SC Braga eyes UCL return

SC Braga eyes UCL return

SC Braga is looking to have an advantage to progress in the Champions League as they meet Panathinaikos for the first leg of the playoffs. It has been over a decade since Braga last entered the Champions League. Ever since 2013, Braga failed to enter the Champions League, which makes them eager to have an advantage here. On the other hand, Panathinaikos is a team who were luck to escape their opponent during the third round. It was a win through penalties, which almost cost them to face an early elimination. Moreover, this is the first time that Braga and Panathinaikos will meet in their history. The meeting between these two teams is on August 24, 2023, at 3:00 AM (GMT+8), with Braga playing as hosts.

SC Braga

Champions League Qualifiers: SC Braga
Photo courtesy of LUSA

Braga are coming into this game is from a 4-2 win in the Primeira Liga, which gives them the confidence here. On that match, it was Simon Banza and Pizzi who scored late for Braga, giving them the win on that match. Braga were able to book their spots in this stage after they had a dominating 7-1 aggregate win in the third round. They had a 3-0 win in the first leg, before having a 4-1 win during the second leg. These results give Braga the confidence that they can have an early advantage here. It has been more than a decade since they qualified for the Champions League, making them eager to win here. Braga failed to enter the Champions League since 2013, and this is their chance to be closer to their goal. Additionally, scoring is not an issue as they scored at least three goals in six of their last 10 matches.

Fortunately for Braga, they did not sustained any fresh injuries. However, there might be some changes for their starters, as they aim to gain the advantage.

Panathinaikos

Champions League Qualifiers: Panathinaikos
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Panathinaikos meanwhile were fortunate to win against Marseille through penalties, as their match ended in a 3-3 on aggregate. Domestically, they are from a hard-earned 1-0 win, which could give them the confidence here. Moreover, it seems like this squad is not doing well when it comes to playing on the road. They are actually winless in their 11 away matches in any UEFA games, making them the underdogs here. Fortunately, their win during the third round is more than enough to give them the confidence here. They proved that despite their not-so good record in the contest, they are a capable team, defeating other powerhouse squads. Additionally, they have yet to enter the Champions League since 2011, making them also eager to have an early advantage here.

Juankar is a doubt coming into this game, after he was forced off for 20 minutes on their last match, so the seriousness of his problem is unclear. Other than him, there is no injury concern for Panathinaikos coming into this game.

Prediction:

SC Braga (1.0)
Odds: -0.87

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