The Railwaymen arrived in Portugal heavy underdogs, but a resolute defensive display combined with counterattacking potency saw them jet home with a three-point haul.Braga kicked off its UEFA Champions League with a shock loss at home to Romanian champion CFR Cluj at the Estadio-AXA.
Former Braga player Rafael Bastos struck twice in the first half as his new side turned in a mightily impressive performance to down the Portuguese up-and-comers.
Os Arsenalistas were prematch favorites and justified the tag with an enthusiastic, dominant start to the game. Hugo Viana and Custodio settled into an early groove to help Braga control the opening 10 minutes, resulting in 62 percent possession to the home side.
Cluj pressed doggedly early on but was unable to gain a foothold in the game. The chances soon started flowing for Braga, and Custodio in particular won a free kick and took a pop at goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras in the opening 20 minutes.
Braga's midfield was growing in confidence and at 69 percent possession to the home side, a goal only seemed likely at one end of the pitch - but Ioan Andone's side had other ideas.
Breaking from a Hugo Viana corner, Modou Sougou sprinted down the left, attracted the attention of the last defender and slotted a perfect through-ball for Bastos to finish when one vs. one with Beto.
Undeterred, however, Braga resumed normal service. Space down the flanks became particularly easy to find and Alan kept his team ticking over well in the final third.
After a number of blocked shots from the home team, an equalizer felt inevitable, but again it was the visiting side which struck.
After Pantelis Kapetanos missed a gilt-edged chance to make it two, Bastos struck a second time. The build-up was a little lucky, but the arrowed finished into the top right corner was no mistake.
After the restart, both teams picked up where they left off. Braga controlled possession and pace while Cluj remained happy to put nine behind the ball and defend doggedly.
With the Railwaymen packing the central area in front of their own penalty box, Os Arcebispos were limited to long distance shots and constant horizontal passing.
With a change in philosophy needed after an hour, Jose Perisa's men altered their style. Felguerias' goal came under siege as shot after shot was fired in, but block after block was made. Ze Luis was introduced at the expense of Hugo Viana, but still the Portuguese side failed to break its opponent down.
With time running out, Peseiro's men saw a number of headed chances fly high or wide of the goal. Andone's Cluj hung on to keep a clean sheet away from home and ramp up the pressure on group rival Galatasaray.
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