MX23RW : Wednesday, September 22 12:12:32| >> :600:327363:327363:
Apr 29, 2021 at 8.30pm UK at Estadio dos Barreiros
Joel (76')
Andrade (24'), China (42'), Winck (71'), Guitane (78'), Correa (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Elmusrati (63'), Horta (90+4')

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

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

Braga travel to Madeira where they will face Maritimo in the Primeira Liga on Thursday evening, hoping for a win to boost their chances of securing a Champions League place.

Meanwhile, the hosts have increased their chances of survival after claiming 12 points from the last 21 available, winning three of their last four matches.

Match preview

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

Braga were unable to build on last Wednesday's 2-1 win over Boavista, as they narrowly lost 1-0 at home to league leaders Sporting Lisbon on Sunday.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men just 18 minutes into the match when Goncalo Inacio was shown his second yellow card, however the hosts were unable to take advantage with the extra man.

Braga dominated the game with 71% possession and 17 shots on goal, but it was Sporting who broke the deadlock in the 81st minute when Matheus Nunes rifled in from a tight angle, claiming all three points for his side and maintaining their unbeaten league record.

The Archbishops now sit five points behind Benfica, who currently occupy the final Champions League position, and with only five Primera Liga matches left to play, their chances of securing a top-three spot are seemingly slipping away.

However, Benfica are still to face Porto and Sporting in the coming weeks so Carlos Carvalhal will be hoping that the Eagles can drop points in those two clashes, potentially boosting Braga's chances of claiming a Champions League place for next season.

Braga have already beaten Maritimo this season, winning 2-1 on home soil in January, and another victory on Thursday would see them do the double against them for the first time in five years.

Braga head coach Carlos Carvalhal pictured in December 2020© Reuters

An impressive run of three wins from their last four matches has given Maritimo a massive boost in their quest to avoid relegation.

1-0 victories against Farense and Rio Ave earlier this month were followed by another win away at Boavista by the same scoreline on Sunday.

Ali Alipour scored the only goal of the game in the 63rd minute to seal all three points for Julio Velazquez's side, who now sit in 15th place and two points above the dropzone heading into the final five matches of the season.

Velazquez replaced Milton Mendes as head coach in March with the Verde-Rubros rooted to the foot of the Primera Liga table. Since then, the 39-year-old has managed to instil belief into his players, who have claimed four wins from seven games.

The last time Maritimo played in the second division of Portuguese football was back in the 1984-85 campaign. The task is not yet over for Velazquez, but their chances of survival are looking much better now and another win on Thursday could move them as high as 11th in the table.

Maritimo Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Braga Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Sporting Braga's Raul Silva pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Maritimo forward Rodrigo Pinho was not in the squad against Boavista after suffering another setback with his ankle injury.

The 29-year-old, who has scored nine times in the top flight this season, is unlikely to feature on Thursday, which could see Alipour and Rafik Guitane keep their places up front.

Velasquez may decide to name the same starting XI that won on Sunday, lining up with a flat 4-4-2 formation.

Braga are still without winger Iuri Medeiros as well as defenders David Carmo and Francisco Moura through injury, while midfielder Ali Musrati is doubtful after missing the last two matches.

Forward Andraz Sporar was ineligible for the game against his parent club Sporting last weekend, but is now available to feature on Thursday.

The 27-year-old is expected to start in the number nine role ahead of Abel Ruiz, Nicolas Gaitan and Lucas Piazon, who have all struggled for form in recent weeks.

Carvalhal could stick with a three-man defence of Vitor Tormena, Raul Silva and Nuno Sequeira, although Rolando will be hoping he can earn a place in the starting lineup ahead of one of them.

Maritimo possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Winck, Junior, Andrade, China; Costa, Santos, Pelagio, Tagueu; Guitane, Alipour

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Silva, Sequeira; Esgaio, Fransergio, Castro, Galeno; Horta, Gaitan; Sporar

SM words green background

We say: Maritimo 1-1 Braga

Securing all three points on Thursday is crucial for both Maritimo and Braga if they are to achieve their respective targets this season.

Neither side will want to lose this clash so a cagey encounter is expected, and with little to separate the two sides, a score draw could be on the cards at the Estadio dos Barreiros.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at 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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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
Read Next:
Wednesday's Primeira Liga predictions including Sporting Lisbon vs. Belenenses
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