SC Braga are off to a flying start in UEFA Cup Group E thanks to a comfortable win against Portsmouth FC.
Portsmouth are participating in their maiden European campaign and began the competition by knocking out Vitória SC. But while Braga are below their domestic rivals in the Portuguese Liga table, they got the better of England's FA Cup holders courtesy of Luis Aguiar's early free-kick and strikes at either end of the second half by Renteria and Alan.
Braga's team has a strong South American influence and it was a Uruguayan who broke the deadlock on eight minutes – Luis Aguiar's 25-metre free-kick swerving past the helpless David James. Portsmouth looked to respond as Peter Crouch's lob sent Jermain Defoe clear but the England forward shot straight at Eduardo. Crouch had earlier headed Glen Little's free-kick too high, yet Braga were clearly in the ascendancy with Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin having to do some desperate defending.
Vandinho warmed James's hands with another stinging strike from distance and Campbell nodded over his own bar from another Luis Aguiar free-kick. Then, 90 seconds after the interval, Colombian striker Renteria doubled the lead, timing his run perfectly to nip through the centre of Portsmouth's back line and finish coolly after a smart link-up between Albert Meyong and the busy Luis Aguiar.
The Premier League outfit had the ball in the net themselves just before the hour when Crouch's header went in off the body of defender Evaldo after goalkeeper Eduardo fumbled, but a flag was raised for offside. And as time ran out Brazilian attacker Alan scored the third from close range. Portsmouth now have a month to recover before AC Milan visit Fratton Park; Braga go to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on 6 November.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.