Quick-fire doubles in the opening and closing stages helped give SC Braga a convincing 5-1 victory against NK Maribor, with defeat leaving the Slovenian champions six points adrift at the foot of UEFA Europa League Group H.
Lima and Alan put the hosts into a commanding early lead inside seven minutes at the Estádio Municipal de Braga, and Elderson made it 3-0 before the break. Dalibor Volaš pulled one back just after the hour, but it proved to be little more than a consolation goal for the visitors as late strikes from from Paulo Vinícius and Fran Mérida sealed a comfortable victory for Braga.
Aided by some costly individual errors, Braga got off to the perfect start as they caught their guests cold. Jasmin Handanovič spilled Alan's fourth-minute corner and Lima was left with a simple tap in from centimetres out. Maribor's miserable start worsened three minutes later when Alan skipped away from Dejan Trajkovski's challenge and curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.
The 2010/11 UEFA Europa League runners-up effectively killed the game with a third goal seven minutes before the interval when Maribor failed to deal with another Alan corner, and Elderson was on hand to head in from close range.
When Volaš neatly volleyed in Martin Milec's cross in the 62nd minute, the visitors momentarily saw a way back into the game, but Paulo Vinícius (85) and Mérida (90+1) struck in the closing stages to confirm a comfortable victory for the hosts, who are now level on seven points with Club Brugge KV and Birmingham City FC, who come to Portugal on matchday five.
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