Europa League Final 2011: Porto vs Braga [Live Stream, Preview]
Sporting de Braga will try to dodge FC Porto’s perfect season when the two sides collide at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the 2011 Europa League Final – the largest football event ever to be held in Ireland. The Dragons go into this match as only the second Portuguese club to finish a league season unbeaten – after Benfica’s 1972-73 team.
This is the first time in history that two teams from Portugal will contest a European final. Porto, who are vying for their eighth major international title, eased into this stage with a 7-4 aggregate win over Spanish outfit Villarreal while the Archbishops came from behind to beat Benfica on away goals after their semi-final clash ended 2-2.
Porto are clear favorites. Under the guidance of rookie manager Andre Villas-Boas, the Dragons’ reputation domestically has been one of Europe’s most impressive achievements this season. But Braga are a powerful counter-attacking side who drove out Sevilla and Celtic in the Champions League qualifying rounds this term, defeated Arsenal in the group stages of the competition and then beat Liverpool and the Eagles on the way to the Europa League Final.
Porto and Braga have faced each other 131 times in domestic encounters but they have never faced each other in European competition before. The Dragons have earned 92 wins to Braga’s 17 with 22 draws.
This is certainly not the final many were hoping for. However, a total of 54 different international broadcasters will be covering the event, and a worldwide TV audience of between 40 and 60 million is expected to watch the game.
UPDATE: Porto beat Braga 1-0 in an all-Portuguese Europa League final to claim their first piece of European trophy since 2004. To watch the 2011 Champions League final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, click HERE.