NICK LEYDEN - Monday, September 19, 2011
Oguchi Onyewu played the hero by scoring the game winner against Rio Ave, while a Tony Taylor strike and another shutout by Caleb Patterson-Sewell ensured Atlético's third consecutive win.
FC Rio Ave 2-3 Sporting CP
Sporting was off to a lightning quick start on their trip to Rio Ave, scoring two goals within the first three minutes.
Stijn Schaars opened the scoring in the second minute when Elias rolled a corner kick into the vacated space on the near side of the box where the Dutch midfielder hit a one-timer to the goalkeeper's right.
Less than a minute later fellow Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel latched onto a Diego Capel cross in the center of the penalty area and beat Paulo Santos for the second time.
Despite the early lead against the statistically worst team in the league, Sporting were not able to put the hosts away.
In the 49th minute Christian, a replacement for João Tomas who had been injured in an inadvertent tangle with Onyewu, pulled Rio Ave to within one.
The substitute contributed to the tying goal in the 63rd minute also when his cross was met firmly by Yazalde and beat Rui Patricio to the near post.
A 74th minute corner kick, however, would end Rio Ave's comeback as Onyewu, who also picked up his first yellow card of the season in the 21st minute, buried a header into the top corner.
The tallest man on the field was left unmarked at the top of the eighteen and made an uncontested run into the middle of the box where he was able to power his header past Santos.
Just a minute later a second yellow card for Rio Ave's Hatian midfielder Jean Sony effectively eliminated any further hopes the hosts had of forging another comeback.
The victory runs Sporting's streak to three in a row, and moves them to sixth place, still a couple wins away from joining Portugal's other giants, Porto and Benfica, at the top of the standings.
Gooch and crew will next host Setúbal on 9/24.
Atlético CP 3-0 CD Trofense
Even after opening the season with two wins and a tie, many doubted that Atlético would be able to maintain their place at the top of the standings for long.
But the newly promoted team announced their intentions even more emphatically on Sunday with a convincing win over an established Trofense squad.
The visitors actually held an advantage in ball possession for much of the game, but Atlético's stout defense managed to keep them off the board with Patterson-Sewell pitching his third shutout in four league games.
Atlético also attacked with precision, notching three goals on limited clear opportunities.
Bruno Carvalho opened the scoring with a header in the 26th minute, and Taylor doubled the lead in the 41st minute by converting a counter attack, validating his signing by João de Deus in just his first start.
A two goal deficit against a team which has conceded a single goal in four games was bound to lead to a frustrating second half for Trofense, and that frustration boiled over in the 86th minute when Zé Manel was issued a red card for vehement dissent.
Despite making a late defensive substitution by removing Taylor for Rolão the hosts further punished Trofense with a stoppage time goal by Laurindo.
The victory propels Atlético to a three point lead over second place Oliveirense, with a trip to Arouca next on the schedule.