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Last-gasp Sporting take final chance

Thursday, 5 May 2005

[1] Miguel Garcia struck two minutes into added time at the end of extra time to give Sporting Clube de Portugal a dramatic win against AZ Alkmaar and a place in the UEFA Cup final at their own Estádio José Alvalade.

Thrilling victory

[2] Garcia's thrilling late effort clinched victory on the away goals rule after the tie had ended 4-4 on aggregate, and ensured heartache for a Dutch side for a second night running following PSV Eindhoven's UEFA Champions League elimination.

Garcia winner

[3] Alkmaar, 2-1 behind from the first leg, had taken an early lead through Kenneth Perez before Liedson swung the tie back in Sporting's favour moments before half-time. Stein Huysegems' late goal forced extra time and Kew Jaliens seemingly won the tie for Alkmaar four minutes into the second period only for Garcia to hit back.

Alkmaar suspensions

[4] Alkmaar were without suspended midfielders Olaf Lindenbergh and Michael Buskermolen, the only absentees from their weekend victory over FC Groningen. Sporting coach José Peseiro rang the changes, recovering a number of the players he had rested for the 3-0 win against SC Braga. Sunday's hat-trick hero Mauricio Pinilla, however, missed out through injury.

Alkmaar press

[5] Alkmaar took the game to their more fancied opponents from the start and - after Perez had seen an early shot saved - went ahead on seven minutes. The Danish international made no mistake with his second sight of goal, sending a bullet header into the roof of the net after a sublime right-wing cross from Tarik Sektioui.

Sporting revival

[6] Sporting survived another close shave when Perez floated a free-kick against the upright, but once they had finally got into their stride they dominated much of the latter part of the opening half. Roudolphe Douala saw a header deflected just wide and Liedson had a low drive saved by the feet of Henk Timmer.

Alkmaar press

[7] Alkmaar could have added to their advantage, though, with the lively Sektioui running at goal before seeing his effort repelled at the near post by Ricardo on 27 minutes. A Barry van Galen strike was then stopped by the Portuguese international seven minutes later.

Liedson strikes

[8] The match was being played at a relentless pace with chances at both ends, and Sporting finally took one of theirs moments before the interval. Seconds after seeing a shot tipped over the bar, Liedson diverted an Anderson Polga attempt into the net from close range for a deserved equaliser. It was his ninth goal of this UEFA Cup campaign.

Huysegems strikes

[9] The second half started at a more leisurely tempo, before an early acrobatic effort from Van Galen, which fizzed just over the top, almost regained the initiative for Alkmaar. Opportunities were increasingly at a premium but it was Alkmaar who forced the play, and with 12 minutes remaining Huysegems struck to salvage their UEFA Cup dream.

Ricardo saves

[10] Huysegems came close to scoring again in normal time but fired a shot just wide in a frantic finale, then in extra time Ricardo did well to flick Ron Vlaar's free-kick over the bar. Four minutes into the second 15-minute instalment, Alkmaar edged in front, Jaliens volleying past Ricardo to send the Alkmaarderhout into wild celebrations.

Garcia decider

[11] Yet as in Eindhoven, the Dutch side would miss out in agonising circumstances as Garcia decided a thrilling encounter when he headed in to seal a final date with PFC CSKA Moskva.

Sporting's João Moutinho and Liedson celebrate