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Koka’s Braga lose to Shakhtar in Europa League

SC Braga lost to Shakhtar Donetsk 1-2 at the Estadio Municipal de Braga in the first leg of the Europa League quarter finals ahead of a difficult away leg in Ukraine.

The hosts started the game with an attacking mentality, causing the Shakhtar defense a lot of problems. In the first minute of play, Braga’s Rafa Silva danced around the defenders before sending a powerful shot that was cleared by the goalkeeper for a corner. In the fourth minute, attempted a shot, but it went wide. In the sixth minute, Shakhtar conceded another corner when Stojiljkovic’s shot was deflected out by the defenders. The visitors began to fall back and rely on counter attacks to reach Braga’s penalty area.

The home team continued to rain Shakhtar’s goal with chances, but with no real danger as the stalemate continued. The most notable chance belonged to Rafa Silva, in the 24th minute, but his shot went straight into the hands of the goalkeeper. ’s first shot came in the 33rd minute, but Taison’s shot was blocked by the defense. Soon after, the visitors began to take control of the ball and launch more dangerous chances toward Braga’s goal.

Braga enjoyed 60% ball possession, but lacked composure in front of goal as they failed to convert any of their ten shots to goals.

In the 43rd minute, Shakhtar received a corner due to sloppy defending from Braga. The corner was played to the near post before being flicked towards Yaroslav Rakitskiy at the far post, who, unmarked, side-footed the ball into the net to score from Shakhtar’s only shot on target in the first half.

In the second half, the hosts seemed shaken by the visitor’s late first-half goal, allowing the Donetsk players to threaten their goal twice in the first four minutes. In the 52nd minute, Rafa Silva’s shot hit the crossbar and no one in the box could find the net.

The visitors gained confidence and pressed high, overwhelming the Braga midfield and defense and forcing them to make mistakes. However, the home side didn’t give up and sent men forward, but that proved to be costly when Facundo Ferreyra was left unmarked in the penalty area to double Shakhtar’s lead.

Braga’s players pushed up even higher up the pitch in search of a goal, which finally came in the 88th minute through Wilson Eduardo’s header.

Koka and his teammates are now in a tough position as they need to score two goals without conceding in the second leg of the quarter finals that will be played next Thursday, April 14.

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