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VIDEO: Koka’s goal gives Braga 1-0 win over Groningen in Europa League
Egypt international Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ scored his first Braga goal in a largely uneventful Europa League tie against Dutch Cup champions FC Groningen, leading the Portuguese side to win 1-0.
Braga XI: Matheus; Boly; Carlos; Djavan (Pedro Santos); Fonte (Wilson); Rafa; Koka; Alan; Arghus (Mauro); Vukcevic; Goiano.
Groningen XI: Padt; Kappelhof; Reijnen; de Leeuw (Hoesen); Rusnak (Larsen); Linssen; Mahi (Antonia); Tibbling; Maduro; Tamata; Hateboer.
After a close start, Braga took an early lead through Koka. The Egyptian striker opened the scoring in the fifth minute as he received the ball from Rafa Silva, moved past one defender and finished with his left foot past Sergio Padt.
Braga continued to create chances, as Benfica loanee Rui Fonte took the ball past a defender before hitting the underside of the crossbar as the ball bounced off the line, however the ball didn’t cross.
Groningen struggled to get the ball out of their own half, with their first clear chance coming near the end, as Linssen’s volley went just over the bar.
In a quieter second half, Groningen showed more intent to win the game, however the Arsenalistas defended well throughout, with their pressing game stopping Groningen from creating any clear chances.
The Dutch side couldn’t trouble Braga too much until the 97th minute when they won a corner, for which the goalkeeper was sent up. However, Braga cleared and Brazilian right back Marcelo Goiano carried the ball roughly 80 yards giving himself an open goal, however he delayed his chance and Antonia tracked back to tackle him in the last action of the game.
The result leaves Braga on top of their group with six points from two games, with Groningen bottom having lost both games. Czech side Slovan Liberec picked up a shock win away at Marseille in the groups other game today, with both of those teams on three points each.