There is bad news for Sporting Braga’s head coach Jose Peseiro in terms of squad selection. Éder has a knee injury and was unable to practice after the CFR Cluj game. If the Portuguese international is not fit in time to face FC Porto, Peseiro will probably call Zé Luis. However, the latter has made only one start for Braga this season. Curiously, that was against his former club Gil Vicente in a game where he scored his only goal of the current Portuguese Primeira Liga campaign.
As for FC Porto, with Fernando and Alex Sandro back in action last Wednesday, Maicon is the only injured player in the team. The Brazilian centre-back has been replaced by Abdoulaye Ba.
Sporting Braga’s board made it clear: league glory is the club’s target. Sunday’s fixture against FC Porto will present the players with the opportunity to prove their intent to Braga’s president. The Minho team is six points below Porto and Benfica, and will be nine points adrift if they loose.
Sporting Braga cannot afford to lose ground domestically. Already, all hope is gone in Europe. With a string of unconvincing results in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League, they could not even qualify for the Europa League. There is virtually nothing to fight for continentally. The focus is firmly on overpowering league title favourites Benfica and FC Porto.
Talking about the Dragons, winning in Braga will be also essential. They must keep pace with the Eagles. FC Porto won four of their last five matches at Braga, and they should be confident of grabbing another three points.
Head to Head - Last five matches
07/04/2012: SC Braga 0-1 FC Porto
27/11/2011: FC Porto 3-2 SC Braga
18/05/2011: FC Porto 1-0 SC Braga
13/02/2011: SC Braga 0-2 FC Porto
11/09/2010: FC Porto 3-2 SC Braga
- The only time in European Cup football history where two Portuguese teams faced each other was in the 2010/11 Europa League final played in Dublin. FC Porto claimed victory over Braga.
- Five Braga players were formerly at Porto: Beto, Nuno A. Coelho, Ruben Micael, Alan and Hélder Barbosa. Meanwhile, Porto’s Miguel Lopes played in Braga last season under a loan contract.
- The last time SC Braga won at home to FC Porto, was during the 2009/10 season. Alan scored the goal.
This is the kind of match where everything can happen. FC Porto is stronger at the moment but Braga can turn things their way if they do not commit defensive errors.
Result: Braga 1-2 Porto