UEFA Europa League – İstanbul Başakşehir-Braga – İstanbul Başakşehir v Braga background
İstanbul Başakşehir must end a poor sequence of recent home results in Europe if they are to qualify from Group C alongside visitors Braga, who confirmed their presence in the round of 32 last time out.
• The Turkish club need a win combined with a defeat for Ludogorets at eliminated Hoffenheim in the other group fixture to make it through, while Braga will clinch first place with a win or if Ludogorets fail to claim all three points in Germany.
• Braga prevailed in the teams’ first European encounter – and Başakşehir’s maiden meeting with Portuguese opponents – when they won 2-1 at home on matchday two, a late Fransérgio winner deciding the outcome after first-half goals from Ahmed Hassan and the visitors’ Emre Belözoğlu. The veteran Turkish international became the UEFA Europa League’s fifth oldest goalscorer aged 37 years and 21 days.
• Braga have had the better of their 11 previous duels with Turkish clubs: W7 D1 L3. Having won their first three games in Turkey, they have returned winless from the country in each of the past two UEFA Europa League campaigns, however, losing 1-0 to Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 and drawing 1-1 at Konyaspor last term.
• İstanbul Başakşehir are yet to win at home in five UEFA Europa League matches, qualifying included (D3 L2). They have won only two of their 15 European fixtures (D6 L7).
• Braga have gone 21 European games without a clean sheet but are undefeated in their last six away fixtures in UEFA competition (W2 D4).
• Last term’s Turkish league and cup runners-up were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League play-offs and are making their UEFA group stage debut this season.
• Fifth in Portugal last term, and runners-up in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, Braga are competing in this group stage for a third straight season. Last year’s failure to make the round of 32 ended a perfect record of qualifying from UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stages, their first five forays having all proved successful.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Braga to Istanbul is around 3,100km.
• Başakşehir’s Mossoró was a Braga player from 2008 to 2013 and featured in their 2010/11 UEFA Europa League final defeat by Porto.
• Başakşehir’s other Brazilian player, Júnior Caiçara, also played in Portugal for Gil Vicente (2010–12).
• Braga’s Bruno Viana and Başakşehir’s one-time Portuguese youth international Manuel da Costa won the Greek Super League together with Olympiacos in 2016/17.
• Braga’s Fransérgio has scored four goals in the group stage, having never previously found the net in European competition.
• Braga’s Ricardo Ferreira and Marcelo Goiano are suspended on matchday six.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Júnior Caiçara, Mevlüt Erdinç, Gökhan Inler (İstanbul Başakşehir); Raúl Silva, Ricardo Esgaio (Braga).
• Abdullah Avcı led Turkey to success in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship before taking the Başakşehir reins for the first time from 2006–11. He returned to the club in 2014 following an unsuccessful stint as Turkey boss.
• At the helm since April 2017, Abel Ferreira was previously Braga’s B team coach. A right-back, he graduated from home-town side Penafiel to Vitória Guimarães, Braga and Sporting CP, where he won two Portuguese Cups before retiring in 2011.