The race for Liga Portugal 2022/23 has a long way to go. Benfica currently leads the charge as defending champions FC Porto and some other rivals chase them for the title. One of the teams in contention is Sporting Braga, who have shown excellent away form. Currently third in the league table, the Braguistas could play UEFA Champions League football next season if they retain their position. They have won nine, drawn one, and lost three matches thus far. A brilliant start to the season has raised their hopes of clinching a top-three finish. We look at some stats that show why Sporting Braga have a good chance of playing in the Champions League next season.
While Braga started the season in spectacular fashion, their form has taken a slight dip with two losses in the last five league matches. They have scored 29 goals in 13 matches and conceded 12. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the team in attacking, defensive, and possession stats compared to other teams in Liga Portugal. Artur Jorge’s side is faring excellently in the attacking and possession stats, particularly in areas like shots taken and making entries into the final third. Their defensive stats are also pretty decent, but they will want to do better in areas like ball recoveries and successful pressures.
SC Braga’s outstanding away record
In terms of away form, Sporting Braga are on top of the table. They have six wins and one defeat from seven away matches. The team has scored 18 goals away from home and conceded seven, with an xG of 13.8 and xGA of 9.8. Braga’s away record has been much superior to their home record, which explains the team’s high placement in the league table.
The 29 goals scored by Braga are the third-highest in the league. They score an average of 2.57 goals per away match, compared to 1.83 goals per home match. The above viz shows the shot map of the team in the current season. We can observe that the Braguistas have scored the majority of their goals from in and around the 6-yard box. They average 19.4 shots per match, the most in the league, with almost 36% of them landing on target.
Artur Jorge’s side’s success in the attacking department is due to their high-intensity approach. Their desire to win possession in the final third has resulted in 145 high regains. Most of the 66 dangerous recoveries they have made are in the final third. The team has also made a few dangerous recoveries inside the opposition penalty box, leading to a shot on four occasions.
Portuguese forward Vitinha has been Braga’s key asset in attack. A right-footed player, he usually features on the left side of Braga’s front two as a striker and can score from range. He has five goals and two assists in 13 appearances in the league. Three of these goals and assists have come in away games. His side’s joint-leading goalscorer, the 22-year-old has taken 41 shots with an accuracy rate of 39%.
The 12 goals conceded by Sporting Braga are the fourth-lowest in the league. The team concedes an average of only 0.9 goals per game, less than their xGA per match of 1.14. The above viz depicts the team’s defensive territory this season. SC Braga gives away 13.6 fouls and makes 7.69 tackles and 10.4 interceptions per match. The team makes slightly more tackles and interceptions in their away matches compared to home games. Furthermore, four of the team’s seven clean sheets so far have come in away matches.
Braga’s defenders have displayed their determination to keep things tight and compact at the back. They have blocked a total of 38 shots between them. The 2.09 xG of these shots shows that a good chunk of the blocks were made inside their penalty box and have been crucial. This shows the commitment and willingness of the players to work hard and help their team get results.
One of the players who has been crucial at the back is defender Vitor Tormena, who plays as the right-sided centre-back. The 26-year-old Brazilian has made ten important blocks, a handful of them in his own penalty box. He also has the most clearances (46) and the second most interceptions (19) for his team.In away games, the centre-back averages 0.8 blocked shots and 3.9 clearances per game, both figures slightly higher compared to his stats in home matches.
In 2022–23, Sporting Braga have displayed similar levels of consistency compared to previous seasons. While they began the season with spectacular form, the momentum has slightly diminished in the last few games. With talent as well as experience among their ranks, the club will be hoping to mount a title challenge and secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine