Sporting de Braga, who this Thursday (17.55 hours, SportTV1) will face FC Zorya, in a match for the second round of the Europa League group stage, prepared in detail the first international trip of the season. Avoiding risks due to the covid-19 pandemic is a priority objective, also following UEFA’s recommendations.
Since Tuesday in Zaporizhya, given that the Ukrainian conflict with Russia makes it impossible for the game to take place in Luhansk, FC Zorya’s original city, Braga came to Ukraine following a “bubble” determined by UEFA, with very strict measures, where compliance with the health protocol is essential.
The armory SAD previously sent some elements to Ukraine to deal with logistics. So that nothing is missing, a cook also came from Minho, to purchase food and prepare meals.
The team itself is obliged to stay almost full time in the hotel, with only trips to the stadium. The squad occupies an isolated area of the accommodation and did not need a traditional walk around. Contacts are reduced to a minimum, this in a country that proportionally has fewer cases and fewer deaths from covid-19 than Portugal, but in which a large part of the population does not wear a mask or incorrectly wear it, below the chin.
As in Portugal, after a period of games behind closed doors, the Government has made exceptions. For this Thursday, the capacity can go up to 15%, but, in a stadium that takes 12 thousand people, it will hardly reach that percentage. Zorya plays 500 kilometers from home and the mobilization of fans is being reduced.
As in the past few days, there is sunshine and some wind in Zaporizhya, with a forecast of eight positive degrees at the time of the game, which will start here at night, given the time difference (two hours more than in mainland Portugal).
After winning their first home game (3-0 against AEK), Braga are looking for their second win in the Europa League group stage, against an opponent who, in the opening round, was beaten 3-0 against Leicester, England.
The challenge also includes the peculiarity that, after 10 games with Ukrainian teams (six defeats and four draws), the players will lift the curse, breaking the fast with a victory.
In the Minho team, Galeno and Guilherme Schettine face muscle injuries and are in doubt for this meeting.