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UEFA Champions League
20 November 2012
• Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu, Cluj-Napoca
Referee: S. Karasev
• Attendance: 14635
Rui Pedro 7', 15', 33'
Braga are out of the Champions League after a nightmare match. Cluj can go to Old Trafford next week with a chance of making the Round of 16 should results go their way. That's it from me, till next time.
90' + 4'
And that's it! Full time!
90' + 3'
Ismaily with a cross that causes problems, but Rada gets there just ahead of Ze Luis. Great defending!
90' + 1'
Four minutes of stoppage time to go.
Chance for Cluj to add the icing on the cake! Godemeche has a half-volley that is blocked by a defender, and then Kapetanos fires wide on the turn from the rebound!
Yellow Card Marcio Mossoro
Desperate times for Braga, every man in the opposition half. Their Champions League hopes are slipping away here.
A potentially dangerous free-kick from Ruben Micael is headed clear by Muresan, who has been nothing short of superb patrolling in front of the back four tonight.
Yellow Card Cadu
A moment of stupidity from Cadu, who is aggrieved at a decision not to kick the ball out of play and goes flying into Alan. Yellow card, and it could have easily been red.
CAMORA AGAIN! He's again released by Bastos, and again drills at goal, but again, a splendid touch from Beto helps it onto the post!
CLUJ HIT THE POST! Bastos does well to feed Camora on the left, who takes aim from the edge of the box, but smacks it off the base of the woodwork after a slight touch from Beto!
Mossoro has been a burst of energy since he came on. He's caused the fullbacks a fair bit of problems.
BRAGA SCORE! Game on....but it's offside! Alan's shot is saved by the keeper, and Mossoro taps it home from an illegal position. Good call.
Coelho crucially wins a foot race with Pinto to prevent a one-on-one with Beto. The Cluj fullback still full of energy at this late stage.
The excellent Sougou is taken off, perhaps a good decision as he had began to get a little careless - giving away a sloppy free kick as well as picking up a booking.
Coelho with a good opportunity from a free kick 22 yards out, but disappointingly, the wall blocks the shot and his attempt from the rebound.
Yellow Card M. Sougou
The game getting very scrappy as tiredness, and perhaps the inevitability of the result, sets in. A lot of niggly fouls and trailing legs around the pitch.
Yellow Card Rui Pedro
Pedro booked for simulation after a shameful dive.
Alan initially does well to skin Rada on the edge of the box, but with Barbosa primed in the centre of the area, the Braga skipper instead decides to go for goal, misses the target, and incurs the wrath of the substitute.
Camora with a powerful attempt from outside the box that zips just over the bar. Not a bad effort at all!
Ze Luis, after beating Cadu on the right, is floored by Rada, but no foul is forthcoming.
A few giveaways from Braga in the last two minutes. The game is slowly becoming more open.
Ismaily puts in a great sliding challenge to prevent Sogou from escaping towards the byline.
More positive from Braga, who are forcing Cluj to do a bit of defending. The lack of that extra man is hurting them though.
Camora should have scored! Terrible play from Custodio on the halfway line sees him lose the ball, allowing Camora a clear run on goal. He takes too long to aim his sights though, allowing a defender time to get back and put pressure on him, forcing him into a shot from an angle that Beto still has to save!
Braga's hopes continue to plummet as top scorer Eder limps out of the game to be replaced by Ze Luis.
Alan takes aim from all of 30 yards, but it goes about a foot too high. Felgueiras is unhappy with his defence for allowing the forward such space to shoot.
Eder with a fine turn to open up acres of space for a cross, but Barbosa, suddenly is back to make the block, and Braga have to settle for a corner...which comes to nothing.
Sougou feeds Pinto on the overlap, who does exceptionally well to evade his marker and sprint towards the byline, losing his balance at the last second and crossing out for a goalkick.
The sending off at the end of the first half has really made this match lose a lot of its spark. Cluj are refusing to push forward too much, and Braga, with a man less, are finding it hard to get an opening. Quite a bore, to be honest, and you can thank Douglao for that.
Cluj just have to keep it simple and not over commit when going forward. The ball is well and truly in their court.
Braga somewhat encouraging to start the second half. Alan slips away from Rada on the wings, but is forced too wide. The ball is worked back into the area though, but Felgueiras smothers with ease.
Remember, if Braga lose tonight, they are out of the Champions League. Two goals down, a man short, away from home. It's not impossible, but I'd hold off on any wagers if I were you.
Here we go again!
It's fair to say that Braga have shot themselves in the foot here. Sloppy for the first two Cluj goals, and despite pulling one back during a period of dominance, concede again after ill-advised timing on a substitution. Then Douglao's dumb reaction at the end of the half makes their task virtually impossible. All credit to Cluj though, and especially Pedro for ruthlessly taking his chances for a first-half hat-trick. Stay tuned for the second half.
45' + 2'
And thus ends quite an eventful half of football!
45' + 1'
Red Card Douglão
Well that is a moment of idiocy from Douglao. The Braga centre back puts his arm across the face of Camora, who goes straight to the floor. The force of impact was minimal, and the Cluj man is shamelessly making the most of it on the ground (the physios have even been called!). But Douglao should know that raising your arms like that can only lead to one thing. Braga down to ten men.
Another corner from Ruben Micael that is met once again by Custodio, this time it is harmlessly over the bar.
A powerful header from Custodio from a corner is hacked off the line by Pinto. good concentration by the right back, as the keeper was not getting to that one!
Great stuff from the right-back Pinto, who makes it all the way to the opposition byline on a lung-busting run, but there was no one to attack his cross in the box and the keeper claims.
Eder is back on the field with quite a bit of strapping attached to his leg. We shall see if this curtails his effectiveness, as he has been lively in attack.
Eder down on the deck writhing in agony. He has to be taken to the sidelines for attention. Not good signs for Braga's hopes of getting back into the game.
Bizarre timing for that substitution, as Barbosa had barely made it onto the pitch before Cluj scored their third goal. The Romanians did not acknowledge the full break in play for Braga to make the change.
Assist M. Sougou
Goal Rui Pedro
Hat-trick from Pedro! The excellent Sougou is the one doing the hard work, getting clear again down the right and cutting back to Pedro, who smashes it with aplomb into the same corner from which he scored his second!
And it proves true as Salino makes way for one-time Sporting CP prodigy Helder Barbosa. I can only assume that it is a tactical change as Salino doesn't look to be struggling.
Word from the trenches is that Braga are readying a change - Leandro Salino may be about to be replaced.
Eder with a lovely turn, but after doing so well to create the opening, fires off target. Probably should have got his head up to pick out one of his teammates there.
Cluj are not seeing much of the ball at the moment, but whenever they are in possession they look dangerous - as shown when a piledriver from Alberto is tipped away in some style by Beto.
Viana with a somewhat ambitious try form outside the box that flies straight into Felgueiras' arms. Braga finding space in good areas.
Braga are winning the midfield battle. Viana and Micael are stringing a few passes together, and in front of the back four, Custodio is proving to be quite the custodian (sorry I had to).
Eder has been heavily involved in the attack since Braga's first goal. His willingness to challenge the defenders head on for every ball is causing Cluj a few problems, although on that occasion, he is a little too enthusiastic and is called for a handball.
Well well well, what a game we have shaping up on our hands. Well deserved for the few of you that have bothered to tune in!
Far more encouraging for Braga as Eder, with a snap shot on the turn, rustles the side netting. A bit disappointing that he did not work the keeper with that attempt.
And they almost equalize! Straight from kickoff, Braga win the ball, and Micael clips in Eder, who ghosts between the two centre backs and plants a header into the arms of Felgueiras! Should have scored!
Assist Rubén Micael
Braga pull one back! What a shock, and what a gift! Cluj fail to clear the ball effectively, and Ruben Micael takes charge of the ball at the top of the box. He attempts a through pass that is slightly wayward, but nevertheless falls kindly for Alan, who finishes from in close for his fifth goal in five games!
Goal Rui Pedro
Pedro does it again! What a sloppy sequence from Braga though. Bastos again sets things in motion with a clipped ball over the top for Sougou on the right, and the winger, despite attention from two defenders, manages to slip in Pedro again, unmarked, who slices into the corner. That should have been dealt with by any half-decent defence.
The fans are in good spirits here in Romania. Braga continue to struggle, giving up the ball cheaply on two occasions as they finally breach the halfway line.
For you brave souls tuning in to keep me company, reach out on Twitter @keeghann. I promise you, as long as your comment is coherent, it will most likely be mentioned in the live. Get cracking!
Braga struggling to adjust to the pace of the game in the opening exchanges here. Cluj's attitude is one of determination and intent.
The touch from Bastos is what made that goal. Under pressure from the defender, he stuck his boot out and played it perfectly.
Assist Rafael Bastos
Goal Rui Pedro
Cluj break the deadlock! Excellent goal! plays the ball towards Bastos, who touches it first time superbly into the path of Pedro, who does the rest from in close. 1-0!
Braga have not seemed to shifted out of warm up mode as Cluj are running rings around them. They seem a step too slow on every possession.
Cluj are definitely the more comfortable side in the opening exchanges. Bastos, meanwhile is in some pain after a challenge from Ruben Micael.
Here we go!
We're about to get underway here...
Defeat here will end Braga's interest in the knockout stages, while Cluj, should they lose, could also be eliminated should the Galatasaray - Manchester United game not play out in their favor .
BRAGA: Beto; Salino, Douglao, Coelho, Ismaily; Ruben Micael, Custodio, hugo Viana; Alan, Amorim, Eder. SUBS: Quim, Mossoro, Barbosa, Elderson, Djamal, Ze Luis, Carlao
CLUJ: Felgueiras; Pinto, Cadu, Piccolo, Rada; Luis Alberto, Muresan, Sougou, Rui Pedro, Camora; Rafael Bastos. SUBS: Stancioiu, Kapetanos, Nicoara, Maftei, Bjelanovic, Godemeche, Aguirregara
First, the teams...
Greetings everyone - it's the one you've all been waiting for: CFR Cluj vs Sporting Braga! It's finally here! I'm Keeghann Sinanan, and I will be bringing you the play by play this evening, while finding different ways to keep my sarcasm in check.
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