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VIDEO: Koka scores as Braga win 3-1 vs Maritimo
Braga stayed within touching distance of the top 3 in Liga NOS with a 3-1 win over Madeira side Maritimo thanks to a Pedro Santos brace and a first half Koka goal, as Maritimo had to play the majority of the game with ten men.
Maritimo XI: Salin; João Diogo; Maurício; Romário Leiria; Patrick; Dirceu; Fransérgio; Éber Bessa; Lynneeker; Dyego Sousa; Edgar Costa.
Braga XI: Marafona; Marcelo Goiano; Ricardo Ferreira; Boly; Pedro Santos; Wilson; Mauro; Filipe Augusto; Josué; Koka; Rui Fonte.
Although Braga were without some of their big names such as Rafa and Luiz Carlos, they managed to win an early penalty after Mauricio brought down Rui Fonte, brother of Southampton captain José Fonte, near the edge of the box. Despite strong claims from Maritimo players that Mauricio got a touch on the ball, the Brazilian defender was sent off leaving Maritimo to play over 70 minutes with ten men. Pedro Santos went on to score the resulting penalty.
Soon after, Egyptian Ahmed Hassan ‘Koka’ doubled the advantage after attacking full back Marcelo Goiano’s cross found the imposing striker whose shot beat the helpless Salin for his 8th goal in 15 league appearances for the Arsenalistas.
Before half time, Braga seemed to put the game beyond all doubt as Pedro Santos doubled his personal tally after some unselfish play by Rui Fonte.
Maritimo, who are currently managed by former Zamalek coach Nelo Vingada, had some hope restored late in the first half when Dyego Sousa’s deflected effort made it 3-1.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) February 14, 2016
— SC Braga (@SCBragaOficial) February 14, 2016
The second half failed to produce the same levels of action, and Braga went on to close the game out at 3-1. The win leaves Braga seven points behind giants Porto who occupy 3rd place, leaving some faint hope of Braga finishing in a Champions League qualification place. Koka’s side still may still qualify by winning the Europa League, in which they face Swiss side Sion.