Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A place in the Europa League group stages will be at stake when Spartak Moscow and Sporting Braga face each other at Otkrytiye Arena on Thursday evening. Spartak Moscow have been producing fine performances in the Russian Premier League at the start of the season, but recording a big win over the Primeira Liga side is easier said than done. Braga recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Oleg Kononov’s troops in Portugal and they are now on a quest to defend their slim lead.
Given Os Bragantinos’ experience in European competitions, we predict that they are going to book their place in the Europa League group stages without any difficulties. Sporting Braga are more of a team than Spartak Moscow and we do not believe that the Russians are capable of overcoming the deficit in the second leg.
Highlighted Player (Roman Zobnin):
Roman Zobnin is a talented Russian footballer who was born in Irkutsk on February 11, 1994. Zobnin played for the likes of Zvezda Irkutsk and Konoplyov football academy during his youth career, while starting his senior career Akademiya Tolyatti.
In 2013 Dynamo Moscow chiefs brought him to Arena Khimki and he played for the capital club from 2013 to 2016, scoring two league goals for the White-blues during that period. Roman Zobnin then moved to Spartak Moscow and he has been playing for the Krasno-Belye ever since. His main position is central midfield, but he is capable of playing as both attacking and defensive midfielder as well.
Roman Zobnin made his debut for the Russian national team in March, 2015 in a friendly game against Kazakhstan. It has to be noted that his older Aleksandr Zobnin was also a professional footballer. Roman Zobnin has a contract with Spartak Moscow, which expires in June, 2020.
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.