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UEFA Europa League

  • May 5, 2011
  • • 20:05
  • • Estádio AXA, Braga
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 25384
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Aggregate 2 - 2 Sporting Braga win on away goals

Europa League preview: Sporting Braga - Benfica

Europa League preview: Sporting Braga - Benfica

The Eagles visit the Archbishops at the Estadio AXA with a slender lead to protect in what promises to be a fiery second-leg of the first-ever all Portuguese Uefa cup semi-final


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Braga (4-3-3)
Artur; Rodriguez, Paulao, Garcia, Silvio; Hugo Viana, Custodio, Salino; Meyong Ze, Alan, Lima.

Domingos Paciencia likes to tinker with his formation, especially in an attacking sense and occasionally switches from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3. Paulo Cesar was suspended for the first game, and has not been included in the squad for this match. Lima played in a withdrawn position last week, but with the Archbishops playing in front of their own fans and in need of a goal, Paciencia might push him up the field.

Braga will have to do without the services of Quim, who is still rehabilitating from injury, and Vinicius, who has a thigh problem.
In additionl, captain Vandinho has been suspended for this game after picking up a yellow card in the first leg last week.

Benfica (4-4-2)
Roberto; Pereira, Jardel, Luisao, Coentrao; Garcia, Martins, Peixoto, Gaitan; Saviola, Cardozo.

Jorge Jesus is likely to welcome Nicolas Gaitan back into the first team after a period of rehabilitation, meaning that we are are likely to see Carlos Martins and the Argentine storming the wings, supported by Maxi Pereira and Fabio Coentrao out wide. Javi Garcia will retain his place as the anchor man in the centre of the pitch while the devastating duo of Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo will line-up upfront.

Jorge Jesus occasionally switches to 4-3-3, sacrificing a midfielder for a striker so expect either Franco Jara or Alan Kardec to enter the fray if thing do not go as planed for the hosts.

Toto Salvio is definitely out of this game after picking up an injury in the draw against PSV, while Nuno Gomes and Ruben Amorim are long-term casualties.



DID YOU KNOW?

  • Braga had conceded just two goals before the strikes from Jardel and Cardozo last Thursday.
  • The Archbishops have scored just five goals in seven games since entering the competition.
  • Braga's Silvio arrived at the club last summer from Benfica.
  • Should the Archbishops win on Thursday, they will inflict on the Eagles their 100th loss in Europe.
  • Benfica and Braga have played out 110 league duels, with Benfica recording 72 wins, 27 draws and 11 losses.
  • The Eagles are on a seven-game unbeaten run in Europe since the turn of the year, winning five and drawing two.
  • Benfica have scored 15 goals in the Europa League this season, but have conceded seven times in seven games.
  • The Eagles have won 6 of ten Portuguese Cup matches, with Braga winning the other four.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1ArturGoalkeeper
2Alberto RodríguezDefender
3PaulaoDefender
15Miguel GarciaDefender
17SilvioDefender
8MossóroStriker
27CustodioMidfielder
45Hugo VianaMidfielder
11LimaStriker
19Meyong ZeStriker
30AlanStriker
-Cristiano PereiraGoalkeeper
-KakáDefender
21Uwa Elderson EchiejileDefender
48Aníbal CapelaDefender
25Leandro SalinoMidfielder
19Peterson JosephMidfielder
10Hélder BarbosaStriker
12RobertoGoalkeeper
4LuisaoDefender
14Maxi PereiraDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
-César PeixotoDefender
33Jardel Nivaldo VieiraDefender
14Javi GarcíaMidfielder
17Carlos MartinsMidfielder
20Osvaldo Nicolás Fabián GaitánMidfielder
7Ó. CardozoStriker
30Javier SaviolaStriker
1MoreiraGoalkeeper
19RoderickDefender
27SidneiDefender
2AirtonMidfielder
11Franco JaraStriker
14Alan KardecStriker
Players to Watch
Hugo Viana
Hugo Viana
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 45
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The ex-Valencia player has already lost one Uefa Cup final, and will be keen to make amendments. The midfielder has lacked consistency throughout his career, and this game will be a good opportunity for him to finally shine.
Ó. Cardozo
Ó. Cardozo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The striker scored a stunning goal a well ago, but will have to improve his efficiency in front of goal if his team are to score that all-important away goal. He is more than capable of deciding games on his own, and will be willing to prove this against Braga.
Prediction
The truth is that whoever score first will progress. Braga have a rock-solid defence and are more than capable to defend a one-goal lead. This game could go either way, and Braga will put up quite a fight, but Benfica superior squad quality is likely to ultimately prevail.
Editor's Prediction
Braga 1

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