Braga - CFR Cluj Preview: Jose Peseiro's side look for three points against the Romanian champions
The Minhotos are hoping for three points against a Railwaymen side who haven't won in the Champions League group stage for four years
By Alex Mott
Douglao, Ismaily, P. Vinicius
L. Salino, Custodio, H. Viana, Mossoro
Eder, Alan, H. Barbosa
Ivo Pinto, Cadu, Rada, Camora
R. Bastos, Godemecha, Muresan, Rui Pedro
Braga go into tonight's Champions League game with an almost fully-fit squad, and so should name near enough the same side that beat Udinese in the play-off round.
Beto will start between the sticks, marshalling a three-man defence of Douglao, Ismaily and Paulo Vinicius.
In midifeld, Leandro Salino, Custodio, Hugo Viana and Mossoro will be in the starting XI, supporting a three-pronged attack of Eder, Alan and Helder Barbosa.
For Cluj, boss Ioan Andone will be without Ciprian Deac, Adam Vass, Bakary Sare and Vasile Maftei through injury. Ronny is serving a one-match suspension.
Therefore, Mario Felgueiras will start in goal, with a back-four of the Portuguese pair Ivo Pinto and Cadu, with Ionut Rada and Camora playing on the left-side of defence.
Rui Bastos, Nicolas Godemecha, Gabriel Muresan and Rui Pedro will begin in midfield, whilst Panetilis Kapetanos supports goal-scoring machine Modou Sougou.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Braga qualified for the Champions League by beating Udinese on penalties in the play-off round.
- The Portuguese side will hope to avoid the kind of start they made in 2010-11, when they lost their opening game 6-0 to Arsenal.
- This is Jose Peseiro's side's first game against Romanian opposition.
- CFR Cluj are making their third Champions League appearance in five years.
- However, in their 2008-09 and 2011-12 campaigns they finished bottom of the group.
- In six Champions League group games, the Railwaymen have only ever won one - an away win against Roma.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sporting Braga 2-0 CFR Cluj
- 24.85 %
Sporting Braga 1-1 CFR Cluj
- 10.56 %
Sporting Braga 1-2 CFR Cluj
- 9.32 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||CFR Cluj 3 - Sporting Braga 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||Sporting Braga 0 - CFR Cluj 2|
|Mar 1, 2014||Sporting Lisbon 2 - Sporting Braga 1||POR1|
|Feb 22, 2014||Sporting Braga 2 - FC Arouca 2||POR1|
|Feb 17, 2014||G D Estoril Praia 2 - Sporting Braga 1||POR1|
|Feb 9, 2014||Sporting Braga 4 - Gil Vicente 1||POR1|
|Feb 2, 2014||Belenenses 2 - Sporting Braga 1||POR1|
|26||Paulo Vinícius de Souza Nascimento||Defender|
|-||Djamal Abdoulaye Mahamat Bindi||Midfielder|
|9||Rocha Paulo Cesar||Striker|
The defensive midfielder is vital to Jose Peseiro's side. His combative style allows the likes of Hugo Viana and Alan to weave their magic, so although he may go unseen, his industry and reliability means the Portugal international is the lynchpin of this team.
The Senegalese goalscorer will have to be at his clinical best if Cluj are to secure one, maybe three, points on Wedensday. He has already scored three in the play-offs, and so could cause the likes of Ismaily and Douglao some problems here.
Expect a win for the Portuguese side on Wednesday. They should have more than enough class to see off the Romanian champions, and in the end could get the three point quite comfortably.