UEFA Cup Final

This entry was posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011

Having clocked up a 6-0 punching at Arsenal early in their European campaign, not many would have bet on Braga competing in a major European final come May. Yet here there are in Dublin, just 90 minutes away from Europa League glory.

Standing in their way are FC Porto, who secured the domestic title with games to spare. With the Portuguese Cup Final still to come on Sunday, their 33 year old manager André Villas-Boas could yet lead them to an impressive treble, one previously completed by a certain Jose Mourinho in 2003. Whatever happened to him?

Given Porto finished 38 points clear of Braga in the league, it’s no surprise to see Betfair have the domestic champions as 1/4 favourites to lift the trophy, whilst Ladbrokes go 1/2 for a Porto victory inside 90 minutes.

As Ireland prepares to welcome the Portuguese nation en-masse, it is worth recalling that in the last ten seasons, there have been three occasions where two teams from the same country have faced each other in a European Final – Milan v Juventus in the 2003 Champions League, Sevilla v Espanyol in the 2007 Europa League and of course, Manchester United v Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League. Intriguingly, all three of those finals were decided on penalties. Blue Square go 12/1 on Porto winning in this manner, and 16/1 on Braga triumphing via spot-kicks.

Whilst Porto averaged over three goals per game in their run-in, it is at the back where they are truly impressive, conceding just 16 league goals all season. Our tip is for a Porto win, and clean sheet – expect Boas constrictors to lift the UEFA Cup on Wednesday evening.

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