Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Primeira Liga clash between Santa Clara and Braga, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Meanwhile, Braga have lost three of their last four away matches in all competitions and were defeated in both of their previous two league encounters against the hosts.
Braga drew their second match with Porto in three days after their 2-2 draw in the Primeira Liga last weekend was followed by their Taca de Portugal semi-final first leg, which finished 1-1 on Wednesday.
An ambulance was brought on to the pitch for Carmo but as the vehicle attempted to drive away, it broke down with the players eventually forced to push it off the field.
Since their narrow defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the Taca da Liga final last month, Braga have bounced back, winning four of their last six matches in all competitions and scoring 12 goals in the process.
Santa Clara, meanwhile, came from behind to secure their fifth away victory of the season on Monday evening as they won 2-1 at Maritimo.
Despite losing just one of their last seven league games, Daniel Ramos‘s side remain 10 points behind the top five, with plenty of work still to be done if they wish to qualify for Europe next season.
Santa Clara head into their clash with Braga having won their earlier top-flight meeting against them this campaign, claiming a surprise 1-0 away victory in September.
Securing another three points on Sunday could see them move seven points behind Pacos de Ferreira in fifth, who they face on home soil in two weeks.
Santa Clara Primeira Liga form: DLWWDW
Santa Clara form (all competitions): LWLWDW
Braga Primeira Liga form: WLWWWD
Braga form (all competitions): WWWWDD
Santa Clara will be without centre-back Cristian Gonzalez and defensive midfielder Julio Romao, who are both ruled out through injury, while playmaker Costinha, who last featured against Braga in January, remains a doubt for this weekend.
Carlos Junior, who starred in the victory at Maritimo, could move back to the left-wing with Ukra likely to come into the starting lineup to play on the right flank.
Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Marco; Ramos, Cardoso, Villanueva, Mansur; Morita, Carvalho; Ukra, Lincoln, Carlos; Crysan
Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Tormena, Rolando, Silva; Esgaio, A. Horta, Novais, Borja; R. Horta, Gaitan; Ruiz
We say: Santa Clara 1-1 Braga
Braga will have one eye on their Europa League tie with Italian side Roma on Thursday but that should not prevent Carvalhal from naming a strong side as they aim to finish this campaign inside the top three. Braga’s recent visits to the Estadio de Sao Miguel have been difficult, though, and Sunday’s contest against Santa Clara could also prove to be a challenge.
Top betting tip
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk