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Sporting Lisbon Midfielder André Martins is one of the players that is likely to help shape the club’s identity going forward after some difficult years. Martins has found it hard to break Sporting’s starting line-up this season, but he did receive his first start for the senior club against Sporting Braga on Monday night and he did not disappoint.

It did not take the young playmaker too long to make his presence felt. Eight minutes in, he delivered a perfect pass to Ricky van Wolfswinkel for the opening goal of the match. It was the first of three goals by Wolfswinkel as Os Leões beat Sporting Braga 3-2 at A Pedreira.

Martins was behind many of Sporting Lisbon’s opportunities until he was substituted in the second half. The victory was important from a club perspective as Sporting moved three points away from the final Europa League position for next season.

The 23-year-old broke onto the scene last season under previous manager Ricardo Sá Pinto but has had his playing time reduced so far this year. Martins’ impressive performance on Monday likely means he could expect to be an integral part of manager Jesualdo Ferreira’s young squad in the near future.

Martins told media after the match that Wolfswinkel’s late goal in injury time made the victory extra special to the club.

“Despite playing with a man down, we kept trying to score, even with our disadvantage. What happened at the end of the match really demonstrates the excellent unity in the squad.”

“Despite having a young squad, we have players who are very mature and we showed that today,” Martins added. “I felt good and I was very happy to be given this opportunity. I now have to continue to work hard.”

VIDEO: All Goals Sporting Lisbon Vs Sporting Braga

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