Braga v Besiktas: Last year’s finalists to progress again

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Braga were the surprise package of last year’s Europa League, and can beat Besiktas at 8/11 as they attempt to march to the final for the second year running.

They suffered only a narrow defeat to Porto in last year’s final, with Radamel Falcao’s winner proving the difference, though Braga’s style of football won them much acclaim, and this has continued onto this season, where they have avoided defeat in seven of eight European matches.

Their 4/1 visitors have qualified for the second round for only the second time since the Europa League group stage’s inception, and will be hoping to perform better than last year, when they suffered an 8-1 aggregate defeat in a round of 32 clash with Dynamo Kiev.

Besiktas manager Carlos Carvalhal, a Braga supporter and former coach, would be delighted to escape Estadio Municipal de Braga with a draw, and it is 5/2 for the sides to cancel each other out.

What would appear most likely though, due to Braga’s attacking style of play and the fact they have won seven of their past ten European home matches, is a home win with a healthy amount of goals scored.

It’s a tempting 11/10 in the Europa League odds for Braga to score 2-3 goals in the match, while 11/4 odds for a home win with both teams hitting the net is an interesting bet too.

The Portuguese side are also 7/4 to score in both halves, which looks worthy of consideration, along with the massive 14/1 for a 3-1 home win.

Although the Turkish travellers performed well in topping Group E, it is interesting to note that they wouldn’t have qualified at all if only the first half of matches was accounted for.

And with Braga either drawing or winning at the break in each of their games, 2/1 odds for Braga to be leading at half-time and full-time looks good, along with the 7/2 for a draw after 45 minutes and home win at the final whistle.

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