Seeking to pick up their first win of the 2022-23 Primeira Liga campaign, Famalicao and Braga go head to head at the Estadio Municipal de Famalicao on Friday.
The home side were condemned to a 2-0 opening-day defeat by Estoril Praia, while Os Arcebispos salvaged a thrilling 3-3 draw versus 2020-21 league winners Sporting Lisbon.
After a rough start to the season, where they managed just three points from their opening eight games, Famalicao turned things around in the second half of the season as they secured a second consecutive eighth-placed finish in the 2021-22 Primeira Liga campaign.
Rui Silva‘s men picked up nine wins, 12 draws and lost 13 of their 34 games to finish level on 39 points with ninth-placed Estoril Praia and nine adrift of Vitoria de Guimaraes in the Europa Conference League qualification spot.
Having closed out last season with a run of three straight victories, Famalicao failed to pick up where they dropped off in their 2022-23 opener as they fell to a 2-0 loss away to Estoril last weekend.
First-half goals from Francisco Geraldes and Arthur Gomes set the Canarinhos on their way to a comfortable opening-day victory at the Antonio Coimbra da Mota, ending their three-game winless run against the Vila Nova.
Famalicao now return to their home turf where they are currently on a two-game winning streak and are unbeaten in nine of their 10 league games since the turn of the year, claiming five wins and four draws.
Meanwhile, Artur Jorge will be impressed with his side’s resilient performance in last week’s league opener as Braga came from behind on three different occasions to salvage a 3-3 draw against Sporting Lisbon.
In an action-packed contest at the Estadio Braga Municipal, Pedro Goncalves, Nuno Santos and Marcus Edwards all scored to put the Leoes ahead, but Simon Banza, Sikou Niakate and Abel Ruiz netted on each occasion to restore parity and force a share of the spoils.
Prior to that, Braga had enjoyed a superb pre-season campaign, where they picked up five wins from their five friendly outings while scoring 17 goals and conceding seven in that time.
Os Arcebispos are now unbeaten in all but one of their last nine league outings — claiming six wins and two draws — with a 3-2 loss against Famailcao in last season’s finale back in May being the only exception.
Jorge’s men, who secured a fourth-placed finish in the Primeira Liga last season, head into the weekend on a run of just two league defeats on the road in 2022, picking up five wins and two draws from their 11 away outings since the turn of the year.
While Braga will look to build on their impressive performance against Ruben Amorim’s men, next is a trip to the Estadio Municipal de Famalicao, where they have failed to taste victory against the Vila Nova in each of the three meetings between the sides.
Famalicao will have to make do with the absence of Spanish midfielder Ivan Jaime, who has been sidelined since January through a ruptured cruciate ligament.
Fellow countryman Alex Millan, who recently completed a loan move from Villarreal, should spearhead the Vila Nova attack once again, teaming up with Rui Fonte in a two-man frontline.
Thirty-year-old midfielder Pele could be handed his debut this weekend after recently moving to the Estadio Municipal de Famalicao from French side Monaco on a season-long loan.
Meanwhile, off the back of an impressive opening-day performance, Jorge could name a similar starting side on Friday, meaning that we could see a front two of Vitor Oliveira and former Famalicao man Banza.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Espanyol loanee Victor Gomez is a doubt for the visiting side after the 22-year-old full-back was forced off with a 44th-minute injury last weekend.
Should he fail to shake off his injury, Brazilian Fabiano Silva should come into the fold, teaming up with Vitor Tormena, Niakate and Nuno Sequeira in the defence line.
Famalicao possible starting lineup:
Junior; Aguirregabiria, Penetra, Batubinsika, Lima; Tavares, Simoes, Assuncao, Kadile; Millan, Fonte
Braga possible starting lineup:
Lima; Silva, Niakate, Tormena, Sequeira; Al-Musrati, R Horta, A Horta; Medeiros, Oliveira, Banza