Benfica VS Braga Prediction
Two of the Portuguese European representatives will close current round of the Primeira Liga when in Monday evening “Estádio da Luz” in Lisbon is set to host match facing Benfica vs Sporting de Braga. This will be second encounter of both sides in the new season after their Portuguese Super Cup game early in August when Benfica won in a convincing way – 3:0 at the “Estádio Municipal de Aveiro”. Few weeks later Benfica and Braga will meet in round five of the 2016-17 Primeira Liga where they share same number of points – 10 points won after three wins and a draw in four matches. However, Braga enters in round five as team on second place as “The Archbishops” have better goal difference – 8:2 against 8:3 which can be easily changed in Monday night, especially if we consider Benfica have once again been determined for clear favourites.
Benfica vs Braga – Match Preview
Despite all the injury concerns which Rui Vitória had before Benfica’s Champions League opener against Besiktas last Tuesday, “Eagles” from Lisbon were very close to start their new UEFA Champions League campaign with a win. However, they were punished late in the game when their own player Talisca (who’s on loan at Besiktas) scored for Turkish champions after excellently executed free-kick and thus Portuguese champions have lost two points. Not the best start of their European dream but they must focus on what’s yet to come, as Braga are definitely strongest Portuguese team except the big trio including Benfica by themselves, Sporting CP and Porto.
Braga have finished fourth for the third time in last four Primeira Liga seasons and “The Archbishops” have found their consolation in the Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup) . Victory against Porto in the final was Braga’s first trophy after the League cup won in 2013 and this has rewarded them with position in the UEFA Europa League group stage. This secures another opportunity for Braga in the second major UEFA tournament where they were one of the quarter-finalists last season and their executors Shakhtar Donetsk were tempted to offer contract to Braga’s coach Paulo Fonseca, who has to replace Mircea Lucescu. Surely a praise for Fonseca’s work as he joined Shakhtar, so this also required proper replacement in Braga, where José Peseiro was appointed for his second spell after 2012-13.
José Peseiro’s men started the new season with the already mentioned 0-3 loss by Benfica but it was followed by three wins and one draw in first four Primeira Liga rounds. All these games preceded Braga’s Europa League opener where in Thursday evening they had to challenge Belgian Gent, but game at the “Estádio Municipal de Braga” has ended with a 1-1 draw. Not the best possible outcome for Braga as well.
Benfica vs Braga – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
It’s pretty certain that both clubs aren’t particularly pleased from their midweek European affairs and they’ll try to bounce back in the domestic scene. For hosts from Benfica this means mandatory win while visitors from Braga won’t mind on a point from their visit in Lisbon.
Rui Vitória still lives with the headache from all injured attackers in Benfica’s squad, but good news are related that at least one of them looks ready to return as the Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou is expected to start up front. Franco Cervi, who scored goal vs Besiktas, and Gonçalo Guedes are competing for position of second striker, while Jonas is a doubt. All other positions look predictable and we expect same squad that has started against Besiktas.
Meanwhile defenders Jardel, Andre Almeida, midfielder Andreas Samaris, attackers Raul Jimenez and Rafa Silva are names of those who’re ruled out from Monday’s game.
Braga will travel to Lisbon without the injured central defender Ricardo Ferreira and Argentine winger Oscar Benítez, who’s on loan exactly from Benfica. Otherwise we don’t expect much changes in Braga’s starting XI and José Peseiro will probably stick to a similar squad he used against Gent.
Expectations are that Marafona will return between the sticks as it seems Peseiro will rotate his goalkeepers in the different competitions, since he used Matheus in the Europa League round. Another player who may also be reintroduced as a starter is Montenegrin midfielder Nikola Vukcevic, who may replace his fellow countryman Marko Bakic next to Mauro.
Pedro Tiba and Ricardo Horta are competing for starting role behind the striker, while attacking trio of Braga (both wingers and central forward) Wilson Eduardo, Pedro Santos and Ahmed Hassan looks solid enough and we don’t expect José Peseiro to touch it, although it wasn’t so effective in the last game. Nevertheless, all those names mentioned in Braga’s attacking trio have scored in the 3-0 victory against Boavista last weekend and they all show good synchronization.
Final conclusion and Betting Prediction
Eagles from Lisbon are the favourites and that’s out of any question, especially when game is in their own nest. Anyway, odds on home win are not very attractive and we must keep in mind Benfica still can’t rely to the whole arsenal of offensive strength. On other hand Braga will try to take advantage from that and probably to score from counter-attack. Benfica are with five consecutive victories against Braga and that’s another fact which tips the scales on their side, but we know that sooner or later every streak has an end. And we definitely aren’t particularly impressed by current odds on Benfica.
In such circumstances we are more tempted by a medium stake bet on “Both teams to score” as we find good value on that opportunity. Our final prediction for the Primeira Liga scuffle between Benfica and Braga goes for “Both teams to score – Yes”.
Venue: “Estádio da Luz”, Lisbon.
Referee: Jorge Sousa.
Possible starting lineups of Benfica and Braga
Sport Lisboa e Benfica: Ederson – Alejandro Grimaldo, Lisandro López, Victor Lindelöf, Nélson Semedo – Ljubomir Fejsa, André Horta – Pizzi, Franco Cervi, Salvio – Konstantinos Mitroglou. (4-2-3-1)
Sporting Clube de Braga: Marafona – Baiano, Lazar Rosic, André Pinto, Marcelo Goiano – Mauro, Nikola Vukcevic – Pedro Santos, Ricardo Horta, Wilson Eduardo – Ahmed Hassan. (4-2-3-1)