Thanks for keeping me company this evening, even through the 12-minute blackout. A dull first half thankfully wiped out by an eventful second in every way conceivable. I'm curious to know what you make of it all. Follow me on Twitter @liamhappe and let me know...
- 2nd Half
- EldersonZé Luís90'
- Ruben AmorimBarbosa85'
- Rooney (P)84'
- van Persie80'
- Welbeckvan Persie65'
- Alan (P)49'
- 1st Half
Sporting Braga - Manchester United
Champions League - 8 November 2012
Champions League – Follow the Football match between Sporting Braga and Manchester United live with Eurosport. The match starts at 03:45 on 8 November 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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And there's full-time. United's late, late show turns a first-gear performance into a two-goal away win which secures their status as group winners with two games to spare. They've not convinced much in the entire campaign thus far but four wins from four is the bottom line.
GOAL UNITED! 3-1 and there will be no late equaliser. Braga are spent having been turned around and a defensive mix-up allows Valencia to square for Hernandez, who has a first effort cleared off the line by Douglao before pushing in the rebound. 1-3!
Ze Luis, who scored his first goal for Braga against his old employers at the weekend, comes on for Echiejile in the game's final change.
Three minutes added on for Braga to try and snatch a deserved equaliser after letting this one slip out of their hands.
De Gea uses the power of TEKKERS! to skip past Eder as the striker tries to close the goalkeeper down upon receiving a back pass.
Coelho clears a deep Rafael cross as United now control the game courtesy of the penalty and a goalkeeping howler.
And a quick second sub now with Viana making way for Mossoro.
Helder Barbosa has come on for Amorim in a belated first Braga change as we restart the match with five to play. United have been completely unconvincing tonight but once again lead after trailing.
Rooney himself will take the kick... another excellent spot kick! United lead 2-1!
Rooney on the rebound! Intercepted! They want a penalty! Referee looks to his assistant... and obliges!
Hernandez collects a deft diagonal six yards out! Fantastic save from Beto!
Braga come forward quickly in hopes of re-taking their lead in short order but Alan cannot connect with a wayward cross from the right.
Braga their own worst enemies there. They were set up well and looked comfortable but if you present someone like RVP just one chance like that, you're probably going to live to regret it.
GOAL FOR MAN UNITED! Beto rushes out in anticipation of an overhit long ball from the back. It wasn't overhit. Van Persie collects, looks up, and lifts home the leveller from 25 yards. 1-1!
Here come Braga again, finding more and more space as United press for a leveller. Salino crosses for Eder but it's behind the forward, who was under heavy pressure from Ferdinand.
Van Persie makes a hash of a give-and-go from Evra, who looked good to have a dig had his Dutch team-mate not lost out.
Valencia looks to make hay from the advanced slot on the flank but his cross is easy prey for Beto.
Another Braga counter ends when Alan tries and fails to thread Eder through when Salino was catching up to offer a better option.
Nani has picked up a knock to the ankle, it appears, and will not play on. On comes Rafael in his place allowing Valencia to move forward, presumably.
Would you believe me if I told you that Celtic are 2-0 up against Barcelona with eight minutes remaining in their Celtic Park clash?
Custodio enters the book as he tugs van Persie back by the shirt just inside his own half.
Here come the Portuguese club again on the break, this time Micael dinking over the back line to feed Alan but Evra covers expertly.
Giggs tries a diagonal ball into the Braga box but Douglao clears.
Whistles from the home fans greet a sustained spell of United possession but Braga make waste of a break attempt when it presents itself.
Eder tries to connect with the Braga corner via an overhead kick but Anderson bravely puts himself in harm's way to clear the ball before he can connect, taking a kick to the back in the process. The referee gives a free-kick to United and... books Eder? How on earth is that a yellow card offence?
There's been a hat-trick in the other Group H fixture. Keep up to speed with the other seven fixtures with our LIVE multiplex - bear in mind they are all now 12 minutes ahead of us, following the delay...
Fergie feels it's time to flash the Robin signal. Van Persie replaces Welbeck.
Coelho will come forward to go for goal from this distance... it's a decent low drive and forces De Gea to push it away from the bottom corner! Micael on the follow-up! Saved again!
Micael overreacts when he feels Anderson's forearm on his head, but manages to get the free-kick anyway. It's 30 yards out and central.
Braga break again, albeit more directly this time, and Smalling is alert to slide out a Micael ball for Eder.
The hosts waste little time re-finding their confidence on the ball, playing their way out of an initial spell of pressure with aplomb.
So we are pretty much 12 minutes behind the other seven games, with everyone kicking off initially at 19:45 GMT.
United have brought on Rio Ferdinand for Evans, who conceded the penalty. And we are back underway with a Braga goal kick.
The lights are back on! Play about to resume after a 10-12 minute delay due to the floodlights packing in temporarily.
Staff continue to desperately attempt to fix the broken generator which has led to the lack of floodlights - only one appears to be fully functional at present! In the meantime, keep your comments coming in. And remember, seven games in the Champions League carry on without the handicap of shambolic electrical circuits...
@Janasty2005 says: "I see Braga shocking United, the two Manchesters could be in the same situation as last season" while @Y_Diddy isn't a fan of the penalty decision: "How did Evans draw the penalty? Bad call!"
Oh boy. A floodlight failure has instantly become the most exciting aspect of a pedestrian encounter between Braga and United. Thankfully you lot are in good voice on the matchcast comments panel and via Twitter. More published tweets coming up.
The players are led off the pitch as they try to restore power. There will be at least a TEN MINUTE hold-up with the stadium encloaked in moderate darkness.
Lights out! The floodlights have gone out!
Valencia leaves Echejile in his wake on the right-hand side and his cross is inches too high for Hernandez, but Welbeck collects and has a good scope of goal to shoot... no shot forthcoming, actually. The England striker handled in controlling the loose cross.
Will United sort their act out now they have finally gone behind? They're still strong favourites for the group but need a point to seal it tonight. Let me know on Twitter @liamhappe
Now United come forward and win a corner when Nani's speculative effort from 25 is closed down by Douglao.
Echejlie latches onto a nifty Viana through pass on the left and pulls back for Amorim to cross.... Evans denies Alan a serious chance to head in a quick second!
Alan doesn't look too composed as he steps up to take it... but WHAT A PENALTY! GOAL TO BRAGA! Absolutely crashes it into the roof of the net! 1-0!
PENALTY BRAGA! Evans blocked off Custodio!
Braga win a free-kick early in the second half but it's easily cleared.
Half-time ponderings from you lot were deliciously polarising. For instance, @MonsieurMansour has every confidence in the Red Devils, saying "the united boys are comfy...they got this group stage already" while @SoccerboyDormon has singled out a veteran for their mediocre first 45: "Giggs is a great player but he's slowing the game. He needs to be a sub"
Braga get us back up and running for the second half.
We'll see you back here in 15. In the meantime, keep me company on Twitter. @liamhappe is the handle. Let me know if you think the second half will improve from the first. Fancy Braga to snatch a win on current evidence? Or will United secure qualification?
Just seconds of stoppage time play out before the referee blows up for half-time. Quite frankly, not an exciting game at all but if you're Manchester United and a point is enough with two games to go, who cares?
Lovely passage from Micael this time around, encompassing two give-and-gos before his shot from the edge of the box is blocked.
Braga look confident going forward again until Micael underhits a pass to Viana.
Evra cannot get onto a long pass to prevent the goal kick. The rain is picking up at Estadio Municipal de Braga.
Chelsea lead once more at Stamford Bridge! Another Shakhtar defensive calamity and another CL goal from their new European goal machine...
Cries of handball from the Braga fans as Hernandez takes down a chipped pass on the right-hand flank but it goes unpunished.
It's a penetrating delivery from the free-kick but De Gea stands tall and makes a comfortable catch.
Smalling picks up the game's first booking for pulling back Eder as the forward flicks the ball over the defender on the left flank.
Anderson is unable to out-muscle Amorim in search of keeping a ball in near the Braga left-hand byline.
Braga lunge forward again from there but this time Salino makes a hash of the final ball attempt.
Anderson has a shot from outside the box closed down.
Another route one counter attempt from United is miles ahead of lone forward Welbeck, despite Hernandez and Rooney's presence on the pitch. Welbeck is cutting a frustrated figure at the moment.
Now the dangerous overlapping play of Salino culminates in another cross into the six yard box which again is dealt with by United. Enterprising period for the home team, this.
It looks like the attack is dead but Alan holds the loose ball up before making a fool of Welbeck with a neat switch fake-out before firing low straight at De Gea.
Echiejile races to the byline and pumps in a cross which Micael is unable to connect with fully from a few yards out!
Another United corner played short this time by Giggs before Valencia sends in a cross for Evans to header safely into Beto's clutches.
One of the 16 sides in action tonight leads their match 4-0 with less than half an hour on the clock. Who?
This, too, isn't much of a set piece and is handily cleared from danger.
Good play from Valencia on the right wins United a corner which Giggs will whip in.
Enchanting dribble into the middle from Evra but after squaring for Anderson just outside the box, the Brazilian's through pass toward Hernandez is cut out.
Corner for Braga from the near-chance but Viana, the man with the delivery for Eder just then, isn't so sharp from the flag and fails to beat the first man at the near post.
Smalling is ok to continue, you'll be pleased to know. At least, for now anyway.
Braga hit the post! Eder causes a scare meeting a fantastic Viana cross from the left and sending it onto the near upright. De Gea may well have had it covered but good play from the hosts.
Celtic lead Barcelona!
Alan is caught offside on the right-hand side of the box but to their credit Braga are doing everything they can to play like a home side so far.
Smalling is the next player to receive treatment for United. Been in the wars already.
Evra links well with Welbeck on the left but Douglao is back to intercept.
Signal of warning for the English club comes on the counter after another foray into Braga's final third, with Micael advancing enough to try his luck from 25. It's nowhere near the target but the space permitted the former Porto man was unhealthy.
Some nice hold-up play by Welbeck but support is just not forthcoming and facing pressure from three Braga players has to take the ball backwards.
Now Braga go route one and get an immediate offside flag for their troubles. Insipid start in Portugal thus far.
Things get a bit manic as both sides scramble for a loose ball on the edge of the United box. The upshot is a wild Eder strike which almost goes out for a throw.
Hernandez, who had busted his nose in an innocuous coming together with Salino, is given permission to return to the action.
Welbeck is beaten to another lofted approach from the visitors, who seem intent on finding holes in the Braga back line via the aerial route.
Good defending by Douglao to beat Rooney in the air to a United diagonal ball into the danger zone.
There have been a host of early goals, including in the Chelsea, Juventus and Bayern Munich matches. Who leads?
Braga re-take possession and try another grounded centre from the opposite flank with little success.
Evans leaves a overhit through-pass but Eder hadn't stopped running! He latches onto it in time to drive in a low cross but nobody is there to convert.
The Portugal man gets onto a nice ball forward from Evans but was offside. He had beaten his man all ends up and would have shot at goal from 10 yards otherwise.
Nani with quite the slide challenge to cut out the run of Viana. Yes, Hugo Viana. That guy.
The visitors, operating a 4-4-2 diamond with Rooney as the attacking midfielder, go on the offensive early but can only run the ball out for a Braga goal kick.
...And United get the first half underway, playing in their blue and black away colours.
The teams are out on the pitch. The 'rock face' stand looms ominously over proceedings. Seriously, how awesome is this stadium? We are about ready for kick-off...
What do you think? Are United too strong not to be a lock for the knockout phase come 10pm? Or does Braga's bright start in Manchester two weeks ago combined with Fergie resting a number of star players make you suspect a home win? Predictions may well get published.
A point will be enough to put United one step above their dismal CL campaign last season with qualification to the round of 16. A win, on the other hand, would guarantee they finish was group winners.
If your Champions League appetite cannot be satisfied by keeping up to speed with just the one game, our LIVE multiplex could be the thing for you. Eight games, all the goals, all the major events. What are you waiting for?
Manchester United have lost just one of their last 16 Champions League Group Stage away games (W11 D4 L1).
Braga have won their last four European matches against English opponents on home soil without conceding a goal.
Don't you just love the Champions League group stage fixture layout? There's something about the teams playing the same opponent back-to-back on match days three and four which has become part of the competition's furniture. To that effect, Braga and United are playing a return from two weeks ago at Old Trafford when the hosts came from behind to snatch three points:
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "The game in Braga will give me a chance to utilise my squad. I'll be making some changes. If we can get the win it's better, but we want to make sure we qualify first. If we do, it gives me options to utilise Smalling and Jones. Then we can make sure that Ferdinand is fresh for all these games. I won't have to worry about playing him Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. That's an important issue."
Braga manager Jose Peseiro: "Having the ball is important to control the game, but we must do so in a balanced way to not take risks, because that may be the debacle. It is impossible to think that we will crush Manchester United or we'll get the ball and they will walk behind us."
This fixture at Braga's AXA Stadium takes place at one of the most fascinating major football stadia in the world, built on the side of a quarry. Read about this and more crazy locations with our exclusive blog:
TEAMS - Braga: Beto, Coelho, Elderson, Douglao, Amorim, Micael, Salino, Custodio, Alan, Viana, Eder. Subs: Quim, Baiano, Ismaily, Mossoro, Djamal, Barbosa, Ze Luis. /// Man Utd: De Gea, Evra, Evans, Smalling, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Carrick, Young, Cleverley, Van Persie.
Get involved in today's coverage in one of three ways: leave your thoughts in our comments section below, rate the players as the game progresses once we kick off, and if you want to get your comments published here on the 'cast, simply send them over via Twitter! You can do that by following me at @liamhappe
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE Champions League matchcast as Manchester United strive to secure qualification with a win at Sporting Braga. Team news will follow very shortly!