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Primeira Liga | Gameweek 24
Mar 2, 2024 at 8.30pm UK
Estadio Municipal de Braga
Estrela Amadora

3 - 0
Estrela Amadora

Banza (57' pen.), Bruma (84'), Fernandes (90+3')
Mendes (69'), Banza (82')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Bucca (81')

Preview: Braga vs. Estrela Amadora - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Primeira Liga clash between Braga and Estrela Amadora, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Seeking to move level on points with third-placed Porto, Braga play host to Estrela Amadora at the Estadio Braga Municipal in round 24 of the Portuguese Primeira Liga on Saturday.

The Tricolores have failed to taste victory in any of their last eight games on their travels in all competitions since the start of November and will head into the weekend looking to end this dry spell.

Match preview

Braga's Abel Ruiz celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 23, 2024© Reuters

Braga turned in another performance of the highest quality as they cruised to a 4-0 victory over Boavista when the sides squared off at the Estadio do Bessa last Monday.

Os Arcebispos went into the league tie reeling from their gut-wrenching Europa League exit after they were beaten 6-5 on aggregate by Qarabag FK despite their 3-2 second-leg victory in Azerbaijan on February 22.

Simon Banza almost single-handedly put Boavista to the sword as he scored either side of Abel Ruiz's 44th-minute strike before setting up Rodrigo Zalazar in the 72nd minute to cap off a brilliant individual display.

Braga have now won three games on the bounce across all competitions, scoring nine goals and conceding three since losing back-to-back games against Sporting Lisbon and Qarabag, and this upturn in form has rekindled their push for the Europa League ticket.

Artur Jorge's side have won 14 of their 23 Primeira Liga matches so far while losing five and picking up four draws to collect 46 points and sit fourth in the table, just three points behind third-placed Porto in the Europa League qualifying spot.

After two impressive outings on the road, Braga now return home, where they are unbeaten in their four league matches since the turn of the year — claiming two wins and two draws — and boast the division's fifth-best point tally, having picked up 21 points from 11 matches at the to the Estadio Braga Municipal.

Estrela da Amadora's Leo Cordeiro on September 15, 2023© Reuters

Having ended their 15-year absence from the top flight courtesy of a playoff victory over Maritimo last June, Estrela Amadora risk an immediate return to the second tier as they find themselves scrambling for points at the wrong end of the table.

In what has been a recurring theme in their season, Sergio Vieira's men were guilty of a lack of cutting edge in front of goal last weekend as they played out a 1-1 draw with Chaves at the Estadio Jose Gomes.

Despite seeing a bulk of the ball possession and being in the ascendancy for most of the game, Estrela failed to really threaten the Flavienses' goal as Hector Hernandez and Ronaldo Tavares scored first-half goals for either side to face a share of the spoils.

Estrela have now failed to win all but one of their last 10 outings — losing five and picking up four draws since mid-December — a run which has seen them drop into the relegation conversation.

With 22 points from 23 Primeira Liga matches, the Tricolores are currently 15th in the league table, level on points with Estoril Praia, Rio Ave and Portimonense but could surge into 12th place with all three points this weekend.

However, results on the road offer little optimism as Estrela are without a win in their last eight away matches across all competitions, losing five and picking up three draws since October's 1-0 victory at Vila Mea in the Taca de Portugal.

Braga Primeira Liga form:

Braga form (all competitions):

Estrela Amadora Primeira Liga form:

Team News

Braga's Alvaro Djalo celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on November 29, 2023© Reuters

Braga will take to the pitch without the services of Spanish defender Adrian Marin, who has been sidelined since coming off injured against Porto on January 14.

Other than that, Os Arcebispos head into the weekend with a clean bill of health and no suspension concerns, giving Jorge the luxury of a relatively full-strength squad at his disposal.

We expect the Portuguese head coach to name a similar XI from Monday's victory over Boavista, with Victor Gomez, Paulo Oliveira, Jose Fonte and Cristian Borja forming the back four shielding Matheus between the sticks.

Banza was involved in three of Braga's four goals against Boavista and the 27-year-old, who now has six goal involvements in his last four matches, should spearhead the hosts' attack once again, alongside Ruiz, Ricardo Horta and teenage forward Roger Fernandes.

Meanwhile, Estrela Amadora remain without the services of 24-year-old striker Gustavo Henrique, who has been out of action since sustaining an injury against Gil Vicente on January 14.

He is joined on the Tricolours' injury table by the defensive duo of Miguel Lopes and former Santa Clara man Mansur, who also continue their spells on the sidelines.

Gustavo Henrique has missed Estrela's last six games since coming off injured against Gil Vicente back in January while midfielder Aloisio Souza is currently suspended after crossing the yellow-card threshold with his booking against Chaves last time out.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Gomez, Oliveira, Fonte, Borja; Carvalho, Zalazar; Fernandes, Ruiz, R Horta; Banza

Estrela Amadora possible starting lineup:
Brigido; Lima, Mendes, Gaspar; Santos, Oakley-Boothe, Cordeiro, Bucca; Varela, Tavares; Jaba

SM words green background

We say: Braga 3-0 Estrela Amadora

While Estrela will be looking to find their feet and pull clear of the danger zone, they are in for a tough 90 minutes against a Braga side who appear to have hit their stride once again. Jorge's men are currently firing on all cylinders and we fancy them to come away with all three points in front of their home supporters.

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

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12Gil Vicente3499164252-1036
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14Estrela Amadora34712153353-2033

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