Braga vs Benfica by Jimeno
Braga didn't have an easy game last time out on previous Saturday evening, but the side still managed to walk away with a 2:1 narrow victory in front of own fans against Rio Ave. They entered the game better and took the lead in 20th minute via Horta, however the game turned out to be a bit more difficult than what was expected.
Guests actually stood well on the field from that moment on and had more of the ball possession, even managing to create quite a few chances before they leveled up in 43rd minute via Novais. Hosts looked more fighting spirited in the second and managed to reach the winner simply by risking more in last minute thanks to a goal from Martins in 82nd minute.
This was their third consecutive victory in Primeira, as the side stands at fourth position with just three points more than third placed Benfica and surely aiming a victory here in order to get back into the race for Champions League exit.
Goalkeeper Marafona remains long term absentee, while injured are also midfielders Andre Horta (7/1), Fransergio (12/0) and central back Ricardo Ferreira (7/0). Paulinho should lead the attack of the home team in 4-2-3-1 formation with the help of Horta, Xadas and Esgaio as offensive midfielders.
Benfica, on the other side, walked away with a three pointer away from home against Moreirense last Saturday afternoon with a 2:0 result. It was more of less a professional victory for the visitors who deserved it completely and the final result should have been with a bigger margin as per what we saw on the field.
They were attacking from the first minute, probably deserving to seal the victory already in the first halftime, but the leading goal came in 23rd minute via Pizzi, while they remained being similarly better in the repetition as well - doubling up the lead in 73rd via Jonas which sealed their three pointer.
The side is now still with just one defeat in Primeira, having 12-4-1 record but still five points behind leaders from Porto and surely knowing that anything but a victory here would mean way lesser chances for them to get back into the title race.
Guests will continue in a version of 4-3-3 formation with Salvio, Cervi and Jonas as forwards. Midfielder Ljubomir Fejsa is back for this one and there's should be no further change for the guests who have all players ready for this one.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Braga's last 7 home games (Liga NOS).
Braga seems to be in a decent momentum now in Primeira Liga and it's something that should spice up the game here. There is no other option for Benfica but to seek for all three points here since they already look as underdogs in the title race, while with the current form of Braga, I can definitely see home team scoring here too, making the game as open as possible as soon as we see first goal netted.