Mladenov gives Sofia parting win
Daniel Mladenov hit the winner just before half-time as Levski Sofia secured a 1-0 consolation victory they were seeking over Sporting Lisbon.
The Bulgarians were humiliated by Sporting in the Portuguese capital earlier in the campaign, crumbling 5-0, and their hopes of progressing from Group C were over before the match.
Sporting, in contrast, had four wins from five matches to guarantee their place in the Europa League knock-out rounds as group winners, and coach Paulo Sergio took advantage of that scenario by resting several regulars.
Among the absentees were Liedson, Simon Vukcevic, Pedro Mendes and goalkeeper Rui Patricio, with the Sporting boss calling on the incoming players to take their chance to impress.
"We need no more motivation than the shirt of Sporting," Paulo Sergio professed before the match.
Despite a light covering of snow, the pitch at the Georgi Asparuhov Stadium was fit for purpose and Sporting selected a front two of Helder Postiga and Yannick Djalo.
Postiga sent a tame early shot the wrong side of the right post, before Mladenov had his first effort at goal, drawing a save from Tiago.
After a quiet period, Levski's Vladimir Gadzhev drilled a shot wide from 25 yards, and at the opposite end Evaldo sent his close-range effort off target.
Sporting were under-strength but still carried threat and Levski defensive stopper Ivo Ivanov had to be alert to block consecutive efforts from Alberto Zapater and Nuno Maniche in the 25th minute.
Maniche had another sight at goal soon afterwards but was denied by home goalkeeper Bozhidar Mitrev.
Darko Tasevski and Joaozinho offered some menace for Levski with efforts which both went too high, and Gadzhev also shot over the bar as the home side built up pressure.
Their goal arrived in the 45th minute when Garra Dembele crossed from the left and Mladenov arrived to convert with a low shot from six yards.
Both teams had an abundance of chances in the second half.
Sporting's Solomao hit a curling shot which Mitrev dealt with capably in the 47th minute, before Joaozinho's swinging strike was caught by Tiago at the other end of the pitch.
Solomao then had a volley blocked before Marco Torsiglieri forced Mitrev to touch his 30-yard blast wide of the post.
Ivanov blocked another Maniche effort, and then Djalo headed over from close range before having a shot saved by Mitrev.
Sporting wanted a leveller but Levski almost grabbed a second goal, with both Gadzhev and Mariyan Ognyanov spurning late chances.
Levski Sofia 1-0 Sporting: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.