Bolton's Uefa Cup run came to an end last night after a severely weakened side were beaten 1-0 in the second leg of their last-16 Uefa Cup tie. Wanderers, who drew 1-1 in the first leg, were unable to conjure the strike they needed to progress before an 85th-minute goal from Bruno Pereirinha secured victory for Sporting.
"We need to get over it as soon as possible," said Gary Cahill, Bolton's captain, with the weekend's relegation battle at Wigan in mind. "Every game we play is vital at this stage. It starts on Sunday."
Bolton's manager, Gary Megson, rested several key players ahead of the Wigan game. There was no Kevin Nolan, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Kevin Davies, Matt Taylor, El Hadji Diouf, Andy O'Brien, Ricardo Gardner, Ivan Campo or Gavin McCann.
Bolton's goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi was forced into his first save after just 66 seconds, turning aside a 25-yard left-foot free-kick from Simon Vukcevic after Andranik Teymourian had fouled Abel Ferreira.
But Bolton were positive, creating their opening chance in the seventh minute. Nicky Hunt played a raking ball from his right-back position in to Ricardo Vaz Te, who shook off the challenge of Anderson Polga and drifted past Antonio Tonel before firing an angled shot into the side-netting.
Lisbon created the next chance with Vukcevic flicking on a right-wing cross from Pereirinha to the far post where a full-stretch Marat Izmailov steered the ball over the crossbar.
Seven minutes later Al Habsi made a more straightforward save when he stooped low to collect a 20-yard drive from Pereirinha. Sporting then continued to dominate the game both territorially and in terms of possession, but without particularly placing Bolton under great pressure.
Megson's side were appreciably relying on the counter-attack, but found space hard to come by and struggled to create chances.
After Paulo Bento made the game's first substitution in the 66th minute, with Rodrigo Tiui replacing Vukcevic, Moutinho cracked in a fierce drive that struck Samuel and deflected the ball wide. The game then meandered on until Pereirinha kept his head to seal victory for Sporting.
"Sporting have good players, but we are gutted to go out," added Cahill.
Sporting Lisbon (4-1-4-1): Patricio; Abel, Tonel, Polga, Grimi; Moutinho; Pereirinha, Izmailov (Gladstone, 87), Romagnoli (Silva, 75), Liedson; Vukcevic (Tiui, 66). Substitutes not used: Stojkovic, Ronny, Djalo, Farnerud.
Bolton (4-1-4-1): Al Habsi; Hunt, Cahill, Meite, Samuel; O'Brien; Guthrie, Teymourian (Braaten, 71), Giannakopoulos, Vaz Te; Helguson (Woolfe, 76). Substitutes not used: Walker, Harsanyi, Sinclair, Sissons, Jamieson.
Referee: B Layec (France).