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Champions League | Group Stage
Dec 12, 2023 at 8pm UK
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Braga
Napoli
2 - 0
Braga
Saatci (9' og.), Osimhen (33')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Banza (19'), Mendes (83')

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

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Napoli and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Napoli will be looking to secure their spot in the last-16 stage of the Champions League when they welcome Portuguese outfit Braga to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Tuesday night.

The Italian champions are second in Group C, three points ahead of third-placed Braga, and the hosts would qualify for the next round of the competition with a win, a draw, or a one-goal defeat.


Match preview

Napoli's Giovanni Simeone celebrates scoring their first goal on November 29, 2023© Reuters

It would be fair to say that it has been a difficult few weeks for Napoli, who will enter this match off the back of three straight losses in all competitions, two of which were damaging defeats in Serie A.

The Blues recorded a 2-1 victory over Atalanta BC on November 25 in what was Walter Mazzarri's first match in charge since returning to the club as head coach, but three losses have followed, including a 4-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League at the end of last month.

Napoli have lost their last two in Serie A to Inter Milan and Juventus, meanwhile, with the results leaving them down in fifth position in the table, some 14 points behind the leaders Inter, and the reigning Italian champions are yet to secure their spot in the knockout round of the Champions League.

Gli Azzurri are second in the section behind Real Madrid, boasting seven points from five matches, three clear of third-placed Braga. As a result, a win, a draw or a one-goal defeat - due to the head-to-head record - would ensure that the Italian team are present in the round of 16.

Napoli are yet to win at home in the Champions League this season, losing to Real Madrid and drawing with Union Berlin, but they have never lost at home to Portuguese opposition, winning four and drawing two of their six previous matches, so history could be created on Tuesday night.

Braga's Alvaro Djalo celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on November 29, 2023© Reuters

Braga know the size of their task when it comes to finishing second in this group, needing to win by two or more goals in Italy, but a point would guarantee that they finish in third position, which would see them secure a spot in the Europa League knockout round playoffs.

Napoli were quarter-finalists last season, but both of Braga's previous Champions League campaigns have finished in the group stage, which occurred in 2010-11 and 2012-13.

Os Arcebispos have won three, drawn two and lost seven of their previous 12 matches with Italian clubs, including one win, one draw and four losses away from home, so it is a big ask in this game, but Braga will certainly enter the match in stronger form than their opponents.

Indeed, Artur Jorge's side have won their last two against Estoril and Vizela in the Primeira Liga, with the results leaving them fourth in the table on 29 points, only two points off the leaders Sporting Lisbon.

Braga suffered a 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in their last away match in the Champions League, but they did beat Union Berlin 3-2 in Germany at the start of October and have actually been victorious in three of their last four European fixtures on their travels.

Napoli Champions League form:


Napoli form (all competitions):


Braga Champions League form:


Braga form (all competitions):



Team News

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen on December 3, 2023© Reuters

Napoli will be without the services of Mathias Olivera and Mario Rui on Tuesday through injury, while Jens Cajuste injured his knee as a substitute against Juventus on Friday.

Victor Osimhen's recent return to fitness is a huge positive, with the Nigeria international starting the last two games, and he will lead the home side's attack amid speculation surrounding his future in Naples.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is another of the Italian side's most in-demand players, and he will feature in the final third of the field, with Matteo Politano also set to start.

Braga will be without the services of Sikou Niakate for this match through suspension, with the defender sent off in the 1-1 draw with Union Berlin in the competition last time out.

The visitors are in strong shape when it comes to injuries, though, with no problems being reported ahead of this contest, and there are not expected to be many major surprises when it comes to the XI.

Simon Banza and Alvaro Djalo have been in excellent scoring form this season, netting 13 and 12 respectively, and the pair will again feature in the final third of the field.

Ricardo Horta has nine goals in all competitions, meanwhile, and he will also feature for a Braga side that know that they need goals on Tuesday to stand a chance of finishing second in the group.


Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Natan; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Politano

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Gomez, Fonte, Saatci, Borja; Moutinho, Carvalho; Djalo, Zalazar, Horta; Banza


SM words green background

We say: Napoli 2-2 Braga

Napoli are a difficult team to back at the moment, even on home soil. It would be a shock to see Braga secure the result that they need in order to finish second, but we are expecting the visitors to claim a point, which would guarantee their spot in the Europa League knockout round playoffs.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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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Game History

How you voted: Napoli vs Braga

Napoli
64.6%
Draw
20.0%
Braga
15.4%
130
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Napoli's Victor Osimhen during the warm up before the match on August 27, 2023
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