Hosts Braga kicked off their UEFA Regions' Cup Group A campaign with a deserved victory against Zlín Region courtesy of a Hugo Veiga penalty and second-half strikes from Diogo Leite and João Silva.
Dominant from the start, Braga fashioned a fine chance on 16 minutes, with José Ferreira ghosting past his man on the left flank and setting up Pedro Nobre, but the 23-year-old's shot was blocked by a Czech defender. Petr Zapletal's Zlín looked to have recovered their composure as half-time approached, but were undone just before the break, as a push on captain Daniel Simões in the area resulted in a penalty, converted by Veiga.
The two teams came back energised after the break, but Braga's more elegant style of play was to win out. Renato Reis, impressive throughout on the left, delivered a ball on 54 minutes which Leite dispatched into the net with a superb flick. Patrik Nanák was then dismissed for a professional foul, with any lingering hopes of a Zlín revival snuffed out when Silva made it 3-0 with a terrific free-kick with 25 minutes to go.
Roman Danek restored some pride for the Czech side with a goal from the penalty spot after Braga were penalised for a handball, but they have it all to do when they take on Württembergischer FV on Thursday. Dito's Braga, meanwhile, can take a step towards the final as they meet Ukraine's Yednyst Plysky on the same day.
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