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Koka’s Braga brushed aside by Benfica
Koka failed to make an impact as his Braga side fell to a 3-1 loss away at Lisbon giants Benfica, as Greece international Kostas Mitroglou scored a brace.
Going into the game at the Estadio da Luz, both sides had picked up 10 points from their opening four games of the season, and so a win was crucial to keep pace with early frontrunners Sporting and Porto.
Braga, who are managed by former Al Ahly coach Jose Peseiro, would not have been expecting a win from this game, especially after losing star forward Rafa Silva to the opposition over the summer transfer window.
Early on in the game, there were chances falling to both sides, with Mitroglou and Salvio in particular looking dangerous for the home side, however Marafona and Cesar did well to keep it at 0-0.
The deadlock was eventually broken halfway through the first half through Greece international Kostas Mitroglou, after Guedes’ fine work on the left wing followed by a pull back across goal, and Mitroglou peeled away from the defenders and curled it to the far post on his cultured left foot.
Although Benfica would create several chances to extend the lead, and Braga were hemmed in in their own half, a good performance by Marafona would keep the score at 1-0 for a large portion of the first half.
However, Arsenalista’s hearts were broken as Benfica took the lead in very fortunate fashion, as the ball took a freak ricochet off a Braga defender and fell to Pizzi who finished past Marafona. Pizzi was in an offside position when the ball was played, and despite Braga appeals the goal stood as the ball came off of a Braga player last.
Peseiro’s men capitulated as just two minutes later, Mitroglou doubled his account for the season with a simple header from close range.
Braga, would get a consolation goal in stoppage time through Rosic, with a deft header from a corner to the far post, however it was too little too late. Koka – who was close to signing for Benfica recently – was unable to make a significant impact in the final third over the game.
The result puts Benfica to the top of the table, as one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the league. Koka’s Braga side are in fifth place, but only trail the leaders by three points.