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Jesus finds something divine in Braga

Published: Friday 24 October 2008, 18.50CET
Coach Jorge Jesus hopes SC Braga's landmark 3-0 UEFA Cup win against Portsmouth FC will alert Europe to his side's pedigree, noting with pride: "Show me a Portuguese team that have done as well as we have."
by José Nuno Pimentel
from Lisbon
Jesus finds something divine in Braga
Alan scores one of Braga's three goals against Portsmouth ©Getty Images
 
 
Published: Friday 24 October 2008, 18.50CET

Jesus finds something divine in Braga

Coach Jorge Jesus hopes SC Braga's landmark 3-0 UEFA Cup win against Portsmouth FC will alert Europe to his side's pedigree, noting with pride: "Show me a Portuguese team that have done as well as we have."
Coach Jorge Jesus hopes SC Braga's landmark 3-0 UEFA Cup win against Portsmouth FC will alert the continent's big clubs to his team's pedigree, noting that his side "have won all seven of our matches in Europe this season, scored 17 goals and not conceded".

Superb win
Second-half goals from Alan and Rentería sealed a great Group E victory for the Portuguese side after Luis Aguiar had given them the lead before the break, and also give Braga a triumph against English opposition for the first time in eight UEFA club competition games. However, the 54-year-old Jesus was adamant the result was no more than his side deserved.

'Surprise package'
"We were the better side by far," he said. "We faced a quality team playing direct football towards Peter Crouch and we managed to control that strategy. We prepared well for this game and deserved to win. We are no closer to qualifying as AC Milan, [VfL] Wolfsburg and Portsmouth are very good teams but today we were tremendous. I think Braga can be the surprise package of this group."

Impressive run
Having kicked off their European campaign in the third and final round of this summer's UEFA Intertoto Cup, Braga have hit a startling run of form in continental competition, though they are yet to find their feet in the Liga, lying 12th after five games. "We have won all seven of our matches in Europe this season, scored 17 goals and not conceded," said Jesus with pride.

Minho Arsenal
Beating English opponents had a little added edge for Braga, not least because they were knocked out of last season's competition by Tottenham Hotspur FC. The club wore green-and-white hoops in honour of Sporting Clube de Portugal until they switched to their current red-and-white kit, a nod towards London giants Arsenal FC that would see them pick up their nickname of the Minho Arsenal.

High stakes
Braga's only major honour to date came in winning the 1966 Portuguese Cup, but some feel the northern side are strong enough to compete for the title, and Jesus may be one of them. "We have played 14 competitive matches this season and won ten of them," he said. "It's a spectacular start for us. It's true that we have not been so great in the Liga but we are still playing in all competitions. Show me a Portuguese team that have done as well as we have."

Last updated: 24/10/08 14.23CET

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