MX23RW : Monday, October 25 17:33:19| >> :600:118514:118514:
Sep 30, 2021 at 8pm UK at Estádio Municipal de Braga
MidtjyllandFC Midtjylland
Galeno (55' pen., 90+5'), Horta (62')
Leite (18'), Sa (24'), Oliveira (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Evander (19' pen.)
Sviatchenko (27'), Henriksen (32'), Rafn Olafsson (33'), Juninho (55'), Evander (80')
Juninho (84')

Preview: Braga vs. FC Midtjylland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Braga and FC Midtjylland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After both failing to win their opening game, Braga and FC Midtjylland will square off on Thursday in the second round of fixtures of the Europa League group stage.

The Portuguese side were narrowly beaten by Red Star Belgrade in the curtain-raiser, while their visitors played out a draw with Ludogorets Razgrad, and both will be keen to secure a first three-point haul.

Match preview

Braga coach Carlos Carvalhal in February 2021© Reuters

After a relatively impressive Primeira Liga campaign last term, eventually finishing in fourth spot, Braga earned automatic qualification into this year's Europa League group stage, but began with a disappointing result.

Carlos Carvalhal's side faced the tough task of a trip to Serbia to take on Red Star Belgrade, and the game remained goalless for 75 minutes.

Milan Rodic then put the hosts ahead, but Galeno immediately drew Braga level, before Aleksandar Katai converted a late penalty to seal all three points condemn Carvalhal's side to a narrow loss.

Os Arcebispos bounced back from that with a 3-1 league win over Tondela, with all four goals in the game coming in the final 10 minutes, but were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by strugglers Santa Clara last time out, as their opponents snatched a point in the 95th minute.

Following that underwhelming result and with little room for error in the group stage, the Portuguese side will look to bounce back and put their first points on the board as they aim to reach the knockout stage of this year's competition.

FC Midtjylland's Raphael Onyedika celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on July 28, 2021© Reuters

They take on a Midtjylland side who find themselves in the group after dropping out of Champions League qualification.

After finishing second in the Danish Superliga last season, the Ulvene earned entry into the second qualifying round for Europe's elite competition, and a 3-2 aggregate win over Scottish giants Celtic saw them progress, only to be dumped out by PSV Eindhoven after a 4-0 defeat over two legs.

That defeat meant they dropped straight into the Europa League group stage, and they began with a home clash against Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad, with the game finishing 1-1 after Gustav Isaksen's third-minute opener was cancelled out by a Kiril Despodov equaliser for the visitors.

In their search for a first win of the Europa League campaign, Bo Henriksen's side will look to channel their league form, as they currently sit at the summit of the Danish top flight with 24 points from the first 10 games of the campaign.

Braga Europa League form:
  • L

Braga form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D

FC Midtjylland Europa League form:
  • D

FC Midtjylland form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Braga's Lucas Piazon celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in May 2021© Reuters

Braga are missing several players down the spine of the squad, with centre-back David Carmo, midfielder Andre Castro and forward Abel Ruiz all sidelined through injuries.

With their attack continuing to struggle for consistency, young winger Iuri Medeiros should be trusted going forward, after recently returning from injury in style with three goals in five games.

Mario Gonzalez should lead the line, with Ricardo Horta operating on the other flank.

Midtjylland's only absentee should be first-choice goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, who is a major doubt for Thursday's game, with Elias Rafn Olafsson set to continue deputising between the sticks.

However, defender Erik Sviatchenko was withdrawn prematurely in their most recent league outing, and will need an assessment to deem whether he is fit to feature.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Oliveira, Leite; Fabiano, Mineiro, Musrati, Galeno; Horta, Gonzalez, Medeiros

FC Midtjylland possible starting lineup:
Olafsson; Dalsgaard, Sviatchenko, Juninho; Andersson, Onyedika, Evander, Paulinho; Isaksen, Sisto, Brumado

SM words green background

We say: Braga 2-1 FC Midtjylland

With the benefit of home advantage, Braga will be keen to put their first victory of the group on the board, and we see them scraping past the visitors.

While they have tended to struggle going forward at points, the Archbishops do have enough to pull off a victory in front of a home crowd.

Top tip

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Kristoffer Ajer in action for Celtic on September 19, 2019
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