SC Braga vs. Benfica / Liga NOS – On Saturday evening we have a very interesting match of the 18th round of strongest football league in Portugal, where fourth-place Braga meets third-positioned Benfica, which currently has three points more. Both teams are in very good shape at the moment and are still in race for first two places that lead to the Champions League. We need to add that the two teams already met two times in Lisbon this season; Benfica won the league match by 3-1, while they drew in the League Cup 1-1. Begins: 13.01.2018 – 21:30 CET
The draw meant for Braga the end of series of even eight consecutive defeats by Benfica, although in the end neither team reached the semi-final of the League Cup. True, many believe that Braga had deliberately avoided to continue competing in the League Cup given that will soon play two very important matches of the Europa League round of 32 with French Marseille, and on top of it they surely haven’t given up from the race for first two places in the league.
At the moment Braga has just six points fewer than second-placed Sporting and eight than leading Porto and it won three previous league matches, so the atmosphere in the locker room cannot be better ahead of match with reigning champions of Portugal. However, they are pretty much aware that on Saturday they have to play a fantastic match if they want to stay undefeated. We need to add that due to injuries currently out of action are goalkeeper Marafona, stopper Ferreira, and midfielders Mauro and Fransergio.
Probable lineups SC Braga: Matheus – Goiano, Viana, Raul Silva, Jefferson – Danilo, Vukcevic – Esgaio, R. Horta, Martins – Hassan
We have said that reigning champions of Portugal occupies at the moment mere third place in the Primiera Liga and will surely give their maximum in order to annul as soon as possible five-point backlog behind Porto as well as to close in on the city rival Sporting that has three points more. Benfica has been eliminated from the Champions League and both Portuguese Cups, and it can fully focus on the league, where it has nine-game winless streak of seven defeats and two draws.
It is interesting that both those draws were played with Porto and Sporting and it will be very interesting to see how Benfica will handle tough Braga, which has just three points fewer than they. Regarding the team that Benfica will send on the pitch we believe that coach Rui Vitorio will rely on the same 11 players who were starters in several previous rounds, especially as out of action due to injuries are only stopper Lusia and midfielder Samaris.
Probable lineups Benfica: Varela – Almeida, Jardel, Dias, Grimaldo – Fejsa – Salvio, Pizzi, Krovinovic, Cervi – Jonas
SC Braga – Benfica PICK
Although reigning champion Benfica is regarded as favourite to win the match we should bear in mind that Braga is in great shape recently, which is why we have decided to play here on options that both teams will score.
Pick: both teams to score
Odds: 1.80 at comeon (down to 1.73 can be played)