The pressure is on Thursday night for Istanbul Basaksehir as they welcome Braga to town for a must-win Europa League clash in the Turkish capital.
Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey 07 Dec 2017 6:00 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Sevilla are the only team to have beaten Istanbul Basaksehir at home this season.
Expert Verdict: Basaksehir have seen their fair share of big teams come into Istanbul this season, but only one of those sides- a team that is looking like going to the round of 16 in the UCL- has been able to defeat them thus far. So Braga's task is far from a simple one, and it will take something very special from them to get the win there.
Abdullah Avci has injuries to center back duo Aurelien Chedjou and Egemen Korkmaz, center midfielder Gokhan Inler, and influential winger Eljero Elia ahead of this match.
Istanbul Basaksehir's run in the Europa League has been largely down to the presence of wide man Edin Visca. He has scored twice for them in the competition and also has an assist so far to help them get into this position where they could possibly progress now. Look for him to once again be important if they plan to get through.
Basaksehir have four wins and a draw in their last five matches:
1-0 home win vs Osmanlispor
1-3 win at Kahramanmarasspor (Cup)
1-1 draw at Kayserispor
1-2 win at Ludogorets (UEL)
5-1 home win vs Galatasaray
Defenders:Caicara, Attamah, Epureanu, Erdem
Midfielders:Visca, Kahveci, Tekdemir, Frei
Abel Ferreira will be missing center backs Raul Silva and Lazar Rosic as well as center midfielders Fransergio and Mauro due to injury concerns.
With top scorer Fransergio set to miss out here, Braga will need to look elsewhere for inspiration if they want to clinch top spot away from home. One player that has been in sparkling is winger Ricardo Esgaio. He's yet to score in the competition, but he has made three key assists so far on their way to the top and one more could be enough to get them there.
Braga have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
3-0 home win vs Pacos de Ferreiera
3-1 home win vs Feirense
3-1 home win vs Hoffenheim (UEL)
1-0 loss at Rio Ave (Cup)
2-2 draw at Sporting Lisbon
Defenders:Goaino, Viana, Ferreira, Jefferson
Midfielders:Vukcevic, Danilo, Horta
Forwards:Esgaio, Teixeira, Paulinho
The sides first met back at the end of September when Braga won 2-1 in Portugal over Istanbul Basaksehir. Koka scored for them on 26 minutes before an equalizer from Emre Belozoglu two minutes later. But Fransergio won the game with just a minute left on the clock.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Istanbul Basaksehir are at 4/5 to win, a draw is at 13/5, and a Braga win is at 10/3.
Istanbul Basaksehir come into this match on five points through five matches. This has been disappointing considering they gave Sevilla such a fight in Champions League qualification. They have a chance to move on and catch Ludogorets, but they will need a win and some help. Basaksehir must win this match to equal points with the Bulgarians, and they must also hope that they lose.
Braga are in a much more freeing position. The Portuguese side are on top of the table with ten points. They would win the group with a victory in this match, or they would also do so if Ludogorets fails to get a win in their match with Hoffenheim.
Basaksehir come into this match with two draws from home matches in the tournament so far. They also have a win and a loss in Europe, both of those coming in UCL play. Overall, they have seven wins, three draws, and one home loss so far. As for Braga, their away record in Europa League includes two draws and two wins. They have a win and a draw in the group thus far. Overall, they have got seven wins, four draws, and three losses away from home this season.
Braga will have slightly more rest under them ahead of this match after Basaksehir played in midweek last week.
Both teams to score is set at ¾ on Ladbrokes.
Istanbul Basaksehir have had their struggles so far in the Europa League, but they have a great home atmosphere to take advantage of, and they will do so here. It may be too little to get them out of the group, but a win here gives them a chance.