Sporting were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League after Group G winners Chelsea beat them 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Portuguese team started matchday six two points in front of third-placed Schalke, but were knocked out after their defeat was coupled with the German side’s 1-0 success at Maribor.
Marco Silva’s men made a terrible start to the clash as a Cesc Fabregas penalty was followed by Andre Schurrle’s fine effort from distance in the first 16 minutes.
Sporting cut Chelsea’s two-goal lead in half in the 50th minute through an excellent Jonathan Silva strike, but John Obi Mikel’s first Champions League goal gave the hosts breathing space.
And news of Schalke’s goal filtered through in the latter stages to cap a miserable night for Sporting, although they will now compete in the UEFA Europa League.
Chelsea’s win ensured they finished the group undefeated, with four wins and two draws – giving them six more points than Schalke.
Jose Mourinho made six changes after Chelsea’s first loss of the season at Newcastle United on Saturday as the likes of Schurrle, goalkeeper Petr Cech and highly rated defender Kurt Zouma came in.
The visitors, also missing the suspended Cedric, were crucially without Manchester United loanee Nani – scorer in four of their five Champions League matches this season – due to a thigh injury and his absence robbed Sporting of much of their dynamism.
And Chelsea were quickly ahead after Ricardo Esgaio clumsily fouled Filipe Luis just inside the penalty area.
Ajagun Signs Panathinaikos One Year Contract Extension
By James Agberebi:
Former Flying Eagles skipper Abdul-jeleel Ajagun has has signed a one year contract extension with Greek giant Panathinaikos.
According to the club’s official web site, the contract will run until the summer of 2018.
Reacting to the extension, the former Golden Eaglets player thanked officials of the club for the belief bestowed in him.
“I feel nice because it is always beautiful the club you belong to appreciate your job and to believe in you. We are going to make big things together soon.”
Ajagun played for 55 minutes before he was substituted in Panathinaikos 1-1 away draw against Asteras Tripolis on Sunday.
He has appeared nine times for the former Greek champions this current season, finding the back of the net three times.
Meanwhile, Panathinaikos are third on the league table on 23 points, five adrift of leaders PAOK.