Live Commentary: Braga 1-3 Manchester United - as it happened

Braga's Alan scores
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the Champions League Group H clash between Braga and Manchester United in Portugal.

Manchester United travelled to Braga on Wednesday knowing that a point would secure their spot in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Alan handed Braga the lead from the penalty spot in the early stages of the second period, but three late goals from Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez secured the three points for United.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary below.


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6.45pmEvening all! United could become the first British side to secure qualification for the knockout stages this evening, but Braga still harbour hopes of emerging from the group and have impressed thus far.

6.48pmAs mentioned, the pair met in their last group clash two weeks ago. Eder and Alan handed the away side a 2-0 lead, but United rallied to secure the points against the Portuguese outfit. But Braga will have home advantage this time around. Just a reminder that the team news is expected shortly.

6.51pmMeanwhile, Braga have won their last four home encounters against English opposition, but United are unbeaten in their last four matches in Portugal. With that record, something has to give right? The facts point to a tight affair this evening.

6.54pmBraga began their European campaign with a 2-0 defeat at home to Cluj, but they responded impressively with a 2-0 away win against Galatasaray before suffering defeat to United in their last encounter.

6.57pmMeanwhile, United began with a 1-0 win over Galatasaray, before winning away at Cluj and at home to Braga in their last European clash. As it stands, the group is still very much open, but United will book their spot in the next round with a draw. Allowing Sir Alex Ferguson to utilise his squad in the remaining two games.

7pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: Chris Smalling returns to the United team this evening. Meanwhile, Javier Hernandez is also given a starting role in attack.

7.03pmTeams:

Braga: To follow.

United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney; Welbeck, Hernandez


7.06pmSo there we have it. Ashley Young, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie drop to the bench for United. However, Wayne Rooney will start in midfield. The Braga team news is just filtering through.

7.09pmThe omens are good for United this evening. They have scored in 19 of their last 20 European matches and in Van Persie they have a striker who has scored five goals in his last six games in the competition. Meanwhile, the Dutchman?s partnership with Wayne Rooney has impressed in the early stages of the season. Albeit, the pair do not start together this evening.

7.12pmIn terms of both teams domestic form. Braga currently occupy third spot in the Portuguese league and they have lost just one match all season. Meanwhile, United top the Premier League with eight wins from their opening 10 matches of the season.

7.15pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS: As expected Braga name Eder and Alan in their starting side this evening. Meanwhile, Hugo Viana also starts. Full teams to follow.

7.15pmTeams:

Braga: Beto; Salino, Coelho, Douglao, Elderson; Alan, Custodio, Micael, Viana, Amorim; Eder

United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Evans, Evra; Nani, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney; Welbeck, Hernandez


7.18pmAs was the case in the last clash between the two teams, Eder will be the threat to United this evening. He has scored six goals this season and it has been suggested in some quarters that his performance at Old Trafford alerted United with a possible transfer in the offing. Meanwhile, Alan will probe behind the powerful striker this evening.

7.21pmBraga also have a European pedigree of their own with their current position at number 28. They made it to the final of the Europa League in 2011, but were beaten by compatriots Porto in a pulsating encounter. Meanwhile, their boss Jose Peseiro became a firm favourite with the club's fans after securing Champions League qualification during his first term as boss, recording a penalty shootout play-off win over Udinese at the beginning of the season.

7.24pmHe famously took Portuguese outfit CD Nacional from the third division to the top flight in three seasons and has emerged into one of the most talented managers in world football. The 41-year-old, who came from the same coaching school as Jose Mourinho, is seemingly destined for big things, but for now his loyalties lie with Braga.

7.27pmUnited enter the match this evening having won four of their last five matches in all competitions. Saturday saw them record a 2-1 win over Arsenal but it was their performance, rather than the result that would have impressed most. It seems to be just starting to come together for United which is bad news for their rivals.

7.30pmUnited have also lost just one of their last 16 Champions League group stage away games, winning 11 of those encounters. Meanwhile, as mentioned, they are unbeaten in their last four visits to Portugal, winning three 1-0 and drawing the other 1-1.

7.33pmUnited have also scored more headed goals (three) than any other team in the Champions League this season. Avid followers of United will admit that has not been their strong point in previous seasons, but the goals have started to come from set pieces this season.

7.36pmMeanwhile, Braga have suffered just one defeat - to United - in their last five games in all competitions and they recorded a 3-1 win over Gil Vicente at the weekend. United enter the match as favourites, but Braga are a solid European outfit make no mistake about that.

7.39pmRight. We are little over five minutes from the start of play. I am backing a 2-1 win for United this evening. It is going to be tight, but Ferguson has named a strong team.

7.42pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch on this mild evening in Portugal. Braga need to pick up all three points this evening and they showed they can play against United two weeks ago.

7.44pmHandshakes? Check. Flags exchanged? Check. Wonderful stadium surrounded by a quarry? Check! Let's get this night of Champions League football underway.

1 minHere we go then. Braga kick us off. Stay with us for the remainder of the evening. Can United secure their spot in the latter stages?

3 minMagical piece of ability from Wayne Rooney inside the opening three minutes as he picks up possession before firing a 50 yard pass to Nani. However, the winger loses danger. Rooney is starting in midfield once more this evening.

5 minUnited have made a decent start to proceedings with a period of possession. However, Braga have launched a couple of attacks in the past few moments.

7 minRooney picks up possession once more and attempts to find the run of Nani, but the winger is ruled offside. Both teams are threatening inside the opening seven minutes as Eder fires across goal for Braga.

9 minUnited continue to pick passes in midfield and Anderson searches out the run of Hernandez, but Douglao clears the danger. Meanwhile, Ruben Amorim looks lively for Braga thus far.

9 minHalf-chance for United as Nani whips a searching ball into the penalty area, but Uwa Echiejile just beats Javier Hernandez to the ball and the danger is cleared.

11 minUnited continue to dominate possession with Rooney impressing in his deeper role. Meanwhile, Anderson and Ryan Giggs have also seen plenty of the ball thus far. The match has just settled after a lively opening.

13 minHalf-chance for the home side this time as Eder muscles Giggs off the ball outside the box, but Ruben Micael's effort is over the crossbar. Really open match with 13 minutes on the clock.

15 minTypical away performance from United at the moment. They are keeping possession and breaking when appropriate. However, Douglao and Leandro Salino have defended well for Braga thus far.

17 minAnother half-chance for United as Nani finds Evra on the left. The Frenchman whips a high cross into the box, but Beto gathers. Meanwhile, Nani attempts a through ball to Welbeck, but it would not fall for the striker.

18 minHalf-chance for the home side this time as Micael picks up possession just outside the box, but his effort is over the crossbar when he might have done better. The match is just starting to open up.

20 minIt's nice football from the home side as Viana and Alan combine around the United box. However, the final ball to Eder sees the striker ruled offside. Meanwhile, Smalling appears to have a problem here.

22 minAgain Braga come close as Micael fires a cross towards Alan, but the midfielder can only volley over the crossbar. Meanwhile, Smalling returns to the action. Still such an even contest.

24 minCHANCE! Braga come close to taking the lead as Custodio fires a low cross towards Eder, but the striker can only head against the post. Best opportunity of the match and now Braga look the most likely.

26 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Viana strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. United just need to settle with possession in the next few minutes.

28 minUnited have indeed started to enjoy more of the possession in the last few minutes. But they are yet to really test Beto. As it stands, United would top the group and secure qualification.

30 minGood football from United as Nani and Valencia combine down the right and force a corner. However, the ball is worked short and Evans heads straight at Beto.

32 minCHANCE: Braga continue to look the most likely as Alan finds Eder in the box, but the striker fires his effort straight at De Gea. The home side are getting some joy down the United right at the moment.

34 minUnited continue to pass and probe in the Braga half, but their final ball is just eluding them. We have seen relatively little from Danny Welbeck and Hernandez thus far.

36 minUnited are playing like the home side as they dominate possession, but Braga are such a danger on the break with Alan and Eder. Relatively little happening at the moment.

38 minIt's good football from United as Giggs finds Nani outside the box. The Portuguese slips in Anderson, but Custodio clears the danger. The chances have dried up for both sides.

40 minUnited continue to force the issue as Anderson searches out the run of Valencia, but Beto is there to quell the danger. Little over five minutes of the half remaining and we are still goalless.

42 minWe will bring you the possession statistics at the interval but United have certainly dominated the ball here. However, they have never really threatened to open the scoring.

44 minAgain it's good football from United with Anderson, Nani and Valencia all involved. But the final ball is poor and Beto collects the danger. It has been that type of match thus far.

HALF-TIMEBraga 0-0 Manchester United

8.30pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the half to an end with no injury time added. No goals in the opening period, with an Eder header for Braga the closest we came to an opener.

8.34pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the opening half of football. United dominated possession with 62% of the ball, but they have managed just one shot off target. Meanwhile, Braga have registered seven attempts.

8.38pmWe have not seen anything from Welbeck and Hernandez for United thus far. However, Eder and Alan have looked lively for Braga. It was not the best of 45 minutes, but as it stands United will secure qualification and top the group. Just what the doctor ordered.

8.42pmIn terms of the second period. I would be surprised if United made a change at the interval. Van Persie could be introduced in the latter stages, but the victory is not all-important. Meanwhile, a point for Braga as it stands would move them into second.

8.45pmRight. Both sets of players emerge from the tunnel and join us ahead of kickoff. I'm not expecting a glut of goals. It appears to be one of those matches where one goal wins it.

46 minHere we go then. United kick us off in the second period. Can United secure qualification? Or will Braga upset the party? Stay with us for the remainder of the action.

48 minDecent start to the second half from Braga as Alan and Viana combine in midfield, but the latter cannot find the run of Salino. Meanwhile, the rain is really falling in Portugal now.

48 minPENALTY TO BRAGA: The referee hands Braga a penalty as Custodio bumps into Evans inside the box. It was harsh. Alan to take.

49 minGOAL! Braga 1-0 Manchester United (Alan)

50 minBraga take the lead as Alan finds the top corner from the penalty spot. Can United respond?

52 minThe home side had made a better start to the second half, but it was a harsh decision. Now we will see what United are made of. Rio Ferdinand and Van Persie are warming up for the visitors.

54 minHalf-chance for United to respond as Nani strikes an effort from outside the box, but Douglao blocks the danger for a corner - which Beto punches clear of the danger zone.

56 minUnited continue to struggle to create chances as another attack breaks down. Meanwhile, Eder remains a real threat to the away side's defence.

56 minUnited again come close as Valencia finds Welbeck in the penalty area, but the referee blows for handball. Braga are ever so deep at the moment.

58 minTHE POWER HAS GONE FROM THE STADIUM: What happens now? The lights and the power have gone and the players are in darkness.

9pmIncredible scenes here. The players are leaving the pitch. The fourth official has said that there will be a minimum of a 10 minute break before the power can be restored.

9.03pmCould this play into Ferguson's hands? United have been poor all evening and it will give them a chance to regroup and come again. Stay with us and we will keep you updated with the latest events.

9.05pmLet's have a look around Europe. Chelsea are currently level at 2-2 with Shakhtar Donetsk. Meanwhile, Celtic still incredibly lead Barcelona 1-0 in Scotland.

9.08pmWe should find out in the next two minutes or so whether the action can resume. It was a very surreal experience watching the players in the dark. Hopefully we can get this one back underway as soon as possible. It is understood that a generator failed.

9.10pmThe rain continues to fall in Portugal. Does this remind anyone of the England clash in Poland? Football these days! Did Ferguson leave the hairdryer on?

9.12pmTHE LIGHTS ARE BACK ON.

58 minHere we go then. The play resumes and Rio Ferdinand has come on to replace Evans. What a strange turn of events. We have little over 30 minutes of football to play.

60 minUnited continue to huff and puff as Braga demonstrate their ability on the ball. Something needs to change here or the away side are heading for their first defeat of the tournament this season.

62 minBraga continue to force the issue with Alan and Eder combining to good effect. The break in play has done nothing to change the flow of the match. Will we see Van Persie in the coming minutes?

64 minJust as I say that Van Persie appears to be ready to come on. Meanwhile, Eder tests De Gea once more, but the danger is cleared. Is someone going to wake the away side up here?

65 minHere comes the change for United as Van Persie replaces Welbeck. Can the Dutchman perform once more for United this season? It would take a brave man to bet against it.

67 minUnited are beginning to take control of the possession. But still chances continue to elude them. Braga are comfortable dealing with the threat as it stands.

69 minUnited continue to play like the home side as they dominate possession. Meanwhile, Braga are such a threat on the counter. It is really uncomfortable for United at the moment.

71 minFerguson's side continue to look the brighter in advanced positions, but they are still to test Beto with a meaningful effort. Little under 20 minutes of normal time remaining.

73 minChange for United as Nani is replaced by Rafael. Valencia will move to right midfield with the Brazilian taking his usual role in defence.

75 minUnited really are living dangerously here as they leave huge gaps in defence. Meanwhile, they continue to receive no joy in forward positions as Beto collects a Valencia cross.

77 minIt's better from United as Rooney wins a corner from Custodio with a rasping effort. However, the danger is cleared by Beto. The pressure is starting to build from the away side.

79 minHalf-chance for United as Rafael digs out a cross to the far post, but Douglao wins the header. Meanwhile, Braga attack down the other end, but Anderson clears it for a throw. End-to-end football at the moment.

80 minGOAL! Braga 1-1 Manchester United (Van Persie)

81 minUnited level and it's Robin van Persie - who else - who curls an effort past Beto. Who wants it now?

81 minIt was a bit of a horror show from the Braga goalkeeper as he came to collect and got nowhere near it. What a goal that could turn out to be. But we still have 10 minutes of football remaining.

83 minUnited look the most likely as we approach the final five minutes of the match. But a point will do for Ferguson's side.

84 minPENALTY TO UNITED: United are awarded a penalty as Rooney is felled in the box. It appears that the fourth official gave the decision.

85 minGOAL! Braga 1-2 Manchester United (Rooney)

85 minUnited do indeed take the lead as Rooney scores from the spot. What a turnaround.

86 minWhat a match this has been. You just felt that United would score again after levelling the score at 1-1. Change for Braga as Hugo Viana is replaced by Mossoro.

88 minLittle under two minutes of normal time playing and United are on the attack. There is still a bit of work to do this evening. But they are heading for the latter stages.

90 minThe fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of time. Meanwhile, change for Braga as Elderson is replaced by Ze Luis.

90 min+2United knock the ball around with little over one minute of normal time remaining. They are heading for the knockout stages with a perfect record of four wins from four matches.

90 min+2GOAL! Braga 1-3 Manchester United (Hernandez)

90 min+2United have their third as Hernandez taps home from close range at the third time of asking. What a strange goal. Not that the Mexican will mind.

FULL-TIMEBraga 1-3 Manchester United

9.48pmUnited secure their spot in the knockout stages of the competition with a 3-1 win over Braga. So there we have it, thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and join us for Europa League football tomorrow. Until then!

Javier Hernandez scores for United
Read Next:
Match Analysis: Manchester United 3-2 Braga
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