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Braga face cross-border threat

SC Braga welcome Sevilla FC to northern Portugal for the first leg of their play-off tie as they look to take the final step towards a first UEFA Champions League group stage appearance.

Braga's Alan celebrates scoring against Celtic
Braga's Alan celebrates scoring against Celtic ©UEFA.com

SC Braga must overcome the sizeable obstacle of Sevilla FC if they are to achieve their dream of a first appearance in the group stage.

• The Portuguese team have never played UEFA Champions League football before and face a Sevilla side who are aiming for their third participation in four years.

Previous meetings
• Sevilla won 2-0 when the clubs met for the first time in the UEFA Cup group stage in 2006/07 thanks to goals from Luis Fabiano (40 minutes) and Ernesto Chevantón (76).

• Neither of the coaches involved – Juande Ramos for Sevilla and Rogério Gonçalves for Braga – remains at their respective clubs. The full lineups for the match at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on 23 November 2006 were:
Sevilla: Palop, Dani Alves, Navarro, Escudé, Castedo Escudero, Adriano (Alfaro 77), Poulsen, Renato, Puerta, Luis Fabiano (Chevantón 66), Kanouté (Kepa Blanco 78).
Braga: Paulo Santos; Luís Filipe, Paulo Jorge, Nem (Castanheira 70), Carlos Fernandes (João Pinto 82), Frechaut, Vandinho, Ricardo Chaves, Maciel, Zé Carlos (Wender 70), Cesinha.

Match background
• After securing second place in Portugal last term – their highest finish ever – Braga beat Celtic FC to reach the play-off round, winning 3-0 at home before a 2-1 defeat in Glasgow.

• In last season's UEFA Europa League, Braga missed out on the group stage after losing to Sweden's IF Elfsborg in the third qualifying round.

• Sevilla have played in Europe's elite club competition three times previously. They were quarter-finalists in 1957/58 and contested the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2007/08, eventually losing to Fenerbahçe SK in the last 16, and again last season, when they reached the first knockout round before succumbing to PFC CSKA Moskva.

• The Andalusian club first met Portuguese opposition in the preliminary round of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1957/58, ousting SL Benfica 3-1 on aggregate thanks to a first-leg home victory by that same scoreline.

• Since then they have faced two other two-legged ties against clubs from over the border. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 1983/84 UEFA Cup first round – suffering a 3-2 second-leg reverse in Lisbon – but overcame CD Nacional at the same stage of the UEFA Cup in 2004/05 thanks to a 2-1 home win and 2-0 victory in Madeira.

• Sevilla also beat Vitória SC 3-1 at home in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.

Team ties
• As a player, Braga coach Domingos Paciência spent two seasons in Spanish football with CD Tenerife from 1997-99 and also played against Spain for his country in a 2-2 draw in January 1994.

• Jesús Navas was an unused substitute in Spain's Round of 16 victory against Portugal at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Portugal's goalkeeper Eduardo was a Braga player at the time but has since joined Genoa CFC.

• Sevilla's Brazilian international Luis Fabiano played against Portugal in the countries' goalless draw in the World Cup group stage.

• Spaniard Fernando Castro Santos coached both Braga and Sevilla. After leaving Braga during 1997/98, he replaced Julián Rubio at Sevilla, then in the Spanish second division, but failed to win promotion. He had a second spell with Braga during 2002/03.

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