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Braga

Ground: Estádio Municipal de Braga

Visits: 1

Date: 6th January 2018

Match: Braga - Rio Ave  2-1  (Primeira Liga)

Attendance: 8 513

The only game in the Premeira Liga today was Sporting Braga v Rio Ave. Kick-off was at 20.30 and having already being been to two games it was nice to have something to eat and drink and then have a rest in my warm room before setting off for Estádio Municipal de Braga. The ground was built for the 2004 European Championships and was opened in 2003. In many ways this is a unique football ground. Capacity is 30 000 but the ground only has two stands. The ground was carved from the Monte de Castro quarry that overlook Braga and the south end of the ground is a rock wall. Having already been to the ground to buy tickets we only arrived 50 minutes before kick-off and we quickly found a strategic parking space. Earlier in the day it was impossible to get really close to the ground but now we could it was impossible not to be stunned and to me this ground is an engineering masterpiece. Our seats were on the far side and to get there we had to enter a tunnel. This tunnel went under the ground and this is the first time I have been under the pitch! There is also a car park in this tunnel and imagine trying to convince someone their parking space is under the pitch. Our seats were in row 21 and from there we had a good view. It felt quite strange to be inside a ground with two massive stands and then no stands in the ends.

Sporting Clube de Braga is the full name of the club and despite never winning the Portuguese league title the club has established themselves as one of Portugal´s most successive clubs outside of the big three. Braga are currently fourth in the table and only a few points from a Champions League spot. Having been to two poor games earlier in the day I was pleased this game was a really good one. From the start it was a clear difference in player quality compared to the other games. Braga are chasing the last Champions League spot and it started well for the, 1-0 in the 19th minute. Rio Ave are 5th in the table and in the latter stages of the first half they went on attack and created several good chances. In the 42nd minute they managed to equalize and at half-time home fans around us weren´t pleased. To be fair some were furious! Rio Ave started the second half the better team but Braga gradually took control of the game again. The game was by now really good and entertaining and when Braga made it 2-1 in the 82nd minute Estádio Municipal de Braga exploded in celebrations. Three important points for the home team and with the last game being the best it was a great end to this tour.

Julian will go to two games tomorrow but I will fly back home . Five games, including the Lisbon derby, for me in Portugal and my first ever treble. I have to be very pleased with my trip and when I find interesting games/combinations I will most likely be back in Portugal.

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Welcome to Braga

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Estádio Municipal de Braga

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Estádio Municipal de Braga at night

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Tunnel leading to our stand

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Solid foundations

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North End

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East Stand

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South End

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Teams and officials entering

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Rio Ave fans

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Flags

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Kick-off

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View of play

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East Stand

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View of play

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Braga fans

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Goal for Braga!

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Celebrating Braga fans

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Pano

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Pano