Braga B showed their experience as they clinically despatched Albion’s development squad 2-0 in Portugal.
The Seagulls’ endeavour could not be faulted but the Portuguese side – who compete in the equivalent of the English Championship – proved tough opposition.
SCB kept the ball tremendously well for long periods and grabbed a goal within eight minutes when Ribeiro swept home. A magnificent strike from Nuno Valente completed the scoring for the hosts after 20 minutes whilst Albion’s best effort went just wide from Toby Agdestein.
The Seagulls stuck to their task and prevented Braga from increasing their lead but Albion’s under-21s were unable to find a route back into the game.
Braga’s Piqueti had the first shot of the game which deflected over but from the resulting corner the hosts grabbed an early advantage.
A bullet header from Welthom from close range was blocked by Albion bodies on the line, and Grant Smith made an incredible stop from point blank range to deny Welthom again. However the danger was not cleared and on the third attempt Ribeiro fired home.
The Portuguese side continued to control matters and Albion were soon undone again by a moment of sheer quality. Valente arrowing a 25 yard strike into the top left hand corner, leaving Smith with no chance.
Braga B were good value for their lead but Shamir Goodwin and Agdestein – fresh from their strikes against VSC on Wednesday – combined again with Agdestein skipping round the last defender before guiding his shot agonisingly wide.
Smith had to be alert just moments later as a fierce drive from Chidi was pushed round the post. The early urgency showed by the hosts had wilted somewhat late in the first half but Welthom almost extended SCB’s lead after latching onto a defensive lapse. However the forward’s exquisite dink over Smith came back off the post.
Wednesday’s game against VSC saw a fast tempo and high intensity fixture but in the beautiful surrounding of Braga’s previous home, the Estádio Primeiro de Maio, the pace of the game was considerably slower.
The hosts continued to dominate possession in the second half and half time substitute goalkeeper Christian Walton had to be at his best firstly deny Cuelho and then Enivaldo.
Braga continued to probe with some slick possession passing but Albion maintained their shape, continuing to quell any advances towards their goal. Unfortunately for the Seagulls, Braga were having similar joy whenever Albion ventured forward, denying the young side any clear site on goal.
The game itself faded away slowly as the hosts were content to hold onto the ball, continuing to search for intricate openings with their passing, however they were unable to extend their advantage.
Albion: (4-3-3) Smith (Walton 45) (GK); Hunt (Benham 65), Lall, Rea, Triallist (Rowe-Hurst 46); Asmundsson, Harris (Wiltshire 80), Deen; Triallist, Agdestein, Goodwin (Barnett 42). Subs not used: Barclay, Horncastle.