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SC Braga secured a victory in Athens with a 1-0 scoreline, courtesy of Bruma’s goal at the 83rd minute. After 11 years, the team has entered the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the third time in its history. This achievement comes following their earlier 2-1 victory at home in the first leg of the playoff.
The match began with a balanced rhythm, with SC Braga effectively containing Panathinaikos’ initial momentum and not being swayed by the fervent support from the Greek fans in the stands.
After a phase of numerous fouls in the initial moments, both teams gradually opened up their attacking plays. The first moment of danger came from the Portuguese team, as Abel Ruiz’s shot narrowly missed the right post at the 14th minute. The Greek side responded almost immediately with a dangerous attempt from Tonny Vilhena.
At the 18th minute, Ioannidis narrowly missed a goal opportunity in front of the goalmouth following a cross from the right by Palacios. At the 22nd minute, Ioannidis had a chance to put the Greek team in the lead but shot wide after another cross from Palacios.
At the 31st minute, SC Braga had a significant opportunity. Abel Ruiz’s well-placed shot towards the far post forced Brignoli into a great save. In the follow-up, Ricardo Horta lost balance and couldn’t convert the chance.
Before halftime, Matheus made an excellent save to deny the Greeks a goal from Vagiannidis’ header.
In the second half, the dynamics of the game remained unchanged. Panathinaikos had control over the game, while SC Braga sought counterattacking opportunities to challenge the Greek defense.
At the 54th minute, Palacios took a crossed shot that was brilliantly saved by Matheus. In the subsequent play, Djaló also posed a threat with a well-placed shot.
As minutes went by, SC Braga gained confidence, and the Greek side lost their attacking clarity. Thus, it was no surprise when Bruma scored at the 83rd minute, stylishly converting a brilliant assist from Pizzi. Shortly after, Djuricic came close to equalizing, with his shot just missing the right post.
This marked the last attempt for the Greeks, who ended the game with ten players following Juankar’s expulsion at the 90+1 minute.
The final celebration was for the Portuguese side, with SC Braga’s president, António Salvador, joining the Braga fans in the stands to share in the joy of the moment. Nearly fifty supporters were present at the stadium.
This occurrence marks the ninth time that three Portuguese teams have simultaneously reached the group stage of the Champions League. For SC Braga, this marks their third participation in the Champions League group stage.