Braga v CFR Cluj preview

Cluj goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras has warned former club Braga he and his team-mates will revel in their role as Champions League underdogs.

Last Updated: 18/09/12 at 13:40

Cluj: Travel to Portugal on Wednesday night

Cluj: Travel to Portugal on Wednesday night

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The 25-year-old is one of six Portuguese players, three of them old boys, in the Romanian side's squad for Wednesday night's opening Group H encounter at the Estadio Municipal de Braga.

He and his colleagues face a daunting task if they are to emerge from the group, with English aristocrats Manchester United and Turkish giants Galatasaray also fighting for qualification.

However, while Cluj acknowledge they have their work cut out, they are in no mood for tame surrender.

Felgueiras told www.abola.pt: "We will fight for victory. It's hard to play in Braga, but we have a quality team and a draw would be a good result. We will see what happens.

"Manchester United are clear favourites in the group, and we and the other two teams are fighting to qualify with them."

Brazilian midfielder Rafael Bastos is another man who knows the Estadio Municipal well having made eight senior appearances for the club during the 2009-10 season, but he too will embark upon the Champions League adventure in positive mood.

He said: "We will try to start in the right way. We want all three points, but recognise a draw as something positive.

"We were in the fourth pot and are not favourites. Manchester United have the first chance of qualification, then Braga and Galatasaray.

"We will take each game as it comes and try to get as many points as we can."

Cluj, who finished second in the Romanian Liga 1 last season, won their place in the group stage with victories over Czechs Slovan Liberec and Swiss outfit Basel, while Braga, third in the Primeira Liga last time around, beat Udinese 5-4 on penalties in Italy following a 2-2 aggregate play-off draw.

Former Braga player and assistant coach, Antonio Conceicao, known as Toni, is another who has a good knowledge of both clubs having won the Romanian Cup as Cluj boss in 2009.

And he admits the gap between them remains sizeable despite the strides made by Ioan Andone's men in recent seasons.

He told Correio do Minho: "In Romania, Cluj are considered the best club at present, not the largest - this is Steaua Bucharest - but they have evolved a lot because they has achieved titles and now make their third appearance in the Champions League.

"But to make a very realistic reading, here in Portugal, Cluj would be fighting for fourth or fifth place."

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Champions League Fixtures

Tuesday, 17 February 2015
19:45
PSG v Chelsea  
Shak Donetsk v Bay Munich  
Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Basel v FC Porto  
Schalke v R Madrid  
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Juventus v B Dortmund  
Man City v Barcelona  
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Arsenal v Monaco  
Leverkusen v A Madrid  
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
FC Porto v Basel  
R Madrid v Schalke  

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