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Braga vs Monaco: UEFA Europa League background, form guide, previous meetings

Fresh from a dramatic penalty shoot-out success in their knockout round play-off, Braga return to the Estádio Municipal to take on Group B winners Monaco.

Braga beat Sheriff on penalties to reach this stage
Braga beat Sheriff on penalties to reach this stage AFP via Getty Images

Fresh from a dramatic penalty shoot-out success in their UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off, Braga return to the Estádio Municipal to take on Monaco, who qualified directly for the round of 16 in the autumn as unbeaten winners of Group B.

• Braga completed a hat-trick of UEFA Europa League group stage qualifications by picking up ten points in Group F and finishing as runners-up to Crvena zvezda. They then overcame Moldovan champions Sheriff 3-2 on penalties in February after both teams had won their home leg 2-0, thus ending a run of three successive aggregate defeats in the competition's knockout phase.

• After narrowly missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification last summer, Monaco won three and drew three of their UEFA Europa League group stage matches, taking four points each off Sturm Graz, PSV Eindhoven and fellow qualifiers Real Sociedad.

Braga vs Monaco: the latest from the match

Previous meetings
• This is the clubs' first meeting in UEFA competition.

• Braga have lost both previous European knockout ties against French opposition, going down to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16 (0-0 a, 0-1 h) and Marseille in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (0-3 a, 1-0 h). Their only other matches against a French club were also against Marseille, in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage (3-2 h, 0-1 a).

• Monaco have lost five of their nine matches against Portuguese teams (W2 D2), including their 3-0 defeat by Porto in the 2004 UEFA Champions League final in Gelsenkirchen. The only time they have avoided defeat in Portugal was on their first visit, when they drew 1-1 at Belenenses in the 1989/90 European Cup Winners' Cup first round first leg before winning the tie – their only previous two-legged contest against Portuguese opponents – 4-1 on aggregate. In addition to their three away defeats to Portuguese clubs, Monaco lost the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup final in Lisbon, going down 2-0 to Werder Bremen.

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Form guide
• Braga's 2021/22 UEFA Europa League group stage berth, and the club's 17th European qualification in the last 18 years, was achieved on two fronts – with a fourth-placed finish in the Portuguese Liga and a third Portuguese Cup triumph, which they secured with a 2-0 victory over Benfica in the final. Carlos Carvalhal's side also reached last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to Roma.

• Runners-up to Leicester City in last season's group stage, Braga also had to settle for second place this term, a 1-1 home draw against Crvena zvezda on Matchday 6 leaving them as runners-up in Group F behind the Serbian champions, who had defeated them 2-1 in Belgrade on Matchday 1. Six of Braga's ten points came at the expense of Ludogorets (1-0 a, 4-2), while they took three off Midtjylland (3-1 h, 2-3 a) to finish one ahead of the Danish side.

• The team from northern Portugal are competing in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for the third time. Though defeated in the round of 32 on each of their last three participations, they have a perfect record at this stage of the competition, having eliminated Liverpool in 2010/11 (1-0 h, 0-0 a) en route to the final, which they lost in Dublin to Porto, and Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 (0-1 a, 4-1 h).

• Braga's record at home in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W6 D2 L4, the 2-0 win against Sheriff last time out coming after successive defeats by Rangers (0-1) and Roma (0-2).

• Third in last term's Ligue 1, five points behind champions LOSC Lille, Monaco returned to Europe in 2021/22 after a two-season absence.

• The team from the Principality had a tenth appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage in their sights this term, but after overcoming Sparta Praha convincingly in the third qualifying round, Niko Kovač's side were edged out after extra time in the play-offs by Shakhtar Donetsk, thus moving over into the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they were convincing section winners, getting the better of Sturm (1-0 h, 1-1 a), Real Sociedad (1-1 a, 2-1 h) and PSV (2-1 a, 0-0 h). Kovač was replaced as head coach in January by Philippe Clement, who arrived from Belgian champions Club Brugge.

• This is Monaco's first appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, their only previous participation in the competition proper having ended in the 2015/16 group stage. They were UEFA Champions League semi-finalists in 2016/17.

• Monaco are unbeaten on their European travels this term (W2 D3), but the win in Eindhoven on Matchday 3 is their only one on the road in their last ten UEFA competition matches outside the qualifying phase (D5 L4), since a 3-2 victory at Borussia Dortmund in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: David Carmo, Dinis Pinto, Bernardo Fontes
Out: Mario González (Tenerife, loan), Chiquinho (Benfica, end loan), Raul Silva (Estoril, loan), Lucas Piazón, Galeno (Porto)

In: Vanderson (Grêmio), Jean Marcelin
Out: Krépin Diatta, Wilson Isidor (Lokomotiv Moskva)

Links and trivia 
• Monaco's 21-cap Portuguese international Gelson Martins joined the club from Atlético de Madrid in 2019 having started his career at Sporting CP, where his record against Braga was W3 D1 L3. He played alongside current Braga players Paulo Oliveira and Iuri Medeiros at the Lisbon club.

• Braga have a 19-year-old French midfielder, Jean-Baptiste Gorby, in their squad. He joined the club as a youth team player from Nantes in 2019.

• The clubs met in a goalless friendly in Braga on 24 July 2019.

• Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim has been in charge of both clubs. Braga's boss in 2011/12, he led Monaco to the French Ligue 1 title and UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2016/17.

• Braga have scored exactly 100 goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, becoming the 13th club to reach a century in the competition – and the third from Portugal, after Sporting (109 goals) and Benfica (102) – when Ricardo Horta struck their second against Sheriff on 24 February.

• In appearing for Braga in the first leg of the knockout round play-off against Sheriff, Roger Fernandes became, at the age of 16 years 88 days, the youngest ever UEFA Europa League participant, group stage to final.

• Braga are one of three current domestic cup winners in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, along with Barcelona and Crvena zvezda.

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