Sporting won again, the second since the departure of Leonel Pontes and the arrival of Jorge Silas. But if the victory left a smiling lion on his face, the show produced could not be said to have pleased an Alvalade audience with ever less tolerance for less successful performances.
With a team in search of his third tactical identity, the green and white coach seemed surprised by the changes he made himself, but also by a very physically available opponent leaving Alvalade bent on his lack of effectiveness.
The 2-1 scoreline, however, does not mirror what happened on the pitch, where several units were struggling to show a lesser side. Yet Coates seems to be leaving more and more of the dark cloud days in the past.
In a team that has struggled, beyond other problems, with too much defensive permissiveness, Mathieu, so often defensive mainstay of the Leonine wall, had a (truly) less successful game on a day when Luís Neto was at his side with the Uruguayan.
Bruno Fernandes, who out of 16 goals scored by the Green and Whites participated in 12, watched and scored, leaving, despite a less good day, the certainty that, less being a catalyst for internal storms, is there to withstand the winds he planted.