MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 16:31:40| >> :600:156991:156991:
Feb 21, 2021 at 6pm UK at Estadio Municipal
BragaBraga
4-2
TondelaTondela
Piazon (18', 50'), Horta (40'), Novais (42')
FT(HT: 3-0)
Anne (84'), Jaquite (90+4')
Martinez (22'), Arcanjo (72')

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

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

Braga welcome Tondela to the Braga Municipal Stadium on Sunday, in an important game at both ends of the Primeira Liga table.

Despite a 2-0 loss to Roma in the Europa League last time out, Braga will be looking to continue a good run of league form, having won four of their last five, while the visitors will be on the hunt for another win which would see them move further away from the relegation zone.


Match preview

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

Braga suffered a defeat last time out when they fell to a 2-0 loss at home to Roma in the first leg of their Europa League round-of-32 tie.

Edin Dzeko put the Italian side ahead after just five minutes, and after Ricardo Esgaio was shown a red card in the second half for Braga, Borja Mayoral doubled Roma's lead late on, taking a two-goal advantage into the second leg.

That loss broke a seven-game unbeaten run for Carlos Carvalhal's side, including four league wins.

As a result of their good form, the Archbishops now sit third in the Primeira Liga, two points ahead of fourth-placed Benfica.

Meanwhile, Carvalhal's men sit just one point behind second-placed Porto, and with the defending champions not playing until Monday, Braga will move up to second with a win here.

Most recently in league action, Os Arcebispos defeated eighth-placed Santa Clara 1-0 away from home, with defender Cristian Borja netting the only goal of the game to seal their 13th league win of the Primeira Liga campaign, just five fewer than they managed in the entirety of last season.

That extended their league unbeaten run to five matches, having won four and drawn the other with Porto, and Carvalhal will be looking to continue that good run with another win on Sunday.

However, his side take on Tondela, who have begun to show positive signs recently, having won two of their last four league matches.

Pako Ayestaran, now in charge of Tondela, pictured in 2016© Reuters

Last time out, the visitors recorded a crucial 2-1 win at home to Maritimo.

Jhon Murillo gave CDT Auriverdes the lead, but Diederrick Joel Tagueu equalised for the away side on the stroke of half time, before Mario Gonzalez renewed Tondela's one-goal lead early in the second half, securing their sixth league win of the season.

That followed two consecutive losses for Pako Ayestaran's side, but they were only narrowly beaten by top-half opposition in Pacos de Ferreira and Rio Ave, showing that they are generally on the up, having beaten Farense 2-0 before those losses.

CDT Auriverdes now sit in 11th spot in the Primeira Liga, five points clear of Gil Vicente in the relegation playoff place, and six points clear of the automatic drop zone.

Thanks to two recent wins, Ayestaran's side have put some distance between themselves and the bottom three for the first time this season, and another result at the Braga Municipal Stadium could see that gap grow even wider.

However, that will be no easy task, as they take on one of the league's form teams in Braga.

Braga Primeira Liga form: LWWWDW
Braga form (all competitions): WWDDWL

Tondela Primeira Liga form: WLWLLW


Team News

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

Despite being shown a red card on Thursday, Ricardo Esgaio will be eligible to play in this game, as his suspension will apply to the second leg of that tie.

However, Carvalhal does still have several injury worries to deal with, including centre-back David Carmo, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

He is joined by experienced midfielder Andre Castro, as well as young winger Iuri Medeiros and left-back Francisco Moura, who all remain out with injuries.

Andraz Sporar could have to battle to keep his place in the starting team for this game, having failed to score in the four matches since his loan arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January, in the deal which saw Paulinho move permanently to the capital.

Twenty-year-old goalkeeper Joel Sousa remains out of contention for Tondela, having tested positive for COVID-19.

He should be Ayestaran's only absentee though, with the Spanish manager expected to stick with a similar team to the side that beat Maritimo last time out.

That could include Pedro Trigueira keeping his place in goal, after he was chosen over Babacar Niasse for the Maritimo game.

Meanwhile, both scorers from last game should feature again here, with Jhon Murillo and Mario Gonzalez expected to lead the attack.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Silva, Borja; Esgaio, Elmusrati, Gaitan, Galeno; Piazon, Sporar, Fransergio

Tondela possible starting lineup:
Trigueira; Bebeto, Medioub, Suarez, Ferreira; Pedro, Grau, Augusto; Agra, Gonzalez, Murillo


SM words green background

We say: Braga 2-1 Tondela

Despite Tondela looking slightly rejuvenated recently, we expect Carvalhal's side to extend their good run of league form with a narrow win in this game.

We see this being a fairly open match, with both sides possessing plenty of attacking quality, and expect Braga to edge it by a single goal.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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.Home Win:data


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David Carmo pictured in December 2020
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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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