Both teams finished on the third place in their domestic leagues last year and they are just one step away from making it into the Champions League groups. Braga plays the first leg in front of its fans and can’t afford to travel to Italy on the back of a draw because their away record is anything but impressive. The visitors are hoping to score a goal tonight, but they have only DiNatale to rely on.
Odds: Pinnacle 2.23
Many things changed during summer and few were for the better, as Udinese lost three key players and the replacements are not looking well. Arguably the most important player that got transferred is the goalkeeper Handanovic, and he was joined by Isla and Asamoah. These players were not as flashy as the inspirational striker DiNatale, but they’ve played a significant part in bringing Udinese close to playing in the most important European competition.
Udinese chose money over quality
For a team poised at playing in the Champions League, the aforementioned transfers make little sense, especially when the replacements are yet to prove their worth. Perhaps the Italians are counting on the few players who are returning from loan to make up for these departures, but the argument is still pretty shallow. The visitors will start with a single striker tonight, but DiNatale is already 34 and it’s unlikely for him to play at the same high level for 90 minutes.
Braga didn’t meet Udinese so far, but its coach is all too familiar with the Italian side and his memories are far from great. Back in the day when he was coaching Sporting, it was the Italians who deprived him of his chance to move further in the Champions League. This time his squad is regarded as the underdog, but there are some good reasons to trust the Portuguese. They have already played a few games in the domestic league and the friendly games went well too, plus they have strengthen their roster.
There are any things that can go wrong in the doubleheader, but while the Italians are favorites to move further, Braga is not to be underestimated. If the Portuguese are to beat the odds, they will do so at home, by taking a decent lead over their opponents. Pinnacle is currently offering the best odds for a home win but the 2.23 value is unlikely to improve over the next couple of hours, so punters have no reason to wait.