MX23RW : Sunday, September 26 00:47:57| >> :120:53344:53344:
Feb 14, 2021 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio de Sao Miguel
Santa ClaraSanta Clara
0-1
BragaBraga

Carlos (75'), Ramos (83'), Patric (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Borja (11')
Silva (62'), Sequeira (90+2')

Preview: Santa Clara vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Santa Clara will host Braga in the Primeira Liga on Sunday looking to extend their unbeaten league run to five matches.

Meanwhile, Braga have lost three of their last four away matches in all competitions and were defeated in both of their previous two league encounters against the hosts.


Match preview

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

Braga drew their second match with Porto in three days after their 2-2 draw in the Primeira Liga last weekend was followed by their Taca de Portugal semi-final first leg, which finished 1-1 on Wednesday.

Their midweek cup match, however, was overshadowed as Braga's star central defender David Carmo suffered a nasty ankle injury, which saw Luis Diaz sent off as a result.

An ambulance was brought on to the pitch for Carmo but as the vehicle attempted to drive away, it broke down with the players eventually forced to push it off the field.

After a 12-minute delay, the game resumed with Fransergio scoring in the dying moments to cancel out Mehdi Taremi's earlier strike and so both teams head into the second leg all square.

Since their narrow defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the Taca da Liga final last month, Braga have bounced back, winning four of their last six matches in all competitions and scoring 12 goals in the process.

Carlos Carvalhal's side, who have failed to win any of their previous four visits to Santa Clara, could move three points clear of Benfica in fourth with a win on Sunday.

Daniel Ramos, now in charge of Santa Clara, pictured as Boavista boss in June 2020© Reuters

Santa Clara, meanwhile, came from behind to secure their fifth away victory of the season on Monday evening as they won 2-1 at Maritimo.

Two goals in four minutes from Crysan and Carlos Junior turned the game on its head, handing the visitors all three points and moving them up to seventh in the Primeira Liga.

Despite losing just one of their last seven league games, Daniel Ramos's side remain 10 points behind the top five, with plenty of work still to be done if they wish to qualify for Europe next season.

Santa Clara head into their clash with Braga having won their earlier top-flight meeting against them this campaign, claiming a surprise 1-0 away victory in September.

Securing another three points on Sunday could see them move seven points behind Pacos de Ferreira in fifth, who they face on home soil in two weeks.

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form: DLWWDW
Santa Clara form (all competitions): LWLWDW

Braga Primeira Liga form: WLWWWD
Braga form (all competitions): WWWWDD


Team News

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

Santa Clara will be without centre-back Cristian Gonzalez and defensive midfielder Julio Romao, who are both ruled out through injury, while playmaker Costinha, who last featured against Braga in January, remains a doubt for this weekend.

Carlos Junior, who starred in the victory at Maritimo, could move back to the left-wing with Ukra likely to come into the starting lineup to play on the right flank.

Braga's Carmo joins Rui Fonte, Francisco Moura and Iuri Medeiros on the treatment table, with the trio all suffering with knee injuries.

With five games to play in 15 days, Carvalhal will likely shuffle his pack, which could see Rolando, Andre Horta, Cristian Borja and Nicolas Gaitan all handed a place in the starting lineup.

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Marco; Ramos, Cardoso, Villanueva, Mansur; Morita, Carvalho; Ukra, Lincoln, Carlos; Crysan

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Rolando, Silva; Esgaio, A. Horta, Novais, Borja; R. Horta, Gaitan; Ruiz


SM words green background

We say: Santa Clara 1-1 Braga

Braga will have one eye on their Europa League tie with Italian side Roma on Thursday but that should not prevent Carvalhal from naming a strong side as they aim to finish this campaign inside the top three. Braga's recent visits to the Estadio de Sao Miguel have been difficult, though, and Sunday's contest against Santa Clara could also prove to be a challenge.


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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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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