MX23RW : Wednesday, April 14 16:03:50| >> :600:360838:360838:
Feb 28, 2021 at 8pm UK at Estadio da Madeira
Riascos (69')
Pedrao (59')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Fransergio (25'), Ruiz (29')

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

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

Braga will be aiming to move on from their midweek Europa League exit to Serie A outfit Roma when they travel to the Madeira Stadium to take on Nacional.

The hosts, who are 11th in the Primeira Liga table, come into this one on the back of back-to-back defeats to Farense and Belenenses, and they will look to end this dry spell on Sunday.

Match preview

Braga's Francisco Moura celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates in November 2020© Reuters

Newly-promoted Nacional have had a decent start to life in the Portuguese top flight, and while they have not performed above expectations, they have not been poor either.

As earlier stated, Vitor Vinha's men currently occupy 11th in the league following their first-placed finish in the Segunda Division last term.

They have done a great job of grabbing wins against the sides below them in the league table, with their five wins this campaign coming against Farense, Gil Vicente, Tondela, Famalicao and Boavista.

Nacional have also shown signs they can compete with the big guns, after holding both Pacos de Ferreira and Benfica to draws.

The Madeira side have struggled with consistency, and after a run of four straight defeats at the turn of the new year, they quickly bounced back and went on a four-game unbeaten run.

However, they come into Sunday's clash on the back of two straight losses, after falling to a 3-2 defeat against Farense and a 2-1 loss away to Belenenses last time out.

They now host Braga, who are coming off a disappointing Europa League exit, following a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Roma, but are unbeaten in six games in the league.

The visitors have picked up 14 wins from 20 matches, and are currently seated third in the Primeira Liga table with 43 points, one point below second-placed Porto.

While their last outing was a 3-1 defeat to Roma in Rome, their last league outing was a 4-2 home win against struggling Tondela.

Former Chelsea man Lucas Piazon hit a brace, with Ricardo Horta and Joao Novais also getting on the scoresheet as Carlos Carvalhal's men cruised to the win.

Braga come into the clash on the back of five straight wins against the hosts, while they are also unbeaten in the last 11 meetings, dating back to 2013.

Their last meeting ended in a 2-1 win for the Arcebispos, with Fransergio and Iuri Medeiros giving the visitors a two-goal advantage before Nuno Borges grabbed a consolation goal for Nacional in the 86th minute.

Nacional Primeira Liga form: DWDWLL

Braga Primeira Liga form: WWWDWW
Braga form (all competitions): DDWLWL

Team News

Braga's David Carmo in action against Benfica in the Primeira Liga on February 15, 2020© Reuters

With Brayan Riascos the only absentee for the hosts after picking up a muscle injury, Freire has the luxury of a near-fully-fit squad to choose from, and we expect a few changes to the starting XI from last time out.

Nuno Borges and Azouni are expected to return to the fold after serving a suspension last weekend, while in the absence of Riascos, Kenji Gorre, the team's second-highest scorer in the league, will once again lead the attack.

On the other hand, the visitors go into this fixture without several key players through injuries.

Portuguese midfielder Andre Castro is ruled out indefinitely with an unknown injury, while Francisco Moura (knee), David Carmo (ankle) and Iuri Medeiros (knee) are also all out of contention for Sunday.

A host of first team regulars were dropped in the midweek clash with Roma, including goalkeeper Matheus, Cristian Borja and Fransergio, and we expect the trio to return to the starting XI.

Nacional possible starting lineup:
Piscitelli; De Souza, Henrique, Correia, Vigario; Borges; Thill, Ramos, Camacho; Mendes, Rochez

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

SM words green background

We say: Nacional 1-4 Braga

With 43 points from 20 games, Braga have been impressive so far in the domestic league, and they take on a struggling Nacional side who are just three points above the drop zone. Carvalhal's men are also on a six-game unbeaten run, and we predict that they will grab all three points on Sunday with a handful of goals.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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