Thursday, March 10
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Feb 17, 2022 at 5.45pm UK
Sheriff TiraspolSheriff Tiraspol
Thill (43' pen.), Traore (82')
Petro (15')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Braga - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Sheriff Tiraspol and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sheriff Tiraspol and Braga resume their European campaigns on Thursday evening with the first leg of their playoff tie in the Europa League.

While the visitors progressed through to this stage courtesy of a second-placed finish in their group, Sheriff dropped down from the Champions League having finished third behind Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

Match preview

Every season, Braga target breaking into the top three of Primeira Liga, winning a cup and reaching the latter stages of a European competition.

Sitting nine points adrift of third-placed Benfica and already out of both domestic cups, Carlos Carvalhal has been left to ensure that Os Arcebispos go deep in this tournament.

On the plus side, Braga have recently recorded three wins from four, including victory away at Sporting Lisbon, but a later defeat to Vitoria de Guimaraes effectively rendered that surprise result meaningless.

Progression through the group stages proved to be far more difficult than initially anticipated, the group favourites failing to defeat either Midtjylland and Red Star Belgrade in their final two fixtures to scrap over the line by a point.

Braga also lost two of their three matches on the road, and with a further three away defeats coming in their last five in Primeira Liga, Sheriff will sense that they have a real shot of causing another surprise.

There is an argument that Sheriff have recorded the most memorable win of 2021-22, scoring a last-minute goal against Real Madrid to record a 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Sheriff ultimately failed to build on two successive victories at the start of their group, but finishing ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk tells their rivals in this competition that they should not be taken lightly.

Something which does not play into their favour is having not participated in a competitive fixture since December 11, a consequence of a prolonged mid-season break.

Sheriff currently hold a two-point advantage at the top of the standings after winning 14 of their 17 matches, while they also possess two games in hand on second-placed Petrocub.

Sheriff Tiraspol form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Braga Europa League form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D

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

Team News

Given the length of break from action, it is difficult to predict who Yuriy Vernydub will select in Sheriff's starting lineup.

Vernydub may go with the team which claimed a 1-1 against Shakhtar last time out, but an array of new signings were made during the January transfer window.

Momo Yansane was arguably the star of the opening half of the season, netting 10 goals from his 18 appearances in all competitions.

Although Carvalhal will not make widespread changes to his Braga XI, the Portuguese will almost certainly bring some fresh legs into the team.

Fabiano may get a run out over Manchester City loanee Yan Couto, with Abel Ruiz an alternative to Vitor Oliveira down the middle of the attack.

Diogo Leite played all six matches during the group stages and should be included in the back three.

Sheriff Tiraspol possible starting lineup:
Athanasiadis; Costanza, Arboleda, Dulanto, Cristiano; Thill, Addo; Traore, Kolovos, Bruno; Yansane

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Rodrigues, P. Oliveira, Leite; Fabiano, Musrati, A. Horta, Gomes; Medeiros, R. Horta; Ruiz

We say: Sheriff Tiraspol 1-1 Braga

Sheriff shown enough during their Champions League fixtures that they will not be overawed by a game of this magnitude. Nevertheless, Braga are always dark horses at this level, and we feel that the Portuguese outfit will do enough to earn a share of the spoils.

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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