Our prediction for this Europa League match:
AEK will be looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 3-0 loss to Zorya Luhansk when they take on Braga in Athens on Thursday evening. Massimo Carrera’s men are four points behind top two in Group 5, meaning that this has to go down as a must-win game for the Greek outfit. AEK have no other choice but to go all guns blazing at Braga, meaning that the visitors will have a number of opportunities to score on break.
Ukraine midfielder Yevgeniy Shakhov is sidelined through suspension for the hosts. Braga, on the other hand, moved one step closer to booking their place in the last 32 thanks to a 3-3 draw with Leicester City. The Portuguese side look sharp in front of goal, and they should take advantage of AEK’s shaky defence. Defender David Carmo is back from suspension for the visiting team.
Highlighted Player (Petros Mantalos):
Petros Mantalos is a Greece international who plays for AEK Athens as a midfielder. Mantalos was born in Komotini, Greece on August 31, 1991, starting his youth career at Xanthi. Speaking of his senior career, the right-footed midfielder played for Skoda Xanthi before joining AEK Athens in 2014.
Mantalos has established himself as a first-team regular at AEK and he played an important role in the team that won the national championship in the 2017/2018 season. To make things even better for the fans, AEK Athens booked their place in the Champions League thanks to a win over Celtic in the play-off.
Petros Mantalos made his international debut with Greece on September 7, 2014 against Romania. The AEK midfielder scored his first ever goal for the Greece national football team in a 2-1 win over Australia in June, 2016. His main position is attacking midfielder, but he is capable of playing as both central and left midfielder as well.
Highlighted Team (Braga):
Braga are a Portuguese club that have always been in the shadow of Primeira Liga giants Porto, Benfica and Sporting. Os Minhotos were founded on 19 January, 1921 and they originally played in green and white kits. After the World War II they changed their kits to red and they have been wearing red shirts and white shorts ever since.
Braga play their home games at Estadio Municipal de Braga, the stadium that was opened in December, 2003. Os Minhotos have yet to win the Primeira Liga title, but they finished the 2009/2010 campaign in second position in the standings, just five points behind champions Benfica.
In 2011 Braga participated in the Europa League final, but fellow Portuguese outfit Porto proved to be a big catch for Os Minhotos. Anyhow, that is regarded as the club’s biggest success. Vitoria de Guimaraes are considered Braga’s bitter rivals and the two teams face each other in the Minho derby.