Primeira Liga 2022-23: SL Benfica vs SC Braga: Predicted lineup, injury news, head to-head, telecast
Will there be another twist in the tale as league leaders Benfica host Braga in what can be a title deciding match in the Primeira Liga?
Benfica have thrown the league wide open and given a glimmer of hope to FC Porto and SC Braga in what has turned out to be a fascinating campaign in the Portuguese 1st division. It all looked dead and buried as Benfica were cruising towards their 38th domestic title until FC Porto visited Estadio Da Luz and came back with a 2-1 victory. Now with just 4 games to go in the season, Roger Schmidt’s men will have to prove their mettle after a disappointing set of results recently.
A quarter final loss against Inter Milan saw them get eliminated from the UEFA Champions League by an aggregate score of 5-3 and a shocking loss against Chaves in the 94th minute by a solitary goal has certainly put a dent in their season. However, consecutive victories against relegation threatened Estoril Praia and Gil Vicente has them leading the title race as of now by 4 points with FC Porto and SC Braga breathing down their neck.
SC Braga on the other hand have suddenly jumped into the scene and claimed a stake in the title race. Five consecutive victories and a solid draw against FC Porto has brought them into the title race. With a massive away fixture awaiting them at Estadio Da Luz, SC Braga can sniff glory and can close the gap to Benfica by thee points with a victory.
SC Braga blew past a meek looking Portimonense side by 4-1 in their last run out in the Primeira. Having scored 12 times in total in the last five matches, Artur Jorge’s men can feel confident before their daunting trip to the league leaders.
Saturday, 06-05-2023, 07:30 PM (GMT)
Sunday, 07-05-2023, 01:00 AM (IST)
SL Benfica Form (All Competitions): W-W-D-L-L
SC Braga Form (All Competitions): W-D-W-W-W
Players to Watch Out
SL Benfica: Joao Mario
An attack-minded midfielder who is blessed with an impressive range of skills and exceptional vision. Joao Mario knows how to elude defenders and find open space, and possesses a calm demeanour one would not expect of such a player, rarely making a poor decision on the pitch. He has had an outstanding season with 23 goals and 12 assists overall across all competitions.
SC Braga: Ricardo Horta
In the Portuguese Primeira Liga season 2022/23, Ricardo Horta has played 25 matches. He has a total of 38 shots on target from a total of 58 shots and has scored 11 goals (9.24 xG). With the likes of Andre Horta, Bruma and Al-Musrati backing him up from midfield. he delivered the 4th goal against Portimonense and can be a menace for Schmidt’s defence.
Match Facts for SL Benfica vs SC Braga
The last time these two sides met in the league was back in December 2022 when Braga ran out victors by 3-0, which happens to be one of Benfica’s three losses throughout the domestic campaign.
SL Benfica have kept two consecutive clean sheets in their previous two matches after shipping in 5 goals against Inter in an aggregate in the UEFA Champions League, whereas Braga have been scoring for fun lately netting 66 goals throughout the campaign.
Injury and Team News
Benfica will have to bank on David Neres and the reliable Rafa Silva to provide them the goods up front with Goncalo Ramos being the probable striker ahead of Goncalo Guedes. Julian Draxler has gone through an ankle surgery and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Right back Alexander Bah also suffered a knee injury in the beginning of April and his return date is unknown. The midfield pairing of Florentino Luis and Nevez has caught the attention of many and both of these players will have a crucial role to play in this fixture.
SC Braga have no such injury concerns in their ranks and Artur Jorge hasn’t been fiddling around with his team too lately. Paulo Oliveira and Sikou Niakate have kept the defence intact with Cristian Borja nicely settling in for the injured Sequeira at the left back position. Bruma has been an influential figure down the left wing and his pace might be a problem for the aged legs of Nicolas Otamendi in the Benfica back line.
Matches – 31
SL Benfica– 19
Draws – 8
SC Braga– 4
SL Benfica Predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Vlachodimos; Aursnes, A. Silva, N. Otamendi, A. Grimaldo; J. Nevez, F. Luis; D. Neres, R. Silva, J. Mario; G. Ramos
SC Braga Predicted lineup (4-4-2):
Matheus; V. Gomez, P. Oliveira, S. Niakate, C. Borja; I. Medeiros, A. Horta, Al-Musrati, Bruma; R. Horta, A. Ruiz
We expect it to blast off right from the get go and this is going to be no short than a thriller. SL Benfica have looked nervy recently but three points in this game might prove consequential enough for them to win their 38th league title with relatively easier fixtures to come. SC Braga on the other hand will be giving it their all to throw the league wide open and we expect it to be a close encounter. A draw seems legitimate enough but we are just going to keep Benfica ahead given the history of both these clubs and the pedigree involved.
Prediction: SL Benfica 2-1 SC Braga.
India – No Telecast.
UK – BT Sport and Viaplay Sports.
USA – Fanatiz USA, GOLTV, fuboTV.
Nigeria – No telecast.
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