Braga vs Benfica Prediction, Preview, Lineups & Betting Tips
Undoubtedly the most fascinating round 18 fixture of the 2017-18 Primeira Liga season will take place at the “Estádio Municipal de Braga” where Braga hosts to the reigning champion Benfica on Saturday night, 13 January 2018. Both clubs are neighbours in current standings, respectively fourth and third, as the distance between Braga and Benfica is three points only. This means that a home win will level them, but the Lisbon visitors simply can’t afford to drop more points as they’re trailing leaders Porto, having five points less.
H2H: Braga vs Benfica
This is the third clash between both sides in the ongoing campaign. First, Benfica won 3-1 at its “Estádio da Luz” back in matchday one, but the second clash at the same venue (five weeks later) has ended with no winner – 1-1 draw in the League Cup. Thus Braga have ended Benfica’s winning streak against them, as “The Eagles” from Lisbon have had 8 consecutive victories over “The Archbishops” before that Cup game in September.
Meanwhile, Braga’s most recent victory when facing Benfica was another Cup game from December 2014 – 2-1 in Lisbon.
When it comes to a league win: Braga won 2-1 at home in October 2014, making a full comeback.
Primeira Liga: Braga vs Benfica 13.01.2018
Benfica head to Braga where hosts will be boosted by the two victories in their two 2018 fixtures so far, beating Boavista (3-1 on 3 January) away and Rio Ave (2-1) at home last weekend. They have shortened the gap to Benfica to three points only but that was pretty much influenced by the final outcome of “The Lisbon Derby“, where Benfica missed a fine opportunity to win, but had to be pleased with a point at the end, when Jonas scored a late equalizer.
Four days after the draw against Sporting, Benfica had a preceding journey to the Braga district where they have won 2-0 over Moreirense. Pizzi opened the score while Jonas has scored his 20th goal in 17 league games to form the final score. Now “Eagles” are set for another flight to Northern Portugal and everything different than the three points would be a disappointment for the Lisbon club.
Team News and Missing Players
Braga’s boss will be more than happy to welcome Raúl Silva back in the starting squad as the Brazilian defender has been suspended for the home match vs Rio Ave. Nevertheless, Lazar Rosic was available to deputize as a centre-back partner of Bruno Viana but Silva is expected to start again, while the Portuguese international Ricardo Ferreira will miss rest of the season.
Ricardo Esgaio returns from suspension and should operate through the right wing while Fabio Martins should push from the other side, especially if Ricardo Horta starts behind the striker.
Goalkeeper Marafona, both central midfielders Mauro and Fransergio, as well as Andre Horta are all sidelined from the match. First three are injured and Horta cannot play against his parent club.
Egyptian central forward Ahmed Hassan and Portuguese Paulinho both compete for the only position on top of Braga’s attack, since Abel Ferreira may once again prefer the 4-2-3-1 instead of 4-4-2.
Rui Vitoria will most likely stick within the 4-3-3 formation as the only possible rotation compared to last week’s victory over Moreirense will be in midfield, where Lubomir Fejsa is expected to replace Andreas Samaris.
Top goal scorer Jonas will lead Benfica’s attack, being supported by the Argentine duo Franco Cervi-Eduardo Salvio through both wings.
Braga vs Benfica Prediction and Betting Tips
Braga have won 10 of their last 12 (one draw, one loss) Primeira Liga matches and have eight wins in nine home games this season. It is safe to say Abel Ferreira’s men are in good form and their 2-2 draw away to Sporting should give them confidence here. Let us remind you that Sporting were losing until a stoppage time (95th min) equalizer by Bruno Fernandes, who scored a penalty kick.
Benfice, on the other hand, have been in good form since changing the structure of their midfield, but they are under huge pressure to win here with Braga breathing down their necks. Besides, Rui Vitoria’s men have dropped points away to every top-six club they have faced so far this season, which is a clear indicator they are struggling when they play on the road.
We believe there is a decent value to place a bet on the goal scoring markets here. Our betting prediction recommends: “Both teams to score – Yes“.
Odds on Both teams to score remain the same (1.85 in decimal or 17/20 fractional) so you can get a relatively good value on the suggested betting tip.
Possible Lineups of Braga and Benfica
Venue: “Estádio Municipal de Braga”, Braga.
Referee: Artur Soares Dias.
SC Braga: Matheus – Jefferson, Raúl Silva, Bruno Viana, Marcelo Goiano – Nikola Vukcevic, Danilo – Ricardo Esgaio, Ricardo Horta, Fabio Martins – Ahmed Hassan. (4-2-3-1)
SL Benfica: Bruno Varela – Andre Almeida, Ruben Dias, Jardel, Alejandro Grimaldo – Pizzi, Lubomir Fejsa, Filip Krovinovic – Eduardo Salvio, Jonas, Franco Cervi. (4-3-3)