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Sheriff Should Qualify vs. Braga

Moldovan Side Takes 2-0 Lead into Second Leg

Upsets not New for Sheriff

Sheriff Tiraspol, the darlings of the Champions League Group Stage, are back at it again in the first Europa League knockout round. The Moldovan minnows secured a 2-0 victory in the first leg vs Sporting Braga and just need to avoid a two-goal defeat in Portugal to advance.

The latest soccer lines list Braga as a one-goal favorite and they’ll need to cover the spread just to force extra time here.

Sheriff Should Qualify Over Braga
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Braga vs Sheriff Tiraspol Betting Preview

  • Game: S.C. Braga vs FC Sheriff Tiraspol
  • Location: Estádio Municipal de Braga, Braga, Portugal
  • Date/Time: Thursday, 3 p.m. ET
Team Handicap Moneyline Total Team Total
Sporting Braga
-1 -140
-235 2½-105o 1½-145o

1½+115u

Sheriff Tiraspol +1 +110 +800 2½-125u ½-110o

½-120u

Draw +335

Braga vs Sheriff Head to Head

Braga and Sheriff Tiraspol met for the first time last Thursday. In the first leg, Sheriff picked up an impressive 2-0 win despite being dominated in possession and playing their first match since December. Sebastien Thill and Adama Traore were the two goal scorers for the Transnistrian club.

Braga Needs Big Win

Braga’s 1-0 win over Tondela on Sunday in the Primeira Liga marked a fourth win in their last five league matches. Ricardo Horta, who’s been absolutely vital for the Archbishops, scored the match-winner.

Horta has 14 league goals and he’s added three more in the Europa League. He’s already beaten his personal best for goals in a season with 11 games still remaining. If the winger continues playing like this, surely the Portuguese national team should give him a look. Braga may need a huge performance from him here to bail them out, especially since their Europa League leading scorer, Galeno, made a move to Porto in January.

One of the better soccer picks in the Primeira Liga, Braga are in fourth and comfortably in line for European qualification again next season. They picked up their biggest win of the season a few weeks back, defeating Sporting Lisbon on the road 2-1.

With just two home losses, Braga should be confident coming into this one and expect Carlos Carvalhal to throw the kitchen sink at Sheriff.

Injuries: LB Nuno Sequeira – Out (ACL Tear); DM Lucas Mineiro – Doubtful (Meniscus)

Sheriff Used to Being Underdogs

Sheriff Tiraspol haven’t played a domestic match since December, as the Moldovan League is on winter break until March. They showed no signs of rust last week vs Braga and picked up a win as big underdogs.

That’s nothing new for Sheriff, who pulled off the greatest upset in the history of the Champions League in September. Sheriff came into the Santiago Bernabeu unfazed by the big stage and beat Real Madrid 2-1 to briefly move to the top of their Champions League group. Picking up two wins in a group with Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk is no small feat, and still Sheriff are being underestimated based on recent scores and odds.

The club from the breakaway state of Transnistria look poised to win their second straight title in the Moldovan National Division and could very well qualify for next season’s Champions League again, but will have to, once again, get through four qualifying rounds. The experience they have, knocking off Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb on aggregate last summer, should serve them well here.

Sheriff didn’t lose a single away game in their two-leg Champions League qualifiers and they seem to relish being the underdog. Manager Yuriy Vernydub has done an excellent job with his team and, rest assured, they’ll be prepared for this match.

Injuries: None to Report

Braga vs Sheriff Prediction

All Sheriff Tiraspol needs to do to qualify is not lose by two goals and even if they do, they’ll have extra time and potentially penalties to qualify. Sheriff have only lost by two or more to Real Madrid and Inter Milan in the last two years and are competitive in nearly every match they play.

Braga certainly isn’t on the same level as either of those teams and they’ve scored just eight goals in their last seven matches. Braga may win this match but bet sports online and take Sheriff to keep it close and advance.

Pick: Sheriff Tiraspol to Qualify (-215)

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