The game that ended the 22nd round of the championship promised strong emotions. Vitória de Guimarães and Sporting de Braga faced each other in another derby Minho. Usually a close game, this Monday’s clash between Victorians and Braga had as an additional enticing chance for them to rise to second place in the standings, overtaking FC Porto. But the visit to the neighbor’s house did not go well for the “arsenalistas” who saw a penalty and an expulsion pave the way for a 2-1 victory for the rival.
The two teams arrived at this duel at different times. While the Victorians had managed three wins and a draw in their last four games, Braga had two defeats and the same number of wins. It is true that the defeats were in European matches (against Fiorentina, in the Conference League) but they were still penalizing for Artur Jorge’s team, as not only did they mean several goals conceded and the elimination of the competition, but also an increased strain on their players. Proof of this was the fact that the “arsenalista” coach only repeated three names on the starting list in relation to Thursday’s match.
This Monday’s game started balanced and intense, as was predictable, but an entry outside of Niakité’s laws on Sapphire made the scales lean towards the Victorians. Close to the first half-hour of the game, the French center committed a penalty and was expelled. Tiago Silva did not hesitate and in a flash Sp. Braga found itself at a disadvantage on the scoreboard and having to play the rest of the match in numerical inferiority.
Sp. Braga felt the impact and saw their situation deteriorate shortly before the break, when Safira extended the Guimarães advantage with an excellent header.
Another hard blow to a team that only “entered” the game again when Tiago Silva, shortly after the restart of the game, was also sent off for accumulating yellow cards. But the encounter, during the second half, was more of a struggle than opportunities. Vitória, comfortable on the scoreboard, was managing their advantage, while Sp. Braga did not show the ability to get around the text.
However, three minutes from 90′, a freed corner to the front of the Victorian area made the ball drop in front of Álvaro Djaló. A first-time shot surprised Varela and reduced the deficit.
Ten minutes of suffering followed for the home team, but victory would not escape.