|Full name||Sporting Clube de Braga|
Os Arcebispos (The Archbishops)|
Os Arsenalistas (The Arsenal fans)
Os Minhotos (Those from Minho)
Os Guerreiros do Minho (The Minho Warriors)
|Founded||19 January 1921|
|Ground||Estádio Municipal de Braga|
|Head coach||José Peseiro|
|Website||Club home page|
Sporting Clube de Braga (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈspɔɾtĩŋ ˈkluβ(ɨ) ðɨ ˈβɾaɣɐ]) (Euronext: SCB), commonly known as Sporting de Braga or just Braga, is a Portuguese sports club, from the city of Braga. Its football team plays at the Estádio Municipal de Braga, also known as The Quarry and for commercial reasons the AXA Stadium, which was built for UEFA Euro 2004.
Domestically, Braga won the 1965–66 and 2015–16 Taça de Portugal and the 2012–13 Taça da Liga. In the 2000s, the club gradually became one of Portugal's most successful clubs after the Big Three and has competed with some success in European competitions, winning the last ever UEFA Intertoto Cup (the only Portuguese club to do so) in 2008 and reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League in 2011. After finishing in second place for the only time to date in the 2009–10 Primeira Liga, Braga achieved a place in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in its history by eliminating Celtic and Sevilla. Braga also qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2012–13 by eliminating Udinese.
Braga have been known as Arsenal do Minho and changed their kits from green and white to their Arsenal-style red during the 1945–46 (with the reserve squad) and the 1946–47 (with the main team) seasons due to their president José Antunes Guimarães who had business connections in London and was an Arsenal fan (this is one version of the story: the other one says that Josef Szabo, a Hungarian coach who loved Arsenal's playing style asked the president to change the green and white uniform to an Arsenal-style red). In that year (1947) they won the Second division title reaching the First division for the first time. Braga even renamed their youth team Arsenal de Braga.
The emblem of Sporting de Braga is the city of Braga's shield with Mother Mary and baby Jesus with the blue from the city's shield changed to red. On the top of the emblem is the golden Mural Crown of Braga, with the name Sporting Clube de Braga on it. Many fans of Braga have said that Mother Mary gives them luck. The fans of Braga are known as Arsenalistas due to their team home kit that resembles that of English club Arsenal. They are also known as Bracarenses because of being from the city of Bracari, later named Bracara Augusta, city of Portugal that is now known as Braga.
Aside from the loyalty of its supporters, the Minho derby against Vitória de Guimarães is a match that both sets of fans eagerly await. This match is more than football, it is a way people from the north view each city. The derby is one of Portugal's most intense matches, and children under 13 are restricted from entering unless an adult is with them. The rivalry goes back to when the City of Braga was the ancient capital of Gallaecia and the largest Portuguese city by the time the Kingdom of Portugal was formed by Afonso I of Portugal. At that time, Guimarães became the seat of the King and nobility, whereas Braga remained the centre of trade and religious power (largest city and seat of the Archbishop).
European ambitions and recent history
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Braga began to climb up the league ladder and eventually participated in the UEFA Competitions. Braga's recent run of successive European participations began in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, after finishing fifth under Jesualdo Ferreira's first full season in the club. This marked the beginning of their rise in success both in the League and Europe. In the 2005–06, they challenged for the championship until the penultimate round, ending fourth. In 2006–07, Portuguese up-and-coming manager Carlos Carvalhal became manager of the club and started with a poor start to the season, losing to AZ in the UEFA Cup despite crushing Czech Republic champions Slovan Liberec 4–0 (who had drawn against Sevilla only a week before), and a 4–1 loss to Madeiran side Marítimo. These losses proved to be the end of his season, despite success in European competitions, with an overall score of 3–2 against Italian club Chievo in the first round of the UEFA Cup. Carvalhal resigned and was replaced with Rogério Gonçalves with former Portugal captain Jorge Costa as assistant manager of the club. Gonçalves' first game in charge couldn't have gone better with a 3–1 over Benfica and a week after a hard-fought loss against UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup champions Sevilla in the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. After a 1–0 away defeat to União de Leiria in a league match on 18 February 2007, Gonçalves resigned. Braga president António Salvador announced on the same day that assistant manager Jorge Costa would be in charge until the end of the 2006–07 season. In his first game, Braga beat Parma 1–0 (2–0 on aggregate). They then played Tottenham Hotspur, where they lost 6–4 on aggregate in the last 16. Braga eventually finished fourth in the league for the third successive time, just beating Belenenses by a point on the last day.
During the summer of June 2007, it was presented that AXA would be the club's sponsors in a multimillion-dollar deal in which the name of the stadium was changed to Estádio AXA, with this being the first in Portugal.
After the 2006–07 season, Braga qualified for the UEFA Cup, where they faced Hammarby IF. Despite losing the first leg in Sweden 2–1, Braga won at home 4–0 to qualify to the group stage for the third consecutive time. There, their first game was against Bolton Wanderers where the game finished 1–1. Braga then played German giants Bayern Munich, who were the favourites to win the competition; despite the negative feedback, Braga drew 1–1 with Roland Linz scoring the vital goal. After that impressive display, Braga faced Aris with another 1–1 draw, with Linz scoring another vital goal for the Minhotos. Braga then went into the last game against Red Star Belgrade of Serbia where they picked up a 2–0 victory, which was enough to take them into the next round. They went on to face Werder Bremen but lost the first leg 3–0, in which Braga missed two penalties, and the second 1–0.
The 2008–09 UEFA Cup season saw the Minho club go against Bosnian club HŠK Zrinjski Mostar, who dropped from the UEFA Champions League second round. Braga started as favourites and beat Zrinjski Mostar 3–0 on aggregate. In the next phase, the Minho side were paired with Slovak giants Artmedia Petržalka, who were then beaten 6–0 on aggregate with Albert Meyong scoring a hat-trick in the process for Braga.
After qualifying for the UEFA Cup group stage proper for a third successive season, the Portuguese side were paired with FA Cup winners Portsmouth, Italian giants Milan, Wolfsburg of Germany, and Heerenveen of the Netherlands. Braga started the game at home to Portsmouth and were convincing 3–0 winners with Luis Aguiar scoring from a freekick and setting up the other two goals. This game proved to be Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp's last game as he then moved to Tottenham Hotspur. In the next group game, Braga faced a daunting task at the San Siro against the competition favourites Milan. The game finished in a 1–0 defeat for the Portuguese side. Despite the loss, Braga dominated the game for many long periods of time, holding the Italians to 0–0 after 93 minutes, but an individual goal from Ronaldinho from 35 metres out gave the Italians the full three points. The next game was against Felix Magath's Wolfsburg where Braga lost 3–2, despite scoring the first two goals. The last game was at the Abe Lenstra Stadion in the Netherlands against Heerenveen. Braga won the game 2–1 and progressed to the next stage. After getting further in the UEFA Cup than any of their ten fellow winners of the UEFA Intertoto Cup, Braga were declared the last outright champions of the competition.
In the 2010–11 season, Braga made their UEFA Champions League debut at home in a 3–0 win against Celtic in the first leg of the third qualifying round. They lost the second leg away at Celtic Park 2–1, but went through to the play-off round on an aggregate score of 4–2. In the fourth qualifying round, they beat Sevilla 1–0 at home and 4–3 away, thus entering the Champions League group stage for the first time. On 15 September 2010, Braga were heavily defeated 6–0 by Arsenal in their first group stage. On 28 September, Braga lost 3–0 against Shakhtar. On 19 October, Braga won 2–0 against Partizan. Two weeks later, on 3 November, Braga won 1–0 against Partizan in Belgrade. On 23 November, Braga beat Arsenal 2–0 at home, keeping their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive if they could better Arsenal's result during the final round of matches. However, on 9 December, Braga lost 2–0 to Shakhtar while Arsenal beat Partizan 3–1. The results meant that Shakhtar and Arsenal progressed to the second round, but Braga finished third in the group to qualify for the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League, where they would come to eliminate Lech Poznań, Liverpool and Dynamo Kyiv to reach the semifinals of the competition. It was the first time Braga reached the quarter-finals, and then the semi-finals of a European competition. It was also the first time three Portuguese clubs reached the Europa League's semi-finals simultaneously. On 28 April, Braga lost 2–1 against Benfica in the first leg of the semi-finals. On 5 May, Braga went on to win the tie in the second leg with a 1–0 home win to reach the Europa League Final 2011. On 18 May, Braga lost the final 1–0 to Porto.
In the 2012–13 season, Braga played for the second time in the group stage of the Champions League, after eliminating Udinese in the play-off round, by beating them in the penalties, after the first and second legs ended in 1–1. Braga lost the first game of the group stage of the Champions League to Cluj in home by 2–0 and won the second game by beating Galatasaray in Turkey by 2–0. In their third game, Braga visited Old Trafford where they were defeated by Manchester United, despite being winning by 0–2, Braga went down by 3–2. On the fourth matchday, Braga went on to receive Manchester United, but, after keeping a one-goal advantage until the 80th minute, they eventually conceded three goals, and lost 1–3. During their domestic season, they finished in 4th place, behind Paços de Ferreira, which got their Champions League vacancy.
Braga then reached back-to-back Taca de Portugal finals in 2015 and 2016. In the 2015 final Braga led Sporting Lisbon 2–0 but Sporting scored twice in the final few minutes – including a 93rd-minute equaliser – to send the match to extra time and a penalty shoot-out, which Sporting won. A year later, Braga once again saw a 2–0 lead disappear, this time against FC Porto who also equalised in injury time and took the game to a penalty shoot-out, but this time Braga prevailed for their second cup victory and first since 1966.
League and cup history
|Season||League||Cup||League Cup||Europe (UEFA)||Notes|
|2009–10||1st||2nd||30||22||5||3||48||20||71||QF||R3||Europa League||3rd QR||[A]|
|2010–11||1st||4th||30||13||7||10||45||33||46||Last 32||R3||Champions League||GS||[B][C][D]|
|2011–12||1st||3rd||30||19||5||6||59||29||62||Last 32||SF||Europa League||Last 32|
- A. ^ Best league finish.
- B. ^ First presence in the UEFA Champions League.
- C. ^ Braga started season in the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League and later joined UEFA Europa League after finishing 3rd in the group stage.
- D. ^ Best European competition finish.
Last updated: 18 March 2016
- Runners-up (1): 2009–10
- Winners (1): 2012–13
- Winners (2): 1946–47, 1963–64
- Winners (1): 2008 (Outright Winner)
- Runners-up (1): 2010–11
- Winners (1): 1976–77 (First Division)
- Runners-up (1): 1970–71
Update: 15 April 2016
|UEFA Champions League||2||18 (7W 2D 9L)||-||Group Stage (10/11 and 12/13)|
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup||3||10 (6W 1D 3L)||-||Last 16 (66/67 and 98/99)|
|UEFA Europa League||13||81 (32W 18D 31L)||-||Runner-up (10/11)|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||1||2 (2W 0D 0L)||1||Champion (08/09)|
|Total||19||111 (47W 21D 43L)||1|
- As of 1 Sep 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
- Braga break into big time, uefa.com. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- "Braga 3 – 0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- Grahame, Ewing (4 August 2010). "Celtic 2 Sporting Braga 1; agg 2–4: match report". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Sevilla dumped out by Sporting Braga". CNN.com. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Arsenal 6 – 0 Braga". BBC Sport. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
- ""Podíamos ter ganho o jogo nos 90 minutos" – Rúben Micael" ["We could have won the game in 90 minutes" – Rúben Micael]. A Bola. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- ""Estou satisfeito e emocionado; fomos uma equipa soberba" – José Peseiro" ["I'm satisfied and emotional; we were a sober team" – José Peseiro]. A Bola. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Mil adeptos receberam a equipa, Salvador levado em ombros (fotos)" [A thousand fans welcomed the team, Salvador taken on shoulders (photos)]. A Bola. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "SC Braga Honours". record.pt. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- "More about SC Braga". fcdynamo.kiev. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- Upon the formation of the Liga de Honra (League of Honor), a new second level national league in 1990, the Portuguese Second Division became the third tier of Portuguese football.
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