Porto vs. Braga – Europa League Final Preview

It was expected that Dublin would host an all-Portuguese final, but with Porto facing Benfica, instead it is  plucky Braga against the champions of Portugal.                                                                                                                                                                   
Benfica led 2-1, after the first leg but after another tight defensive display by Braga they managed to win 1-0 and go through on away goals. Opponents Porto had a comfortable journey to Dublin, having coasted to a 7-4 aggregate win over Spanish side Villarreal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Should Portuguese champions win tonight then 33-year-old Andre Villas-Boas will become the youngest coach ever to win a Uefa club competition, the man who is seen as a young Jose Mourinho will go with his favoured 4-3-3 with the impressive Falcao, Hulk and Varela leading the line.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Meanwhile Braga’s coach Domingos Paciencia has announced he will leave the club no matter what the result. This is after two years in charge. His side last beat tonight’s opposition back on the 19th September, 2009.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Porto will be missing defender Jorge Fucile and midfielder Cristiano Rodriguez whilst Braga injury concerns over defenders Rodriguez and Miguel Garcia as well as striker Paulo Cesar.                                                                                                               
The Portuguese champions have had an excellent season, that has seen them remain undefeated and having scored more than 130 goals including 36 in the Europa League. Striking pair Hulk and Radamel Falcao have scored 63 of those goals between them. They are clear favourites at 5/11 whilst Braga are 15/2 to pull off a shock.                                                                                                                                                                                                            
It is always hard to call who will score first, especially with Porto‘s striking prowess but Falcao should be backed at 7/2, he has scored four times against Villarreal and Spartak Moscow in the first leg’s of the last two rounds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Previous Europa League finals have been tight and normally under 2.5 goals should be backed at 10/11 but with the trio of forwards should mean there will goals, so 4/5 will be worth backing.                                                                                                    
Porto are evens to be leading by half-time and to win, whilst a draw then a Porto win is 3s and for it to be level at 45 minutes and for Braga to win is 16s.                                                                                                                                                                          
By Scott Balaam


Leave a Comment