MX23RW : Sunday, September 26 07:36:16| >> :120:77843:77843:
Jan 7, 2021 at 9pm UK at Estadio Municipal
BragaBraga
2-1
MaritimoMaritimo
Medeiros (34'), Horta (67')
Horta (29'), Fransergio (52'), Elmusrati (70')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Milson (77')
Rene (16'), Morais (50'), Junior (79'), Jean (88')

Preview: Braga vs. Maritimo - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Primeira Liga clash between Braga and Maritimo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Braga head into Thursday's encounter with Maritimo looking to bounce back from their defeat to Primeira Liga leaders Sporting Lisbon at the weekend.

As for the visitors, a three-match unbeaten streak has moved them into seventh position, still 10 points adrift of their fourth-placed hosts.


Match preview

Carlos Carvalhal, now in charge of Sporting Braga, pictured in June 2020© Reuters

While Braga are generally regarded as the best of the rest outside of the top three, Carlos Carvalhal's side had the opportunity to move themselves into title contention when making the trip to Sporting.

The visitors held their own during the opening 45 minutes, but two second-half goals condemned Braga to a fourth defeat in 12 games.

Losing a third of their fixtures will prevent Os Arcebispos from making any bid for the Champions League places, and it leaves Carvalhal to contemplate tinkering with his squad during January.

With the next fixture against top-three opposition not coming until February 7, the Portuguese will be focused on avoiding any more slip-ups over the coming weeks.

Nevertheless, that may be easier said than done for Braga as they prepare for a meeting with opponents who have recorded seven points from three matches.

Maritimo have spent much of the campaign towards the bottom end of the table, but they now sit five points adrift of the top six.

Despite being held to a goalless draw by Boavista last time out, the victories over Belenenses and Rio Ave have given Milton Mendes every chance of landing the role as first-team manager on a permanent basis.

Defeat to Braga ahead of a cup match against Sporting has the potential to derail Maritimo's recent progress, but they will hold no fear ahead of their next two outings.

Since Mendes's promotion from the Under-23s, each of Maritimo's seven goals in all competitions has come after the 50th minute, an indication that the squad's fitness levels have improved in recent weeks.

Braga Primeira Liga form: WWLWWL
Braga form (all competitions): WWWWWL

Maritimo Primeira Liga form: LLLWWD
Maritimo form (all competitions): LLWWWD


Team News

Braga's Paulinho celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Europa League on November 26, 2020© Reuters

Despite the disappointment of the Braga setback, Carvalhal may opt against making any alterations to his team.

Iuri Medeiros will be in contention for a recall if Carvalhal opts to add a creative player to his starting lineup.

Like his opposite number, Maritimo boss Mendes could be prepared to keep faith with the side which featured in their last match.

Having scored 11 times between them this season, Rodrigo Pinho and Joel are expected to keep their roles in attack.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Rolando, Silva, Sequeira; Esgaio, Musrati, Novais, Galeno; R.Horta, Fransergio; Paulinho

Maritimo possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Rene, Junior, Andrade; Winck, Bambock, Jean, Hermes; Guitane; Pinho, Joel


SM words green background

We say: Braga 2-1 Maritimo

Given the contrasting trajectories of the two clubs, this could turn out to be an intriguing tussle. Nevertheless, Braga possess the greater quality in creative areas, and that could prove to be the difference during the final stages of the contest.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Braga's Paulinho celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Europa League on November 26, 2020
Read Next:
Monday's Primeira Liga predictions including Boavista vs. Braga
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Benfica77001941521
2Porto75201641217
3Sporting Lisbon7520113817
4Estoril PraiaEstoril641194513
5Braga632195411
6PortimonensePortimonense631274310
7BoavistaBoavista62228808
8Gil Vicente72238808
9Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira622257-28
10Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes71427617
11Maritimo713369-36
12TondelaTondela72051014-46
13MoreirenseMoreirense71331016-66
14Vizela6132612-66
15AroucaArouca7124714-75
16Santa ClaraSanta Clara6114414-104
17FamalicaoFamalicao7034712-53
18BelenensesBelenenses603338-53

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