The home side started the game well as they raided forward through Agim Ibraimi, and his shot from just outside the penalty area forced a stop from Rui Patricio, who got down low to make the save.
Sporting tried to hit back and Adrien collected the ball outside the area and with no support decided to fire an effort at goal, but his shot sailed well over the crossbar. Nani also fired wide minutes later with a similar strike from distance.
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Andre Carrillo should have given his side the lead when he was played one on one with Jasmin Handanovic but the keeper denied with a good save, and he curled the rebound from a tight angle off the crossbar and over.
The home side pressed before the break and Marcos Tavares should have done better with a headed effort as he tamely nodded the ball at Patricio from close range, while the keeper was forced to deny Ibraimi's powerful low shot with a one-handed save.
In the second half, Sporting hit back with an excellent chance as Handanovic was forced to deny Islam Slimani's diving header as he did well to latch on to Nani's cross into the area.
Maribor responded and Ales Mertelj somehow failed to hit the target from close range as he collected Vrsic's cross into the box and only had Patricio to beat, but he could not keep his shot down.
Nani became the next player to miss a glorious chance when Carrillo managed to beat two defenders in aerial battle and nod the ball into the winger's path. However, his volleyed effort from close range was well saved by Handanovic.
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Sporting finally got the breakthrough in the 80th minute when Nani received the ball on the edge of the box and placed a shot with his left foot past Handanovic into the bottom corner.
However, there was to be a twist in the tale as Maribor scored a late equaliser through Zahovic as he powered a header past Patricio following a mistake by Cedric Soares to earn his side a point.