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Braga leave it late against Parma

SC Braga 1-0 Parma FC A late strike from Zé Carlos broke Parma's resistance and gave the high-flying Portuguese Liga outfit the first-leg advantage.

Timely goal
The Serie A strugglers looked to be putting themselves in a strong position to reach the last 16, having kept a clean sheet for 81 minutes in Portugal, but the No77's strike leaves Claudio Ranieri's men needing to score at least once in the return leg next week.

Braga pressure
Ranieri's side gave a display of the defensive arts on his debut as Parma coach, as Rogério Gonçalves's team pushed the visitors back in search of the breakthrough. Paulo Jorge volleyed over following a corner from Braga's former Portugal forward João Pinto, before at the other end, a Parma breakaway culminated in goalkeeper Paulo Santos punching away a Luca Cigarini drive. From the resulting corner, Cigarini fired wide.

Parma resist
João Pinto then served notice of Braga's intent with a shot that flashed over the crossbar moments before half-time. Zé Carlos followed suit moments after the restart, with an effort from the 31-year-old Brazilian whistling past a post. Parma keeper Luca Bucci was next in action to deny Césinha, before attempts from Bruno Gama and Ricardo Chaves maintained Braga's forward momentum.

Late drama
Parma substitute Daniele Paponi was introduced and immediately booked. He also provided his side's only shot of note of the second period. Zlatan Muslimović might have made more of a rare Parma attack in the 77th minute, yet it was the Portuguese Liga's fourth-placed club who eventually broke the deadlock. Zé Carlos received a pass 12 metres out and let fly a low right-footed shot that nestled into the bottom corner. Daniele Dessena then curled an effort wide, but Parma will have to produce a more emphatic response if they are to turn the tie around next Thursday in Italy.