Men's Team

Champions League guide: Sporting Lisbon

Manchester City will face Sporting Lisbon in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League.

Pep Guardiola’s side will play the first leg at the José Alvalade Stadium in February, before hosting the Portuguese outfit at the Etihad Stadium the following month.

Ahead of those games, here is everything you need to know about our last 16 opponents.

How they qualified

Sporting finished second behind unbeaten Ajax in a Group C which also contained Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas.

The Portuguese outfit pipped Dortmund to the second qualifying place by virtue of having a better goal difference in the head-to-head meetings between the two teams.

Both sides won three of their six games to take nine points from a possible 18, but, after losing 1-0 in Germany, Sporting’s 3-1 victory at home left them with a +1 goal difference compared to Dortmund’s -1.

Group stage results:

  • Sporting 1-5 Ajax
  • Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Sporting
  • Besiktas 1-4 Sporting
  • Sporting 4-0 Besiktas
  • Sporting 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
  • Ajax 4-2 Sporting

League form

Sporting have made a fine start to the 2021-22 season and, at the time of writing, find themselves in second place in the Primeira Liga, having gone unbeaten in their opening 14 games.

With 12 wins and two draws on their record, the Lisbon side have accumulated the same number of points as league leaders Porto, who top the table on goal difference.

Previous meetings

Sporting got the better of City in the last 16 of the 2011-12 Europa League, when a Roberto Mancini side suffered an away goals defeat over two legs.

Having lost 1-0 in Lisbon, City got off to a nightmare start in the second leg at the Etihad and trailed 2-0 at half-time after goals from Matias Fernandez and Ricky van Wolfswinkel.

A stirring second half performance saw the hosts level through Sergio Aguero and a Mario Balotelli penalty, before the Argentine fired City in front on the night in the 83rd minute.

However, Sporting held firm in the final seven minutes to close out a 3-3 draw on aggregate which sent them through on away goals.

City links

Pedro Porro is on loan at Sporting from City. 

The 22-year-old right-back arrived at the Club in the summer of 2019, but has spent the last two and a half seasons on loan.

After a season at Valladolid in Spain, he joined Sporting ahead of the 2020-21 campaign and has since made 55 appearance, scoring seven goals.

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Ruben Amorim is the man in charge at the José Alvalade Stadium.

The 36-year-old, who represented Lisbon rivals Benfica during his playing career, was appointed in March 2020 and, the following season, he led Sporting to a first league title for 19 years.

The triumph included a 32-match unbeaten streak – a record in Portuguese football – and Amorim was named Primeira Liga Manager of the Year after his side lost just once over the course of the league campaign.

Top scorer

At the time of writing, attacking midfielder Pedro Goncalves leads the Sporting scoring charts, with 11 goals in 19 games, including four in as many appearances in the Champions League.

The former Wolves player scored 23 times last season to claim the Primeira Liga golden boot.

European history

Sporting won the 1964 European Cup Winners’ Cup, beating MTK Budapest 4-3 over two legs in the final.

That competition merged with the UEFA Cup – the forerunner to the Europa League – in 1999 and Sporting finished runners-up to CSKA Moscow in 2005.

This is the second time they have progressed beyond the group stage of the Champions League, having also done so in 2008-09 when they lost 12-1 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the last 16.

In 1982-83, they reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup, where they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Real Sociedad.


Estádio José Alvalade is named after the founder of Sporting Lisbon.

It has a capacity of 50, 095 and hosted the 2005 UEFA Cup final.

City have played there twice before, when we faced Sporting in the 2011-12 Europa League and in the 2019-20 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Lyon, which was staged at a neutral venue due to COVID-19.

Ticket and hospitality details for City's last 16 tie against Sporting will be released in due course.

Be the first to find out ticket information by registering your interest, here.