United take on emboldened Braga
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Group H leaders Manchester United FC have never lost at home to Portuguese opponents but SC Braga's recent away run will give the visitors reason to believe at Old Trafford.
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Manchester United FC will look to strengthen their position at the top of Group H when they welcome SC Braga to Old Trafford.
• With two victories, Sir Alex Ferguson's team hold a three-point lead over both CFR 1907 Cluj and Braga, who gained an impressive 2-0 win at point-less Galatasaray AŞ last time out.
• United have never lost at home to Portuguese opponents but José Peseiro's Braga are on a seven-match unbeaten sequence on their travels in Europe.
• Before beating Galatasaray, Braga drew 1-1 at Udinese Calcio in this season's play-offs. Their run also includes a 3-1 victory at Birmingham City FC in last term's UEFA Europa League group stage, Hélder Barbosa (2) and Lima earning a first victory on English soil at the seventh attempt.
• Braga's first game in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2010/11 was a 6-0 reverse at Arsenal FC, Hugo Viana, Paulo César, Alan, Mossoró and Barbosa all featuring. That was the Portuguese club's joint-heaviest defeat in Europe, matching a 6-0 reverse at Tottenham Hotspur FC in the 1984/85 UEFA Cup first round.
• Braga have since gone five games unbeaten against English opposition, including a 1-0 aggregate success against Liverpool FC in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 and home and away wins over Birmingham in 2011/12.
• In last season's group stage, United drew 1-1 at SL Benfica and were then held 2-2 at Old Trafford. The Lisbon club – for whom Ruben Amorim played in both games – won the group with United third.
• United's home record against Portuguese teams is W8 D3 L0. In addition, they won the first of their three European Cups by beating Benfica 4-1 in the 1968 final at Wembley.
• Peseiro's Sporting Clube de Portugal eliminated Middlesbrough FC and Newcastle United FC en route to the 2004/05 UEFA Cup final. Peseiro served as assistant to Sir Alex's former No2 Carlos Queiroz at Real Madrid CF in 2003/04.
• Jonny Evans was in the Northern Ireland side that drew 1-1 in Portugal in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 16 October. Rúben Micael and substitutes Ruben Amorim and Éder played for Portugal, as did Nani, with Beto and Custódio unused replacements.
• Nani made his senior debut under Peseiro in Sporting's UEFA Champions League qualifier against Udinese Calcio in August 2005. He appeared three times as a substitute prior to the coach's dismissal in October 2005.
• Nani played alongside substitute Custódio as Sporting beat Amorim's CF Os Belenenses 1-0 in the 2007 Portuguese Cup final. Nani scored the only goal when Sporting won 1-0 at Braga in April 2007.
• Nani was replaced by Amorim after being ruled out of Portugal's 2010 World Cup squad with a collarbone injury.
• Custódio was in the Portugal side whose 2-1 group win eliminated Robin van Persie's Netherlands from UEFA EURO 2012.
• Anderson spent two seasons with Porto (2005-07), collecting a league championship medal in 2006/07. He played alongside Alan in both campaigns and briefly with Barbosa in 2005/06.
• While at Newcastle (2002-04), Viana featured as a substitute in two home games against United, losing 6-2 in April 2003 and 2-1 that September. Paul Scholes scored a hat-trick in the first match and the winner in the second.
• Viana also came on as Portugal beat the red-carded Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand's England on penalties in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, despite Viana's own missed spot kick.
• Quim was in the Benfica team beaten 3-1 at Old Trafford in the 2006/07 group stage, Nemanja Vidić and Ryan Giggs both scoring. The previous season, despite conceding a goal to Scholes, he helped Benfica to a 2-1 home victory that eliminated United from the group stage.
FARE Action Week
• Matchday three of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will contribute to the fight against all forms of discrimination in football stadiums as UEFA gives its full support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign – the FARE Action Week. Forty matches across the competitions on 23, 24 and 25 October will restate UEFA's commitment to ensuring that European football is free of racism, intolerance and xenophobia.