Braga - Galatasaray Preview: Terim's men look to seal qualification
The Turkish giants are one last push away from confirming their place in the knock-out phase of the Champions League and must see off their eliminated hosts to complete the job
By Alec Fenn
Salino, Echiejile, Coelho, Ismaily
Micael, Custodio, Viana
Alan, Eder, Amorim
Eboue, Semih, Nounkeu, Riera
Hamit, Selcuk, Melo, Amrabat
Were it not for Galatasaray's dismal away record in the Champions League then punters would be queuing up to tick an away win on their betting slips ahead of Wednesday night's game.
The Turkish giants need only to match Cluj's result against Manchester United to seal their place in the knockout phase of the competition, but just one away win in the competition in a decade - against the Romanian club on matchday four - leaves lingering doubts.
Their task should be made a little easier, however, with Braga already eliminated and likely rotate at least a few of their first choice players. Centre-back Douglao misses out through suspension, while the visitors' only notable absentee is defender Tomas Ujfalusi, who was left out of their Champions League squad as a result of a knee ligament injury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz is the competition's joint top scorer with five goals. Only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Braga striker Alan have as many.
- Burak became only the second Turkish player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League with his treble on matchday 4. Tuncay Sanli was the first, with his treble against Manchester United back in 2004.
- Fernando Muslera, Danny Nounkeu and Selcuk Inan have played every minute of Gala's Champions League campaign.
- Felipe Melo (pictured, right) was sent off on Friday in Galatasaray's 1-1 draw with Gaziantepspor.
- Braga lost 2-0 to Cluj on matchday one despite having 35 shots on goal - 23 of which were on target.
- Seven Braga players - a club record - featured in Portugal's friendly against Gabon in November.
- The Portuguese club have won just once against Turkish opposition at home - a 3-0 second-leg triumph over Sivasspor in the 2008 Intertoto Cup.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sporting Braga 1-2 Galatasaray
- 19.06 %
Sporting Braga 0-2 Galatasaray
- 14.72 %
Sporting Braga 0-1 Galatasaray
- 11.37 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 5, 2012||Sporting Braga 1 - Galatasaray 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 2, 2012||Galatasaray 0 - Sporting Braga 2|
|Dec 7, 2013||Porto 2 - Sporting Braga 0||POR1|
|Nov 29, 2013||Sporting Braga 4 - SC Olhanense 1||POR1|
|Nov 23, 2013||Benfica 1 - Sporting Braga 0||POR1|
|Nov 3, 2013||Sporting Braga 0 - Rio Ave 1||POR1|
|Oct 25, 2013||Sporting Braga 0 - Academica Coimba 1||POR1|
|20||Uwa Elderson Echiejile||Defender|
|26||Paulo Vinícius de Souza Nascimento||Defender|
|9||Rocha Paulo Cesar||Striker|
|-||Néstor Muslera Micol||Goalkeeper|
The 33-year-old striker has been a revelation in front of goal and is the competition's joint top goalscorer alongside stellar names Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz. With Braga already eliminated, he will want to end his European campaign on a high.
Three of the striker's five goals in the competition came in the victory over Cluj in Romania, an effort that highlighted his threat in front of goal. He will hope to be equally prolific on Wednesday night in a bid to shake off his side's travel sickness and seal Galatasaray's place in the knock-out phase.
Galatasaray's away record in Europe is poor, and with no pressure on Braga to get a result they could cause the visitors a few problems. Nerves could play a part, but a draw and the same result between Manchester United and Cluj will be enough to see Fatih Terim's side through.