Sporting leave it late
By Mark Kendall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sporting Lisbon sneaked past AZ Alkmaar and into the Uefa Cup final on away goals.Sporting Lisbon booked a Uefa Cup final showdown with CSKA Moscow after a dramatic 3-2 defeat to AZ Alkmaar saw them progress on the away goals rule.
The Portuguese outfit, conquerors of Newcastle United in the last round, appeared to be heading out as the game entered injury time at the end of extra time, but defender Miguel Garcia made himself a hero with a last-gasp strike.
It meant the scores were tied at 4-4 on aggregate, but Sporting progressed on the away goals rule and will now face CSKA in the final at their own Jose Alvalade stadium later this month.
AZ started at a high tempo as they bid to overturn the deficit from the first leg and had the better of the opening exchanges.
Indeed, they were rewarded for their efforts just seven minutes in when Danish international Kenneth Perez thumped a header home from Tarik Sektioui's right-wing cross.
Perez almost edged the hosts ahead on aggregate when he saw a flighted free kick come back off a post, while Sektioui was denied by a fine stop from Ricardo.
However, Sporting began to get a foothold in the game and asserted some pressure of their own as the half drew on.
After Barry van Galen had been denied just past the half hour mark, the visitors grabbed a vital away goal on the stroke of half time.
It was Brazilian striker Liedson who found the net, deflecting home a shot from compatriot Anderson Polga from close range.
The pace dropped after the break as chances proved harder to come by, but with Sporting seemingly edging towards a final berth, Stein Huysegems rescued AZ's dream.
The striker had only been on the pitch for seven minutes having replaced Robin Nelisse, but was in the right place to slot into an unguarded net and take the tie into extra time.
The home side then moved 3-1 ahead just 11 minutes from the end of extra time when defender Kew Jaliens popped up with a rare goal - firing home from a corner - to send the Alkmaarder Hout into raptures.
However, in a memorable finale, Sporting turned the tie on its head with a goal with virtually the last action of the game.
The visitors, including goalkeeper Ricardo, piled forward for a late corner and the custodian almost got a touch on the set-piece which was bundled home at the near post by Garcia.