20 Handy Facts About Sporting Braga (Again)
The Portuguese side stand in the way of Celtic in the Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League. Square Football noted 20 handy facts about Braga back in March 2007 when they were drawn against Spurs in the Europa League.Some of these nuggets were there in 2007 but most are new.
1. One Braga player appeared in the Portugal squad in South Africa- keeper Eduardo who made a decent impression in a tournament where most goalies were average at best. However, he has now moved to Genoa in Serie A.
2 . Sporting play at an amazing stadium partly carved out of a hillside quarry. It was shown off to spectacular effect in Euro 2004.
4. Last season's runners-up finish was Braga's highest ever placing in the Portuguese top flight.
5. The club have been European regulars in recent seasons winning the last Intertoto Cup in 2008 and advancing to the group stages in the UEFA Cup for three seasons in a row.
6 In 2008/09 they beat Portsmouth 3-0 in a group game that was Harry Redknapp's last in charge at Fratton Park.
7, In 2007 they gave Spurs a tough contest over two legs before going down 6-4 on aggregate.
8, Brazilian players are always prominent in Portugal but Braga have no less than 14 from that country in their first team squad
9 Cameroon international Albert Meyong is a key forward, although he wasn't selected for the World Cup.
10 Meyong converted two penalties in last season's derby game with Vitoria Guimares, Braga's bitter rivals. Children under 13 are only allowed into the derby games if accompanied by an adult, such is the intensity.
11. Braga only lost 3 League games last season and based their success on a strong defensive effort. Only 20 goals were conceded in 24 matches.
12. Goals were harder to come by. Meyong top scored with just 11 League strikes.
13. Key man at the back in Peruvian international Alberto Rodriguez who joined the club back in 2006.
14 Braga's one major honour is the Portuguese Cup in 1966.
15. Their most common formation last season was 4-2-3-1, with occasional variations.
16 Over the summer they have signed Spanish forward Juan Collado from Villarreal.
17. Before switching to their Arsenal-style kit, Braga played in Celtic-like green and white hoops.
18, The Director of Football at Braga is former international Fernando Couto
19.Argentinian midfielder Andres Madrid may play a part against Celtic. Unusually, Braga loaned him to rivals Porto during the second half of last season
20. Portuguese under 21 cap Heldar Barbosa is another new recruit, The left-winger was released by Porto and along with Braga product Pizzi, he gives the side a youthful presence out wide.