Underdogs Braga out to upset Porto in Euro final

BRAGA coach Domingos Paciencia believes Porto can become a major force in next year’s Champions League, but insists his team can upset the odds and beat the Portuguese champions in tonight’s Europa League final.

Both sides are now in Dublin ahead of the first all-Portuguese Europa League final, with Porto overwhelming favourites to win their second trophy in a remarkable season under the guidance of rookie manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The 33-year-old led the club unbeaten through their domestic campaign to clinch the league with five games to spare in his first season in charge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That ensured the Dragons would be back competing among Europe’s elite next term, but there will be even more cause for celebration in Portugal’s second city if Villas-Boas can add the Europa League and the Portuguese Cup to the club’s trophy cabinet this week.

Braga are 7-1 outsiders to win Europe’s second club competition tonight, but Paciencia maintains the club can bring an end to the favourites’ stellar season and win his club their first silverware since 1966.

“Porto have always had a very strong team, and right now Porto are a team that could do well in the Champions League. They are a Champions League club,” said Paciencia, who will lead his team out for the last time tonight at the Aviva Stadium.

“In a final, and given how the season has gone, it’s natural that Porto are big favourites. But it’s a final – it’s just one match.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“With the right inspiration and motivation, many situations can occur in a match that can get you a goal. That is what makes us believe it’s possible to win.”

Braga finished 38 points behind Villas-Boas’s all-conquering outfit and they warmed up for tonight’s game with defeat to Sporting Lisbon in their final league match of the season on Saturday.