O'Brien on the mark as new forward Bodvarsson makes Millwall debut in Portugal

AIDEN O’Brien showed his prowess as a striker as he finally got his pre-season off the ground, but Millwall were beaten in Portugal by Europa League qualifiers Braga in Albufeira on Tuesday evening.

O’Brien fired in a first-half equaliser after Joao Palhinha had given the Portuguese Primeira Liga side the lead.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson came on in the second half for his first Lions appearance, as Andre Horta’s strike with 18 minutes left settled a lively contest.

It was a useful exercise for Millwall, against a side that finished behind only Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon last season.

Goalkeeper Frank Fielding produced at least two excellent saves against a side that defeated Millwall 3-0 here last year.

Neil Harris emptied his bench in the second half, and Fred Onyedinma was again involved. Bodvarsson didn’t get much of a chance to impress as the game was naturally scrappy late on after so many changes.

But the fixture illustrated Harris’ array of attacking options, with Connor Mahoney looking really good on the ball and he could have scored in the first half after displaying some real skill and pace.

O’Brien started up front with Matt Smith, with Mahoney on the left of midfield and Jed Wallace on the right supplying the strikers.

Smith saw an early header cleared off the line as he dominated in the air. Another summer signing, Mahoney was next to go close as the Lions made a positive start at Estadio da Nora.

Fielding produced a superb save to tip away a header as Braga began to threaten. And they went ahead in the 18th minute through Palhinha’s finish.

Mahoney created another chance for himself 10 minutes before half-time when he did well to cut in from the left but his fierce shot was parried away. Moments later the Lions were level, O’Brien showing his goal-scoring instincts in the box to fire home after a goalmouth scramble.

Harris made his first three changes on 58 minutes: Murray Wallace came on for Shane Ferguson, Jiri Skalak for Mahoney and Onyedinma for O’Brien.

Two minutes later Jed Wallace teed up Smith but the striker’s chip went just over the crossbar.

Harris made three more changes in the 63rd minute, with Bodvarsson making his debut in place of Smith. Danny McNamara came on for Mahlon Romeo at right-back, and Billy Mitchell replaced Jed Wallace.

There was an injury scare in the 69th minute when Jake Cooper went down and appeared to have a groin problem. But the big defender was able to jog off the pitch, Alex Pearce coming on to partner Shaun Hutchinson in the centre of the Lions defence.

Fielding saved one-on-one from Palhinha but Horta grabbed the winner when he slotted in low past the goalkeeper after good approach work.

Millwall: Fielding (Sandford, 77); Romeo (McNamara, 63) Hutchinson (Ransom, 77), Cooper (Pearce, 69), Ferguson (M Wallace, 58); J Wallace (Mitchell, 63), Thompson (Burey, 77), Williams (Skeffington, 77), Mahoney (Skalak, 58); O'Brien (Onyedinma, 58), Smith (Bodvarsson, 63).

Subs: Bradshaw.

Image: Millwall FC