SC Braga supporter
Karl Donnelly tells us about the Estadio AXA, where United will face Braga on Wednesday evening in one of world football's most breath-taking settings...
The Estadio AXA was completed in 2003 in time for the 2004 European Championships and was designed by the internationally renowned architect Eduardo Souto de Moura.
It is unique in that it was carved from a quarry and has only two stands that run alongside both sides of the pitch. One stand is built into the side of the quarry and fans enter it from above, while the other stand is free standing. The stadium and seats do not incorporate any colour as to blend into the surroundings.
The stadium is covered with a canopy styled roof inspired by ancient South American Inca bridges, and it's unique in the fact that it retains all the water when it rains. This water is stored in several underground tanks that are used when the pitch needs watering, as a handy cost-saving measure.
The unique design has won several international architecture awards and has been praised by US President Barack Obama for its originality, but it's also practical; former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said it was one of the most difficult places to play and complained about the deafening noise booming around the stadium.
One thing's for certain: with United in town the volume will definitely be all the way up on Wednesday evening!