Wednesday 9 Aug

Benfica vs Braga - Match preview

07 Aug 2017 Ed Mackey PORTUGAL: Primeira Liga
PORTUGAL: Primeira Liga

Benfica Lisbon

  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

vs

Kick-off
20:00 GMT
09 August 2017

Sporting Braga

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Kick-off
20:00 GMT 09 August 2017

Only four teams have played their first games in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season and the other 14 sides are yet to play their first game of the 2017/18 season. As Braga make the trip to the Portuguese champions, Benfica, the two teams who qualified for European football last term get off the mark in the league. The hosts won the title by six points last season while the visitors came 5th and secured a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

STATS

  • Benfica had a great season last time out as they completed the domestic double with the league title and the Taça de Portugal trophy, which they won in their final game of the season. The narrowly beat Vitória SC 2-1 in the final. They won four of their last five games and stayed unbeaten for their last 12 games with their last loss coming in the Champions League at the hands of Borussia Dortmund.
  • Braga’s form massively deteriorated towards the end of last season but with Europa League qualification, it didn’t turn out to be a major crisis. They won just one of their last five league games and lost each of the other four. However, they have started this season strongly with a win in the third round qualifying for the Europa League which takes them into the play-off round to book a place in the groups.
  • Former Fulham striker, Kostas Mitroglou was Benfica’s leading goal scorer in the league last season as he hit the back of the net 16 times. His tally was only beaten by two players.
  • Rui Fonte had a great season for Braga last term and he ended it as their top goal scorer with 11 league goals. The ex-Benfica forward will be desperate to get off the mark in the first game.

HEAD TO HEAD

The recent fixtures between Braga and Benfica have been quite even as both sides are considered two of the biggest sides in Portugal. In the last 10 meetings between the two, both teams have won four with two draws making up the ten. The game has been decided by one goal in three of those games and in only one game have both teams scored.

BENFICA NEWS

A win for Benfica would start their season off nicely and a big win would be even nicer. However, their main talisman is a doubt for the clash as he picked up a muscular injury during pre-season. They will struggle to fill the void made by the Greek striker and if he is injured, it will be a huge disadvantage to the champions.

Latest matches: Benfica Lisbon

05.08.2017 Supe Benfica Lisbon Vitoria Guimaraes 3:1 W
30.07.2017 Emir RB Leipzig Benfica Lisbon 2:0 L
29.07.2017 Emir Arsenal FC Benfica Lisbon 5:2 L
22.07.2017 Club Benfica Lisbon Hull City 0:1 L
20.07.2017 Club Benfica Lisbon Betis Sevilla 2:1 W

BRAGA NEWS

An away win against the title favourites would be fantastic for Braga and would make their tough start feel a lot easier. But they have four players out through injury: Mauro, Marafona, Tiago Pereira and Dyego Sousa and these holes could be hard to patch especially in the number one position. These injuries mean they have a severely reduced chance of victory.

Latest matches: Sporting Braga

03.08.2017 UEFA Sporting Braga AIK 2:1 W
27.07.2017 UEFA AIK Sporting Braga 1:1 D
14.07.2017 Club CS Maritimo Madeira Sporting Braga 1:2 W
08.07.2017 Club Sporting Braga CD das Aves 3:0 W
08.07.2017 Club FC Penafiel Sporting Braga 1:2 W

SUMMARY

There is no doubt that, with the home crowd behind them and with the visitors’ number of crucial injuries, Benfica are big favourites to pick up the three points in the best of the match week one fixtures in Portugal. They will also be hopeful of a clean sheet and that is a real possibility with their strong defence. Braga will struggle and could be comfortably beaten.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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