Our football match prediction:
Shakhtar Donetsk will be looking to cement top position in Group H with a win over Sporing Braga at Arene L’viv. The Miners suffered a shocking loss to Young Boys in the Champions League qualifiers, but they certainly have big ambitions for the 2016/2017 Europa League campaign. Shakhtar are on a three-game winning run in all competitions ahead of the visit of Braga and we predict that the Ukrainians are going to keep their fourth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions. The Portuguese team are a real force to be reckoned with at home, but they struggle on the travels and we would not be surprised if the visitors fail to grab something from Thursday’s football match. Shakhtar Donetsk faced Braga in the Europa League last season and it has to be noted that the Miners scored six goals in the back-to-back triumphs over the Portuguese outfit.
Highlighted Player (Taras Stepanenko):
Taras Stepanenko is a defensive midfielder who plays for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian Premier League. Stepanenko was born on 8 August, 1989 and he played for the likes of Torpedo-Kosmos, Arsenal Kharkiv, Torpedo Zaporizhia and Kosmos Zaporizhia during his youth career. After making 16 appearances (scoring 1 goal) for Metalurh Zaporizhia, he made his senior debut on 4 March, 2007 at the age of 17. Stepanenko played 81 league games for the club between 2007 and 2010 and then he made probably the best decision of his career, joining big-spending club Shakhtar Donetsk. He signed a five-year contract with the Miners on 11 May, 2010 and he has been playing for the Ukrainian giants ever since. Stepanenko made his 33rd appearance for the Ukrainian national team at the 2016 European Championship finals in France. The Shakhtar Donetsk footballer made his Ukraine debut on 17 November, 2010 in a 2-2 draw with Switzerland. He is capable of playing as both defensive and a central midfielder.
Highlighted Team (Sporting 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.