Preview: Braga vs. Porto – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Primeira Liga clash between Braga and Porto, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The Estadio Municipal plays host to a tense final matchday in the Primeira Liga as Braga and Porto go head to head in a winner-takes-all clash for the Europa League spot.

Os Arcebispos are currently fourth in the league standings and head into this weekend’s season finale just one point below the visitors, who are set for their lowest league finish since the 2015-16 campaign.

Match preview

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Braga picked up three huge points in their late push for a top-three finish as they secured a 3-2 victory over Vitoria de Guimaraes in a pulsating affair at the Estadio Dom Afonso Henriques last Saturday.

Bruma and Ricardo Horta scored in either half to cancel out Bruno Gaspar‘s 10th-minute opener and after Ricardo Mangas netted in the 80th minute to draw Guimaraes level, substitute Rony Lopes struck in the third minute of stoppage time to hand the visitors a dramatic victory.

Frederico Carmo‘s men have now picked up four wins in their last five matches — with a 3-1 defeat against Benfica on April 27 being the exception — a run which has guaranteed their spot in Europe next season.

Braga will now close out the season at the Estadio Braga Municpal, where they have been rock-solid this season and are unbeaten in eight of their nine matches, picking up six wins and two draws since the turn of the year.

Os Arcebispos have picked up 68 points from their 33 Primeira Liga matches so far to sit fourth in the league table, eight points above fifth-placed Vitoria de Guimaraes and just one point behind Porto.

While victory on Saturday will see Braga finish in the Europa League qualification spot, they have failed to get the better of Porto in each of their last four meetings and have won just five of their last 20 encounters since January 2009.

Sergio Conceicao‘s ensured that they remained in pole position heading into the season finale as they fought back from behind to secure a vital 2-1 victory over 10-man Boavista at the Estadio do Dragao last Sunday.

In a game where Pedro Malheiro received his marching orders, Bruno Lourenco broke the deadlock right on the hour mark to put Boavista in front but Ze Pedro and Mehdi Taremi netted in the final nine minutes to turn the tie on its head in dramatic fashion.

The Dragoes have now gone six back-to-back matches without defeat across all competitions, picking up four wins and two draws since suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Vitoria de Guimaraes on April 7.

This solid late-season form has kept Porto on course to finish third in the league — their lowest position since 2020-21 — and has also seen them reach the final of the Taca de Portugal, where they will lock horns with rivals Sporting Lisbon on May 26.

Braga Primeira Liga form:

Porto Primeira Liga form:

Porto form (all competitions):

Team News

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Off the back of an injury-free game against Vitoria de Guimaraes, Braga head into the weekend with a clean bill of health and no suspension concerns, giving Carmo the luxury of a full house at his disposal.

Alvaro Djalo missed the game against Guimaraes after picking up a red card against Casa Pia on May 5 but the Spanish forward should return to the matchday squad.

Horta turned in an impressive individual display last time out and the 29-year-old, who now has 13 goal involvements in the league this season, will be one to keep an eye on.

Porto, on the other hand, will take to the pitch without the services of Nigerian full-back Zaidu Sanusi, who has been sidelined since suffering an ACL injury in February.

Fellow defender Ivan Marcano is also ruled out through an ACL injury while the experienced Pepe is set to sit out his fourth consecutive game due to a muscle problem.

Andre Franco, Antonio Martinez, Ivan Jaime, and defender Jorge Sanchez will also play no part in Saturday’s season finale as they have all been ruled out due to personal reasons.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Lima, Gomez, Fonte, Niakate, Borja; Moutinho, Zalazar; Horta, Pizzi, Bruma; Ruiz

Porto possible starting lineup:
Costa; Fernandes, Pedro, Otavio, Wendell, Varela, Gonzalez; Conceicao, Pepe, Galeno; Evanilson

We say: Braga 2-2 Porto

In what is a season-defining fixture, we expect Braga and Porto to go all out in search of the win as they look to secure a top-three finish. However, we predict that both sides will cancel each other’s efforts in a high-scoring stalemate.

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

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