CFR Cluj slipped to third place following the home defeat to Galatasaray, but they can, nevertheless, edge closer to the next stage by beating Braga at home. The Portuguese side once again missed a chance to beat Manchester United, but they now expect to build on the good performance in that match and get back into contention for a place in the knockout stages.
Cluj in problems
CFR Cluj did really well to reach the Champions League group stages by eliminating Slovan Liberec and Basel, but the Romanians have failed to impress in Europe’s elite competition. The Railwaymen started the campaign with a very fortunate victory over Braga, having been completely outclassed by their opponents, but could only take one point from next three matches. After losing to Manchester United, Cluj were very lucky to avoid defeat in Galatasaray, having had 4 shots on goal as opposed to Galata’s 24, but they could do nothing to avoid defeat to the same opponents at home two weeks later. New boss Paulo Sergio has failed to prove he has what it takes to get the maximum out of his side, while weekend’s home defeat to Astra also proved his team are far from the desired form. After losing both home games in the Champions League this season, Cluj could be in for another disappointing defeat.
Boss Paulo Sergio has no fresh injury worries, and could field the same side that started the weekend’s game against Astra.
Great opportunity for Braga
Sporting Braga have progressed a great deal over the last few years, with Minhotos slowly becoming genuine title contenders in Portugal and a decent European side. Jose Peseiro’s side beat very good Udinese side to reach Champions League group stages and they certainly did not disappoint. Home defeat to Cluj was extremely unlucky for the Portuguese side, seeing they had 35 shots on goal as opposed to Cluj’s 10, while excellent showings in matches against Manchester United proved this team have got more than enough quality to make it to the next stage. Away victory over Galatasaray helped Braga return into contention for the second place in the group and they have now been presented with an excellent opportunity to beat Cluj and climb to second place in the standings.
Paulo Cesar and Paulo Vinicius miss out through injury, while Maximilian Haas is not registered for the competition.
CFR Cluj have been pretty disappointing this season and it is more than clear they are by far the weakest team in the group. Sporting Braga proved their worth by beating Galatasaray away and causing all sorts of problems to Manchester United, and I believe they can be trusted to see off Cluj as well.
Top pick: Braga Draw no bet 1.80 (4/5) @ SkyBet
Alternative pick 1: Away win 2.50 (3/2) @ BetFred
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.00 (1/1) @ Coral