Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Braga play host to AEK Athens at their Estadio Municipal de Braga in the opening match of their Europa League campaign. Os Arcebispos have been playing an important role in the Europa League in recent years, and it is no wonder they are seen as favourites to win Thursday’s football match. Keep in mind, though, that experienced forward Rui Fonte is likely to miss the game with injury.
The Greeks, on the other hand, did well to shock Wolfsburg in the Europa League playoffs. AEK Athens aim to claim yet another major scalp in the second most popular club competitions, but seeing that Braga are a real force to be reckoned with at home, we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. It has to be noted that the two teams have never met before in a competitive match in Europe.
Highlighted Player (Ricardo Horta):
Ricardo Horta is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Sporting Braga in Primeira Liga. Born in Sobreda, Portugal, on September 15, 1994, Ricardo Horta spent his youth career at Ginasio Corroios, Benfica, and Vitoria Setubal.
The 173-cm-tall winger continued playing for Setubal at the senior level, but he moved to Malaga in the summer of 2014, signing a five-year deal with the La Liga outfit. Ricardo Horta scored only one goal in 48 appearances for los Boquerones in the Spanish top flight before signing a loan deal with Braga. In July 2017, he signed a permanent contract with the Minhotos.
Ricardo Horta made his Primeira Liga debut against Rio Ave back in April 2013, during his spell with Vitoria Setubal. His primary position is left winger, but he is capable of producing good performances as a right winger as well. He made his Portugal debut in a 1-0 loss to Albania in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Highlighted Team (AEK Athens):
Established in 1924, AEK Athens are one of a number of Greek clubs based in Athens. The Enosis (Union) are well known for their passionate fans and Original 21 are considered the club’s main supporters’ group. AEK Athens play their home games in black shirts with yellow stripes and black shorts, while they often wear gray jerseys and yellow shorts when facing their rivals on the road.
Olympic Stadium in Athens is the club’s home ground and the venue can hold up to 69.618 people. AEK share rivalries with fellow capital clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiakos and the rivalry with Olympiakos was inflamed in 1996, when AEK former ace and then-coach joined the Thrylos. AEK have 12 Greek Super League trophies, but it has to be noted that they clinched their last domestic title back in 1994.
Speaking of the Greek Cup, the Enosis won their 15th trophy in the competition in 2016, with the team beating Olympiakos in the title game. In the 1966/1967 season AEK made it to the UEFA Cup semis, but Italian giants Juventus proved to be a big catch for the Greek side.