Thursday, August 13

Champions League draw preview part 7

14 days to go

In the run up to the UEFA Champions League group stage draw on August 27 in Monaco, we will preview one of United's possible opponents each day.

Sporting Lisbon

Okay, they're not strictly through to the group stages, but I had to include Lisbon in this guide because, as a city, it's just so good!
Having finished runners up to Porto last season, the southern Portugese side must beat Fiorentina over two legs to get a place in Pot 2 of the August 27 draw.

Anyone who has been to both Lisbon and Porto will appreciate that it is probably a good thing that Lisbon is a possible destination in this year's group stages, as it is a far superior destination in every way.

It's generally easy to get from the North West to Lisbon than to Porto, the stadium is nicer and so is the welcome from the locals.

The Estadio Jose Alvalade looks impressive, has a world-class atmosphere and holds 50,080. The away end usually holds about 3,000 fans and is split between the upper and lower tiers at the south east corner of the ground.

And, most unusually, Sporting Lisbon sometimes sells away end tickets from its own ticket office on open sale to supporters of the other team. Hard to believe, but true.

The stadium is easy to get to by Metro 10 minutes out of the centre. There are dozens of hot dog stands with beer pumps dotted around the outside of the ground – perfect for a sunny evening game.

The city itself is brilliant. Since England fans behaved themselves at Euro 2004, the locals have offered a warm welcoming to any English fans.

While it lacks Irish bars, Lisbon is bursting with traditional Portuguesee bars serving two of the best lagers you'll ever taste – Sagres and,more soo, Superbock.
You can even take a three-hour walking guided tour of the city for just e8 – a bargain if ever there was on.

Ways to get there
To follow...

Fun factor: 9/10
Safety factor: 9/10
Bargain factor: 6/10
Convenience factor: 6/10
Score: 30/40

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