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Rock-solid braga to chisel out a victory; FOOTBALL.

BRAGA v PACOS FERREIRA 7pm BRAGA are unbeaten at home and look value at 4-5 with Hills to get three points from tonight's Portuguese league match against Pacos Ferreira, writes Michael Brear.

The realistic target for Braga, who face a huge task to catch Benfica or Porto, is third. Vitoria Guimaraes sit three points ahead of them in that position, which is worth a place in next season's Champions League qualifiers.

The hosts looked flat at the start of the season but are on a roll now, having lost only one of their last 12 - a narrow defeat at Porto - and beat league leaders Benfica last time out.

Despite a slow start to the season themselves, Pacos are also in the mix for the European places and aren't in bad form. However, a midweek Portuguese Cup defeat at home to third-tier Famalicao suggested they will struggle to maintain their challenge.

Despite a slow start to the season themselves, Pacos are also in the mix for the European places and aren't in bad form. However, a midweek Portuguese Cup defeat at home to third-tier Famalicao suggests they will struggle to maintain their challenge.

Pacos have managed only two wins on the road, at Boavista and Penafiel. The visitors have committed the fewest fouls in the division and may lack the mean streak required to get the better of Braga, who have been criticised by Benfica coach Jorge Jesus for their aggressive approach.

Pacos top scorer Bruno Moreira is suspended and his place will be taken by Cicero, who has two goals to his name this term but has spent the last couple of years playing in the Kazakhstani league.

Recommendation Braga 2pts 4-5 Hills

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 22, 2014
Words:283
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