Braga and Guimaraes secure impressive away victories in Europa League - as do Wolves
Both Braga and Guimarães secured impressive away victories in their Europa League third qualifying round meetings, giving them commanding leads going into the second leg.
Braga's hopes of securing an away win were dampened early on when Brøndby took the lead in the 15th minute, a sublime strike from Kaiser that was arrowed into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box opening the scoring.
Their lead didn't last long though as Braga's Paulinho nodded the Portuguese side back on level terms just 3 minutes later.
And Braga quickly turned the game completely on its head when, in the 21st minute, Andre Horta capitalised on a defensive mistake to place the ball beyond Schwaebe in the Brøndby goal, giving Braga an impressive away lead.
That's how the scoreline remained going into half time, Braga just about edging the first half overall.
Brøndby meant business coming out for the second half though and, just 5 minutes after the restart, they manufactured a well worked goal to put the game back on level terms.
The game from that point could have gone either way, both sides having opportunities to take a lead into the second leg, but it was Braga that grabbed the crucial late goal, coming in the 91st minute. Hassan hopefully nodded the ball forwards in a duel in the air, and Ricardo Horta sprinted through, dinking the ball over the keeper in a one-on-one opportunity.
That goal clearly meant a lot to manager Ricardo Sá Pinto on the touchline, and he had more cause to celebrate just a minute later, when Braga made it a stoppage time double, a hopeful cross into the box deflecting off Brøndby defender Hermannsson into the back of the net.
Having seen Braga struggle to score goals considerably during pre-season, to see them bag four in one outing was certainly an impressive sight.
Guimarães, meanwhile, had a much easier evening than Braga. Facing Ventspils, Guimaraes were by far favourites to come through the tie, but their 3-0 victory in Latvia was certainly impressive.
It was an entertaining match as the bar was struck a couple of times - once by Ventspils - with good chances for both sides, but Guimaraes were the side that made their chances pay.
Key man Davidson gave them the lead, his header putting the match in Guimaraes’ favour on the half hour mark. Whatever happened from that point forth, Guimaraes knew that they had a very useful away goal.
But that wasn’t where it ended, with Pepe’s exquisite long-range effort making it 2-0 to Guimaraes in the 50th minute of the game, giving the Portuguese side a commanding lead.
Ans Amoah went on to make it 3-0 to Guimaraes, all but confirming their place in the next round of the competition, a scrappy goal by comparison with the previous two - but they all count!
Braga are expected to face Spartak Moscow in the play-off round should they finish the job against Brondby, while Guimaraes will play against either FCSB or Mlada Boleslav, who drew 0-0 in the first leg in Romania.
Portuguese play prominent role in Wolves victory
Elsewhere in Europe, Wolves also continued their impressive Europa League campaign, thumping Armenian outfit Pyunik 4-0 away from home, all but guaranteeing their place in the next round of the European competition.
As was to be expected, Wolves dominated proceedings, and took the lead after half an hour thanks to a delightful through-ball by Diogo Jota, who played in Matt Doherty. The right wingback then dispatched with a well-placed effort.
One became two just before half time when Diogo Jota got his second assist of the game, playing the ball across to former Benfica striker Raul Jimenez, who blasted the ball into the back of the net.
The same pair linked up just after the restart, as Jota completed a hattrick of assists when he played a first-time through ball to Raul Jimenez, who ran towards the goalkeeper and again finished emphatically in a one-on-one position.
And the thrashing was completed by with Portugal's own Ruben Neves coverting from the spot.