Two teams near the top end of Liga Portugal, Sporting Lisbon and SC Braga, will go head-to-head at the Jose Alvalade Stadium on Thursday night. Sporting, the hosts, go into this heavyweight clash ranked fourth with 32 points. Meanwhile, Braga currently sit second in the rankings have a eight-point lead over their upcoming opponent. While both teams will be motivated to impose their authority over the other and build on further momentum, there can be only one winner to take away maximum points from this fixture. Below we look at the comparison of some stats of both the teams from the current season of Liga Portugal.
Sporting have won ten, drawn two, and lost five matches this season. They have struggled to reach the consistency levels shown in recent seasons. Ruben Amorim’s team defeated Vizela 2-1 last week, making it three wins, and a draw and a loss each in their last five matches. They have scored 33 goals with an xG rate of 1.82 per match. Their defence has conceded 19 goals, averaging an xGA rate of 1.02. The above viz shows the percentile rank of Sporting’s stats compared to other teams in Liga Portugal. We can observe that Sporting have been competent in attack and possession but have faced some shortcomings in defence.
Alternatively, Braga has been one of the top performers in Liga Portugal this season. They have won 13, drawn one, and lost three matches thus far. Artur Jorge’s team has scored 39 goals and conceded 12. They average 2.12 xG and 1.13 xGA per match. Braga have shown excellent form in recent weeks as they are amidst a five-match winning streak in the league. They have scored goals on one end and defended well on the other end to secure all three points in most matches. Looking at the viz above, we can observe that Artur Jorge’s team possesses a high percentile rank in almost every department.
Sporting vs Braga: Efficiency of attacking moves
The two visuals above compare the two teams on the basis of positional play and counter-attacks. Both teams are neck-and-neck in terms of the efficiency of their attacking moves. While Sporting and Braga both have the highest efficiency of 13% for positional attacks, the latter has the upper hand for counterattacks. Sporting creates 33.35 positional attacks on average, and the number increases to 35.27 in home fixtures. Meanwhile, Braga creates 34 positional attacks per match while averaging 30.89 such attacks in away matches.
Alternatively, the Lions launch 1.76 counterattacks per match and clock 2.47 counterattacks at home. On the other hand, Artur Jorge’s team launches 2.18 counterattacks on average, with the number decreasing to 2.0 per match while on the road. We can expect the hosts to keep more possession and create more chances while the visitors adopt a more efficient approach to their attacking moves in this exciting clash.
The similarity in pressing and recoveries
The two visuals above compare both teams on the basis of pressing efficiency and recoveries. As we can see from the first visual, Braga are ranked second on the list with 50% pressing efficiency followed by Sporting in fourth with 48% efficiency in pressing. While the visitors are ranked in the top 84.2 percentile for a high pressing success rate, the hosts have a higher percentile rank of 89.4.
Both teams deploy a high-pressing style of play and this allows them to recover the ball in the attacking half. Despite having a slightly lesser rate of pressing efficiency, Sporting are able to recover the ball more frequently in the attacking half than their opponents. The team makes an average of 81.6 recoveries per match, compared to Braga’s average of 84.35 recoveries.
Pedro Goncalves is one of the best performers for Sporting this season, with nine goals and three assists to his name from 16 matches played. He is third in the league’s goal-scoring charts and takes 2.77 shots per match with 39% accuracy. The 24-year-old attacker will be one of Sporting’s main players to pose a threat to Braga’s backline in the match.
Braga captain Ricardo Horta has proven Braga’s most crucial player in the attack. He has been in fine form and is the team’s top goal scorer with eight goals and five assists. The 28-year-old has attempted 35 shots with a 40.9% accuracy rate in 16 matches this season. If Sporting wants to secure maximum points in this fixture, the defenders will have to ensure Ricardo Horta does not have a good game.
Sporting will miss the services of Daniel Bracanga, Luis Neto, and Dario Essugo due to various injuries. The rest of the players of the home team will be raring to play in this fixture.
Braga, on the other hand, are likely to name a full-strength starting eleven with no known injuries in their squad.
The stats indicate a highly competitive and thrilling fixture between Sporting and Braga. At home, Sporting will pose a tough challenge and aim to reduce the gap between teams ahead of them in the standings. Braga, on the other hand, will be motivated to give their best performance as they look to sustain their solid momentum and consolidate their claim on second spot further.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine