Verdict: Rio Ave win
Best Odds: 1/1
Looking to mark their return to Primeira Liga duties with a flurry on home soil, Rio Ave will welcome Maritimo to the Estadio dos Arcos on Friday night.
Starting with the hosts, last seen on December 13th when picking up another League Cup victory thanks to a 2-1 win at home against Farense, Luís Freire’s side should find the mood in their camp at a real high. Relishing their return to action on Friday night with their sights set on trying to make up some ground in the European hunt, the top-flight returners have continued to gain plenty of praise from across Portugal. Heading into the World Cup’s enforced winter break with a gritty 1-0 victory away at Arouca on November 12th, the former Nacional boss will be calling on his side to mark their return to action with a statement on home soil. In fact, now winning five of their previous seven matchups across all formats, Rio Ave have also continued to shine with their performances at the Estadio dos Arcos.
Missing last month’s 1-0 win away at Arouca after serving a one-match suspension, defender Pedro Amaral could make his return on Friday night. However, still dealing with a long-term knee injury, Rio Ave will once again be without 26-year-old Joca here.
Bagging a League Cup brace against Farense on December 13th and now recording three strikes in his last two appearances, Abdul-Aziz Yakubu should lead Freire’s attack this weekend.
As for the visitors, signing off their League Cup run with a woeful 5-0 drumming at the hands of Sporting Lisbon on December 13th, it is fair to say that Maritimo are in the midst of a hugely worrying run. Despite snatching a top-half finish last season, Jose Gomes’ men are now in a real battle to extend on their Primeira Liga status this time around. Marking their return to top-flight duties sat five points adrift of safety, the Madeira-based outfit have lost each of their last four domestic matchups across all formats. Likewise, last seen on top-flight duties getting hit with a 1-0 loss away at Guimaraes last month, Friday’s guests have remarkably claimed just a single win since opening the 2022/23 campaign. With Gomes’ side losing their last three showdowns away from the Estadio do Marítimo by an aggregate score of 8-0, they certainly face a tough test here.
Forced to miss out against his parent club on December 13th as Maritimo were hit with that 5-0 drumming against Sporting Lisbon, goalkeeper Matous Trmal should return between the sticks on Friday night.
Likewise, both returning from their own respective injury issues this month, Fabio China and 21-year-old Joao Teixeira will be hoping to make a full return here. However, Stefano Beltrame and Geny Catamo will once again miss out.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off on December 1st in a League Cup showdown, Rio Ave picked up a 1-0 victory on the road.
- Friday’s hosts have won four of their previous five matchups across all formats.
- Likewise, the Vilacondenses have won four of their last five contests at the Estadio dos Arcos.
- Including their 5-0 loss against Sporting Lisbon last time out, Maritimo have lost each of their last four appearances.
- Friday’s guests have also remarkably picked up just a single away win since way back on March 6th.
Marking their return to top-flight duties on Friday night enjoying an eye-catching flurry, there is no doubt that Rio Ave should be smelling a golden chance here. Now winning four of their last five domestic contests and with some in their camp potentially looking at a famous European charge, Freire’s squad will also be boosted by their most recent meeting against this weekend’s guests. Claiming a 1-0 victory when they made the trip to Maritimo for a League Cup showdown on December 1st, Rio Ave will be looking to cash in on the relegation scrappers. In the midst of a four-match losing run and showing some rather glaring issues on the road, a home victory can be found at appealing odds here.
Verdict: Rio Ave win
Best Odds: 1/1
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