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Aug 7, 2022 at 6pm UK at Estádio Municipal de Braga
Braga
3 - 3
Sporting Lisbon
Banza (14'), Niakate (45+1'), Ruiz (88')
Niakate (22'), Elmusrati (24')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Goncalves (9'), Santos (18'), Edwards (83')
Nunes (68'), Goncalves (74')

Preview: Braga vs. Sporting Lisbon - prediction, team news, lineups

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

With the Primeira Liga season kicking off over the weekend, Braga will entertain Sporting Lisbon on Sunday in arguably the pick of the games.

After winning the league title in the 2020-21 season, Os Leoes fell six points short last season, while their hosts eventually finished fourth, 20 points worse off than Sunday's opponents.


Match preview

Braga's strong standing in the Primeira Liga continued last campaign, as they remained the leading side outside of Portugal's big three, eventually finishing 14 points clear of fifth-placed Gil Vicente and marginally beating their own points tally from the previous year with 65.

After three straight victories, Os Arcebispos took on Famalicao on the final day, but they were unable to finish on a high, despite taking a two-goal lead through Ricardo Horta and Vitinha, as a Simon Banza brace and a Bruno Rodrigues goal saw them condemned to a 3-2 defeat.

Having again ended fourth in the top flight, after reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League and eventually dropping out at the hands of Rangers, Carlos Carvalhal brought his two-year stint as manager to an end over the summer, with Artur Jorge, who turned out over 200 times for Braga in his playing career, now promoted to the first-team hot seat.

Newly under Jorge's management, Os Arcebispos enjoyed a positive start to pre-season, as they put together consecutive wins over Arouca, Middlesbrough, and AFC Bournemouth, before suffering a defeat at the hands of Portimonense.

Having finished their preparations with a 2-1 win over La Liga outfit Celta Vigo, Braga will hope to kick off their hopes of cracking the top three this year with what would be an eye-catching opening day win.

Sporting Lisbon make the trip to the Estadio Municipal looking to kickstart their season with a triumph in their bid to regain the Primeira Liga title.

After winning the Portuguese top flight for the 19th time in the 2020-21 season, Ruben Amorim's side set out to retain their crown last season, and they stayed in the fight throughout the campaign but eventually finished second, despite matching the previous campaign's points tally of 85.

With Porto establishing themselves at the top of the table for the majority of the season, Os Leoes had a six-point gap to bridge in the final five games, but they would suffer a harmful defeat at the hands of Lisbon rivals Benfica, and, despite winning their last four games, the defending champions would eventually fall short as Porto sealed the title on the penultimate day.

Turning their attention to the new term after failing to pick up a trophy, the capital side began their preparations with draws against Union Saint-Gilloise and Villarreal, before beating Roma and suffering defeats at the hands of Portimonense and Sevilla.

Having finished with a draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, as Pedro Goncalves netted their goal from the penalty spot, Amorim's men will be desperate to begin their title pursuit on the front foot with a winning run to start the season, beginning with an opening-day win on their travels.

Braga pre-season form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Sporting Lisbon pre-season form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D


Team News

Braga head into the new season without defender David Carmo, who departed for Porto in the summer, seeing Os Arcebispos receiving the second-highest transfer fee in their history.

In his absence, Vitor Tormena and Paulo Oliveira should be crucial at the heart of the back four, while the likes of Ali Musrati and Andre Horta will continue to feature heavily in midfield.

New signing Simon Banza could be deployed at the top end of the pitch from the first game, although the likes of Abel Ruiz, Vitinha, Diego Lainez, Ricardo Horta and Rodrigo Gomes will all be fighting for attacking spots.

Several changes will be made to the Sporting Lisbon team of last season, as key midfielder Joao Palhinha has left to join Fulham, while attacker Gonzalo Plata and defender Zouhair Feddal have also left. Pablo Sarabia has also returned to Paris Saint-Germain following his loan spell.

Amorim has bolstered his options with several signings, though, as defender Jeremiah St Juste has arrived at the Estadio do Dragao alongside midfielder Hidemasa Morita and creative attackers Rochinha and Francisco Trincao, while Pedro Porro's move from Manchester City has been made permanent.

Pedro Goncalves should continue to play a key role in the front three, having hit 31 league goals across the last two seasons, likely leaving the likes of Rochinha, Trincao, Paulinho, Marcus Edwards, Nuno Santos and Islam Slimani to fight for the final two places.

With first-choice goalkeeper Antonio Adan set to miss out through injury, Franco Israel should operate between the sticks at the weekend.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Gomez, Oliveira, Tormena, Sequeira; Musrati, A Horta, Castro; R Horta, Banza, Lainez

Sporting Lisbon possible starting lineup:
Israel; Neto, Coates, Inacio; Porro, Nunes, Ugarte, Reis; Goncalves, Paulinho, Trincao


We say: Braga 1-2 Sporting Lisbon

Sunday will certainly be a tough opening test for Sporting Lisbon against one of the Primeira Liga's strongest sides, but we see Ruben Amorim's men coming away with all three points.

With Benfica already putting three points on the board, Os Leoes will know the importance of a strong start in the fight for the title, and we anticipate them securing a narrow victory away from home.

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


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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