Shakhtar Donetsk vs Braga – Match Preview

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Braga – Match Preview

The tables are set for the second leg of the Europa League match Shakhtar Donetsk vs Braga. Shakhtar will be going into the match full of confidence knowing that they hold a strong advantage after winning the first leg in Braga 2-1.

Shakhtar’s head coach Mircea Lucescu, however, has told Tribuna “At this level, all the teams are about the same level—each of them knows how to act on the football field. Therefore, the game with Braga is no exception. We are in for a tough match.”

Lucescu also warned that his team should not become complacent even if they hold a minimal advantage after wining in Portugal: “We were not able to win on the road with a big score. Now the result is minimal and very dangerous.”

Last weekend, Shakhtar gave away a 3-2 lead against Stal Dniprodzerzhynsk in the 90th minute, and, as a result, are now trailing Dynamo Kyiv by five points in the Ukrainian Premier League. Complacency has been an issue for Shakhtar before, and now it appears that it might have cost the club the league title.

Lucescu told the media on Wednesday that Shakhtar couldn’t afford such lapses in concentration against Braga on Thursday. “Let’s hope that tomorrow this will not happen. Everything depends on the concentration of the players in the last minutes of the game.”

Meanwhile, Shakhtar’s Brazilian star winger, Taison, should be fit for the match. “I’m ready for tomorrow’s match, like all my teammates. Against Stal we did not quite have the outcome, which we wanted, and expected. But the main thing now is to focus on the second match with Braga and complete it with a positive result for us.”

Taison recently made headlines when he told the Brazilian media that he wants to leave Shakhtar Donetsk at the end of the season. Taison will, therefore, be especially motivated, as scouts from big clubs will closely observe his performances in the Europa League.

Braga coach, Paulo Fonseca, meanwhile has told Tribuna, “We came here with big ambitions. We understand how important this is, and we want to go to the semi-finals. If we talk about strategy, we do not change, regardless of the stadium or the tournament. We want to dominate, keep the ball and try to score.”

Perhaps Braga’s biggest advantage will be the fact that Shakhtar are playing in Lviv, which has recently been criticized by Lucescu as being almost a neutral ground for Shakhtar rather than a home venue. At the same time, Shakhtar have the advantage going into the second tie, and are the firm favourites to reach the semi-final of the Europa League.

By Manuel Veth –