Champions League Preview: Cluj - Braga
Manchester United may well have sealed its qualification, but for the other three sides, there is still all to play for and this clash could well prove to be decisive.
By Alec Fenn
Sepsi,Cadu, Piccolo, Pinto
Sougou, Godemeche, Muresan,Bastos
Salino, Douglao, Coelho, Echiejile
In one of the competition's most competitive groups, both Cluj and Braga have the opportunity of qualifying for the last 16 from Group H with two games remaining.
Manchester United sealed its route to the knockout stages of the Champions League in the last round of matches, but Tuesday night's clash in Romania could go a long way to deciding the eventual composition of the group.
The home side holds the stronger hand heading into the contest as it sits in third place on four points, equal with second-placed Galatasaray, but a point better off than its Portuguese visitor.
Paulo Sergio's side can also boast a mental advantage, having already disposed of Braga in the first match between the two sides back in September, though, the club has won just one of its eight home fixtures in the Champions League.
Two goals from Brazil winger Rafael Bastos - who played for Braga back in 2010 - sealed a shock 2-0 victory - the team's first and only win of the competition to date. If the club can repeat that effort on Tuesday, then it will be within touching distance of the last 16.
Cluj midfielder Matias Aguirregaray is available after serving a one-match suspension, while Bastos will be suspended if he picks up another booking. Braga, meanwhile, is able to boast a clean bill of health.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Third-placed CFR Cluj has an identical record to second-placed Galatasaray in this season's competition, with one win, a draw and two defeats recorded so far.
- The Romanian club lost its last league fixture 2-0 and sits in sixth position in its national division.
- Paulo Sergio's men emerged victorious from their first meeting with Braga on Sept. 19, winning 2-0 in Portugal.
- Cluj has scored in all of its Champions League games this campaign, including four qualification matches.
- Portuguese forward Eder is Braga's top goalscorer this season with six goals in all competitions - but he is yet to find the back of the net in the Champions League.
- Os Arcebispos' Estadio Municipal de Braga stadium holds 30,286 spectators and is carved into the face of a quarry adjacent to the ground.
- Braga won the Intertoto Cup in 2008 and finished as Europa League runner-up in 2011.
Top 3 Predictions
CFR Cluj 1-1 Braga
- 16.96 %
CFR Cluj 1-2 Braga
- 11.11 %
CFR Cluj 1-0 Braga
- 10.53 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||CFR Cluj 3 - Braga 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||Braga 0 - CFR Cluj 2|
|Feb 21, 2013||CFR Cluj 0 - Inter 3||EL|
|Feb 14, 2013||Inter 2 - CFR Cluj 0||EL|
|Dec 5, 2012||Manchester United 0 - CFR Cluj 1||UCL|
|Nov 20, 2012||CFR Cluj 3 - Braga 1||UCL|
|Nov 7, 2012||CFR Cluj 1 - Galatasaray 3||UCL|
|20||Uwa Elderson Echiejile||Defender|
|-||Djamal Abdoulaye Mahamat Bindi||Midfielder|