All eyes will be on Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as the striker will return to his former team Sporting CP as the two teams are set for a Champions League clash at Jose Alvalade on Tuesday. Real Madrid, the giants of Spanish football, are just a draw away from qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition.
Zinedine Zidane's team will not play for a draw, but a win. They have eight points from their first four matches, but Real Madrid have not been the usual dominating self in this campaign so far. After a tight opening game against Sporting, which they won by a narrow margin, 2-1, they drew against Borussia Dortmund, followed that with a win over Legia Warsaw, who drew against Real in the last fixture.
They not have played that kind of consistent football, which they are known for. This match against Sporting gives them an opportunity to correct upon that and also dominate Sporting. With players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Garthe Bale, Luka Modric, Isco, they have some phenomenal players, who can just make Sporting look foolish.
With Sporting in front of their home fans, expect them to give it their all. They should be even confident of a good show after their away performance against Real. Zidane is aware about the threat that Sporting possesses.
"[In the first game] they didn't surprise us at all. We won with difficulty and tomorrow will be just as hard. In front of their passionate fans, Sporting will want to put us in trouble and the most important thing is that we must be ready as a team to face that threat," UEFA's official website quoted Zidane as saying.
Though they emerged victorious against Atletico Madrid, Zidane does not believe that win guarantees victory against Sporting. They will have to be on top of their game against Sporting.
"Winning as we did at the weekend [against Atlético Madrid] doesn't guarantee anything in the next game. If we go in strong, we know we can get something out of it. I won't be doing any calculations as to how each group might finish and nor will my players."
Real will start the match as favourites, but Sporting will try to play some solid football like they did against the Spanish giants last time around, where they were leading at one point of time as well. They are expected to sit back and play on the counter, as Real will have plenty of ball possession. There is no doubt, Ronaldo will also be tightly marked to make him less effective.
Manager Jorge Jesus wants to make it count when Real are without the ball.
"We are up against the best team in the world; they are second to none. But we are confident in our abilities. We have a dream, and that is to play as we did in Madrid and win. They are strong when they have the ball. When they don't have the ball, they have weaknesses, like all teams, and we will try to capitalise," Jesus said.
Where to Watch Live
Sporting CP vs Real Madrid is set to begin at 8.45pm CET (7.45pm GMT, 3.45pm ET, 1.15am IST). TV information and live streaming are given below.
India: TV: Ten 1 HD. Live Streaming: Ten Sports live.
Spain: TV: TV3, Antena 3..
Portugal: Sport TV4, RTP 1
UK: TV: BT Sport ESPN. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
Australia and Middle East: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 2. Live Streaming: Foxsoccer2go.
China: LeTV, PPTV Sport China