MX23RW : Monday, September 20 18:01:11| >> :600:124977:124977:
Jul 31, 2021 at 8.45pm UK at Estádio Municipal de Aveiro
Sporting LisbonSporting Lisbon
2-1
BragaBraga
Cabral (29'), Goncalves (43')
Palhinha (17'), Goncalves (44'), Nunes (49')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Fransergio (20')
Fransergio (45+2'), Tormena (62'), Sequeira (87'), Novais (90+1')

Preview: Sporting Lisbon vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Portuguese Super Cup clash between Sporting Lisbon and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Portuguese Primeira Liga champions Sporting Lisbon and Taca de Portugal winners Braga will battle for the first piece of domestic silverware of the season on Saturday, as they square off at the Estadio Municipal de Aveiro in the Portuguese Super Cup.

The Lisbon side raced away with the league title, finishing five points clear at the top after occupying the summit from the beginning of November until the end of the season, while their opponents made up for the disappointing second half of the season with a trophy of their own.


Match preview

Sporting Lisbon players celebrate winning the Taca da Liga with the trophy on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon will go on the hunt for another trophy after winning the Primeira Liga last season, ending a 19-year spell without a top-flight trophy.

Ruben Amorim's men moved to the top of the table after their sixth game of the season, a 4-0 win over Tondela, and they would fend off the chasing pack for the remainder of the campaign, not moving from the summit as they went on to secure the title.

In a staggering season that also saw them win the Taca da Liga, Amorim's men boasted the best defensive record in the top flight, conceding just 20 goals in their 34 league games while only title rivals Porto and Benfica topped their tally of 65 league goals.

With the title already secured and with just two league games left to play, Os Leoes looked set to finish the season unbeaten, only for those chances to be dashed by a 4-3 defeat to city rivals Benfica in the penultimate game of the campaign, having trailed 3-0 until a Pedro Goncalves brace and a Nuno Santos goal gave them a glimmer of hope.

Nonetheless, Sporting Lisbon will not feel overly disheartened by that, having still finished the season at the top of the table with 85 points from 34 games to seal their 19th Primeira Liga title.

Their aim will now be to secure the Super Cup before they head into a crucial league campaign with the challenge of retaining the top-flight title for the first time since 1954.

They take on a Braga side who will also be desperate to pick up another piece of silverware before they kickstart a title bid for the upcoming league season.

Braga head coach Carlos Carvalhal pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Carlos Carvalhal's side enjoyed an impressive start to the domestic season and went past the half-way point in a strong position, sitting second in the top flight following a 3-0 thrashing of Vitoria de Guimaraes in March, but their form would quickly dip after that.

Os Arcebispos went on to win just three of their remaining 12 games after that point, collecting an underwhelming tally of 15 points in that time, having picked up 49 points from the first 22 games of the season.

That downturn in form saw Carvalhal's men fall below Porto and Benfica, finishing in fourth spot after looking in a strong position to battle for Champions League football for the upcoming season.

While the league campaign ended in a disappointing manner, Braga's cup run was something to be proud of for the Portuguese manager and his side, as they cruised past Trofense, CO Montijo and Torreense to reach the quarter-finals, before defeating Santa Clara 2-1.

The Archbishops would then take on defending champions and 17-time Taca de Portugal winners Porto in the semi-final, picking up an impressive 4-3 aggregate victory over two legs, as an Abel Ruiz brace and a Lucas Piazon goal fired them to an eye-catching 3-2 away win in the second leg to secure their passage to the final.

They would meet Benfica following the conclusion of the league season, and they had a man advantage for the majority of the game after opposition goalkeeper Helton Leite was sent off in the 17th minute.

Braga eventually took advantage of that early in the second half as Lucas Piazon put them a goal ahead, and Ricardo Horta would double their lead late on to put the game out of sight and bring the trophy to the Municipal Stadium.

Having previously won the Taca da Liga in the 2019-20 season, Carvalhal's side will hope to continue their impressive run of trophies by triumphing on Saturday, before they head into another title challenge in the league.

Sporting Lisbon form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W

Braga form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W



Team News

Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Sporting Lisbon strengthened their squad this summer at the expense of Braga, bringing in experienced right-back Ricardo Esgaio to bolster their options on that flank, just six months after they took forward Paulinho from Saturday's opponents to boost their title bid.

Andraz Sporar was loaned to Carlos Carvalhal's side as part of that Paulinho deal in the January transfer window, but he has since returned to the capital and will hope to impress Amorim to potentially earn a starting spot.

One hit to the Sporting squad has been the loss of midfielder Joao Mario, who departed after a successful loan spell, in which he featured in 28 league games of the title-winning campaign.

In the long term, his position could be inherited by 22-year-old Daniel Braganca, who started to break into the side towards the end of last season.

While Braga have not been overly active in the summer transfer window, Carvalhal has made one particularly exciting addition to his squad with the capture of former Villarreal forward Mario Gonzalez, who hit 14 goals in 27 appearances in the Portuguese top flight last season while on loan at Tondela.

He should rejuvenate a struggling front line, with the likes of Abel Ruiz, Lucas Piazon and Ricardo Horta finishing last season in mixed runs of form, although Horta and Piazon did find the net in the cup final.

While they did capture the signature of winger Iuri Medeiros from Nuremberg after a loan spell last season, the 27-year-old has been battling through a lengthy knee injury, and could remain out of action for Saturday's game.

Following the departure of their right-back Esgaio to Sporting this summer, Braga brought in his brother Tiago Esgaio from Belenenses to inherit the right-back spot.

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Adan; Inacio, Coates, Feddal; Esgaio, Palhinha, Braganca, Mendes; Goncalves, Paulinho, Santos

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Silva, Sequeira; Esgaio, Musrati, Castro, Galeno; Horta, Gonzalez, Ruiz


SM words green background

We say: Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Braga

Sporting Lisbon should have slightly too much for their opponents on Saturday, and we see them continuing their impressive rise with another addition to the trophy cabinet.

If they manage to continue the form they displayed throughout last season, which seems very possible considering the limited squad changes, they will be a formidable outfit again this year, and will look to defeat Braga and lift the trophy to build confidence heading into their league title defence.



Top 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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How you voted: Sporting Lisbon vs Braga

Sporting Lisbon
87.8%
Draw
8.2%
Braga
4.1%
49
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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
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rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Benfica55001321115
2Porto64201431114
3Sporting Lisbon6420103714
4Estoril PraiaEstoril641194513
5PortimonensePortimonense631274310
6BoavistaBoavista52217528
7Braga52216428
8Gil Vicente62227618
9Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira622257-28
10Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes61416337
11Maritimo613268-26
12Vizela6132612-66
13AroucaArouca6123612-65
14Santa ClaraSanta Clara6114414-104
15TondelaTondela510469-33
16FamalicaoFamalicao603359-43
17BelenensesBelenenses603338-53
18MoreirenseMoreirense6033815-73

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