Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Zorya and Sporting Braga square off against each other at Slavuych-Arena in the Europa League third qualifying round, first leg. Zorya often struggle in European competitions and it has to be noted that they are on a three-game losing run in the Europa League ahead of Thursday’s football match against Braga. Zorya are considered underdogs in the double-header against Braga, but they should not be written off just yet. The Portuguese side, on the other hand, impressed in their last warm-up game against Newcastle United, with the team beating the Premier League team 4-0. Braga are high on confidence ahead of the trip to Ukraine and we predict that they are going to prove their worth on the field. You should bear in mind that Braga recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Olympique Marseille in their last match in the Europa League.
Highlighted Player (Oleksiy Shevchenko):
Oleksiy Shevchenko is a Ukrainian goalkeeper who was born in Dnipropetrovsk on February 24, 1992. The 188-cm tall shot-stopper played for his home-town club Inter Dnipropetrovsk during his youth career and he started his senior career at Metalurh Zaporizhya. Oleksiy Shevchenko made 13 appearances for Metalurh 2, while playing no more than 13 games for the first team.
In 2013 he moved to Dynamo Kyiv, but he was immediately sent on loan to Hoverla Uzhhorod. The Ukrainian goalkeeper played for the likes of Olimpik Donetsk, Torpedo Kutaisi and Dila Gori on loan as well before signing a contract with Zorya Luhansk in 2016.
Shevchenko made his debut for Zorya in the Ukrainian Premier League on April 10, 2016 in a 2-1 loss to Dnipro. He quickly established himself as a first-team regular at Zorya and he did well to keep ten clean sheets in 25 appearances for Zorya in the 2016/2017 Ukrainian Premier League campaign. Shevchenko received his first call-up for the Ukraine national football team in October 2016 for 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Kosovo.
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.