Monday 11 December 2017

Braga book Dublin final date

A headed goal by midfielder Custodio gave Braga a 1-0 win over Benfica and a place in the first all-Portuguese Europa League final on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate score in the semi-final last night.

Braga will travel to Dublin for their debut European final on May 18 where they will face compatriots Porto, who swept past Villarreal 7-4 on aggregate despite losing 3-2 in Spain last night.

Back in Braga, the hosts started sharply and went ahead on 19 minutes as Custodio gave keeper Roberto no chance by towering above the defence to score with a well-placed header after a Hugo Viana corner.

Pressing hard, Braga gave Benfica scant room to deploy their flowing game.

However the visitors came close to levelling the match when Argentinian forward Javier Saviola sent a scuffed shot against the post five minutes before the break.

Benfica continued to struggle and their first chance in the second half came on the hour mark when substitute winger Franco Jara sent a dipping shot wide from the edge of the box.

They then missed two chances in the 79th minute.

Nicolas Gaitan forced keeper Artur to touch away a fierce shot and Luisao sent a header wide from the ensuing corner -- with Saviola arriving seconds too late at the far post.

Braga responded with two chances of their own in the 84th minute.

Custodio and Hugo Viana both forced Roberto intoto reflex saves with powerful drives as they held on to book a spot in the final.

Irish Independent

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