Aven stun shaken Sporting to lift maiden Portuguese Cup

Alexandre Guedes (C) scored both goals as Aves won the Portuguese Cup for the first time in club history. (AFP pic)

LISBON: Unfancied Aves shocked a rattled Sporting 2-1 to clinch their first Portuguese Cup title on Sunday, five days after a horrific gang attack at the Lisbon club’s training ground.

A 50-strong gang of masked and hooded men brutally attacked players and officials at Sporting’s Alcochete training base in the Lisbon suburbs on Tuesday, prompting the club to initially consider pulling out of the final.

The players ultimately decided to go ahead with the fixture, although they were restricted to just one training session ahead of the match.

For Aves, a club from northern Portugal which has spent only three years in the top flight since its foundation in 1930, it was a first appearance in the final.

Alexandre Guedes scored the opening goal for Aves after 16 minutes in Oeiras and then edged them closer to the title with a second with a quarter of an hour left.

Colombian substitute Fredy Montero pulled a goal back for Sporting on 85 minutes, but it was too little, too late for Jorge Jesus’s team at the end of a dreadful week for the club.

In the wake of Tuesday’s training ground attack, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in attendance at Sunday’s final, expressed his concern about the “image projected by Portugal” globally just weeks ahead of the World Cup.

“Portugal and Portuguese sport cannot be confused with these events,” he added.

Sporting, who haven’t won the Portuguese title since 2002, finished third following a defeat at Maritimo in their final game of the season to miss out on a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds.