A countdown of the 10 most memorable moments of Portuguese football in 2018: PART 4
4. Braga closing the gap on the Big Three
One real highlight of Portuguese football was Braga. Just generally, their performances throughout the season were a sight to behold, and to see them push the traditional “Big Three” of Portuguese football right to the end of the season was a sign that there may well be a new player in the Primeira Liga title race in the years to come.
To put into context the incredible accomplishment of Braga last campaign, their 24 league victories from just 34 matches was the most wins they have ever had in a single season in their entire century-long history - even more than the 22 wins they picked up in the 2010-11 season where they finished second place.
Additionally, their 75 points total that secured them 4th spot in the league was also the most they have earned in any season they have ever played in.
They even finished a huge 24 points above Rio Ave in 5th place, and only 13 points behind eventual winners Porto. Well and truly overachieving when taking into consideration their budget and status in the game.
Having started this season so brightly too, only 6 points behind Porto as we approach the halfway point of the season, Braga’s dream of toppling the “Big Three“ in the country remains an ambition that could still once day be fulfilled.
With Abel Ferreira in charge of the club and their shrewd transfer policy which makes the most of the loan system and free transfers to bolster the squad, they have found a winning combination which allows them to remain competitive in the league without spending anywhere near the funds which the likes of Benfica and Porto have available.
It was an extraordinary campaign from the Europa League perennials, and their relative success can only be a good thing for Portuguese football, which has been calling out for a fourth team to compete with Benfica, Sporting and Porto for decades.