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Dec 19, 2021 at 9pm UK
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Preview: Braga vs. Belenenses - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Braga vs. Belenenses - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between Braga and Belenenses, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Round 15 of the Portuguese Primeira Liga comes to an end at the Estadio Braga Municipal where Braga play host to Belenenses on Sunday.

The hosts will be seeking to return to winning ways following their humbling Taca da Liga defeat, while the visitors will be aiming to snap their two-game losing streak.

Match preview

Braga were denied their first win of the Taca da Liga campaign as they fell to a humbling 5-1 defeat at the hands of Boavista last Thursday.

After heading into the break with a commanding three-goal lead through Gustavo Sauer, Petar Musa and Yusupha Njie, Nathan Santos and Sauer netted either side of Iuri Medeiros's 53rd-minute penalty in the second half to cap off a brilliant team outing.

Braga now turn their attention to the Primeira Liga where they were denied a third consecutive win in their most recent outing as they suffered a 1-0 loss to Porto.

Carlos Carvalhal's men have now lost four of their last eight games in all competitions, including a 6-1 mauling at the hands of Benfica in the league back in November.

Their recent struggles has been owing to their defensive frailties as they have shipped 17 goals in their most recent eight games, while netting 12 at the attacking end of the pitch.

With 25 points from their opening 14 games, Braga are currently fourth in the Primeira Liga standings, one point above Estoril Praia and nine behind Benfica in the Champions League playoff spot.

Meanwhile, Belenenses failed to move out of the relegation places as they fell to a slender 1-0 defeat at the hands of Estoril Praia last time out.

In a cagey affair at the Estadio Nacional do Jamor, Rui Fonte scored his second goal in three games on the stroke of half time to condemn the hosts to their seventh defeat of the season.

O Belem have now lost each of their most recent three league games, while they have managed just one win from their 14 outings this season and this poor run of results sees them rooted to the bottom of the league table.

This has been in no small part owing to their struggles at the defensive end of the pitch, where they have shipped 23 goals, with their luck at the opposite end of the pitch not any better as they have netted just seven goals to date.

However, Filipe Candido's men will feel confident in their chances of snapping their losing streak on Sunday as they take on an opposing side who they are unbeaten against in four of the last five meetings between the sides, claiming two wins and two draws in that time.

Braga Primeira Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

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

Belenenses Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

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

Team News

Braga will take to the pitch without the services of Portuguese defender David Carmo, who continues his lengthy spell on the sidelines through a severe muscle problem.

He is joined on the club's injury table by fellow countryman Sequeira, who is set to miss his eighth consecutive game through a knee injury.

With 11 goal involvements in 13 games, Ricardo Horta has been a key man for Os Arcebec this season and we expect the 27-year-old forward to lead the line one again.

As for Belenenses, Candido will be unable to call upon the services of Chico Teixeira, who sustained an injury back in September's game against Pacos de Ferreira.

Twenty-six-year-old forward Alisson Safira is also out of contention for the visitors having missed each of the last four games with a muscle problem.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Oliveira, Leite, Silva; Couto, A. Horta, Castro, Galeno; Medeiros, Ruiz, R. Horta

Belenenses possible starting lineup:
Monteiro; Boni, Henrique, Santos, Calila; Ramalho, Kau, Montez, Lopes; Coelho, Lukovic

We say: Braga 2-0 Belenenses

While Belenenses will be aiming to build on their morale-booting cup win, they take on a significantly stronger Braga side, who have lost just one game at home, while winning four of their last five. We anticipate Braga will come away with the win in this one and end their winless run.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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