LISBON (Reuters) - Nemanja Matic’s header gave Chelsea a 1-0 win at Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday and inflicted a home defeat on the Portuguese side for the first time in four years of European competition.
In a match where both teams showed relentless attacking intent, the Serbian’s goal gave Jose Mourinho’s team victory against their Group G rivals who had been unbeaten in their previous 16 matches in Europe at the Alvalade Stadium.
Booed by the home fans throughout, Matic, who used to play for Sporting’s bitter rivals Benfica, nodded in Cesc Fabregas’s inswinging free kick at the back post after 34 minutes.
Mourinho, returning to Sporting two decades after starting his coaching career there as an interpreter, could have enjoyed a more comfortable night if not for an impressive display from the hosts’ goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
The Sporting captain denied prolific Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Andre Schuerrle and Oscar with a string of important saves but his heroics were in vain.
The victory took Chelsea to the top of the table on four points, with fellow Group G rivals Schalke 04 being held to a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Maribor.
Writin by Sam Holden; Editing by Ian Chadband