Sporting Braga travel to Italy this week, where they will look to defeat Napoli in Group C. When the two sides met earlier on in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) campaign, the Portuguese side were narrowly beat 2-1.
Napoli look set to progress to the knockout stages, as they currently sit in second place, three points ahead of Braga with a better goal difference. Unfortunately, they’ve been rather average at both ends of the field in Europe after five matches, scoring just eight goals and conceding nine.
The standards were set last season for Napoli, but the departure of Luciano Spalletti has seen Gli Azzurri lose their identity. They’ve won just one of their last six matches, and their home form is worryingly poor, winning just twice in seven games in the Serie A.
Artur Jorge will be pleased with the position that his side are in going into the final matchday, with a win confirming European football in the new year. Braga are currently in third place on four points, three behind Napoli and two ahead of Union Berlin. The Portuguese side concede an average of two goals per game so far, whilst only scoring six in total, which means both aspects must be improved versus Napoli if they are to cause an upset.
Luckily, Braga are in good form going into the tie, winning four of their last five matches. A Sikou Niakate red card in their last Champions League game cost them dearly, as they would have been just a point behind Napoli with a win. The tie concluded 1-1 against Union Berlin, with Braga dominating despite having a man less for over an hour.
Braga simply must win this game, but they will have to win by a score line of four goals to overtake Napoli on goal difference. Therefore, the hosts will be content with not losing the tie, but a win is much needed for the squad's morale.
The final prediction is Napoli 3-2 Braga.