ball into the box, alluding several defenders and scoring an impressive individual goal. A few minutes later, central defender Tiago Ilori scored off a Zakaria Labyad corner to put the Leões up 2-0.

But soon after, the youth would show their inexperience. In the 20th minute, Gil Vicente’s Hugo Vieira capitalized on a mistake by the 19-year-old Ilori and reduced the deficit to one. But the Sporting side showed some offensive prowess seriously lacking in the squad this season, continuously pressing their opponents into half-time.

Hugo Vieira would even the score in the early stages of the second half off another error by Joãozinho. But soon after coming on for Labyad, Diego Capel would score through a cross by Miguel Lopes putting Sporting Lisbon ahead for good and earning manager Ferreira a major victory.

“I want to congratulate all the players for the victory especially the younger players, who played like veterans. That said, we still committed some errors on the two goals. This is a group of great quality, they need space, time and more experience,” Ferreira told Sport TV after the match. “It was a game of great risk.”

“It was a deserving victory for these youths because we were the better team. We need these young players if we are to gain points and move quickly up the league table. The confidence that these young players exhibit is our greatest triumph,” added Ferreira.

Bruma, who opened the scoring for Sporting talked about the importance of the victory. “We played young players but it did not matter. We are all adults, we want to continue to win and work hard in order to find our way.”

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