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Primeira Liga | Gameweek 13
Dec 10, 2023 at 6pm UK
Estadio Municipal de Arouca
Rio Ave
2 - 2
Rio Ave
Cristo (50'), Jason (62')
Sylla (1')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Aderlan (5'), Boateng (29')
Oudrhiri (26'), Luiz (59'), Aderlan (69'), Graca (85'), Ronaldo (88')

Preview: Arouca vs. Rio Ave - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Primeira Liga clash between Arouca and Rio Ave, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides separated by a single point at the bottom of the Primeira Liga table will do battle at the Estadio Municipal de Arouca on Sunday, as Arouca welcome Rio Ave.

The visitors only lead the bottom three on goal difference, while their hosts remain at the foot of the division but within touching distance of their opponents thanks to a victory last time out.

Match preview

Arouca's Cristo celebrates scoring their first goal with Tiago Esgaio on September 3, 2023© Reuters

Arouca head into the weekend with renewed confidence, having remained within touching distance of safety with an important result after enduring a dismal start to the Primeira Liga season.

The campaign did begin positively in the opening weeks with a victory and three draws, but the Arouquenses would then suffer seven defeats on the bounce heading into the November international break, despite only conceding 10 goals across those matches, as they scored just once at the other end.

That meant they were rooted to the foot of the table with just six points from 11 matches, and following the appointment of Daniel Sousa as manager during the international break after Daniel Ramos's exit, they returned to action in style away at ninth-placed Boavista last Sunday.

They began life under their new boss with a much-needed three-point haul from a 4-0 triumph, despite going a man down in the 49th minute with Bogdan Milovanov sent off, as a Cristo Gonzalez brace and a Rafa Mujica goal had them 3-0 up before the interval and Jason added a fourth 18 minutes from time.

Now bound to have some renewed confidence on the back of their second league victory of the season, taking them within a point of Vizela, Chaves, Estoril Praia and Sunday's opponents, Arouca will aim to make it-back-to-back triumphs on Sunday with a chance to leapfrog the visitors and move out of the drop zone.

Rio Ave's Costinha celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 28, 2023© Reuters

Rio Ave, meanwhile, have a degree of positivity of their own in the fight at the bottom of the table, having doubled their points tally in the last three outings after also enduring a poor start to the campaign.

In their first nine outings, Luis Freire's side managed just five points, culminating in four straight defeats between late September and the end of October, but they were able to bounce back before the international break, firstly ending an eight-game winless run with a 2-0 triumph at home to Boavista thanks to goals from Fabio Ronaldo and Emmanuel Boateng.

The Rioavistas then headed into the break on the back of a 1-1 draw away at Gil Vicente, before returning to action at home to Estrela Amadora and again taking the share of the spoils, perhaps somewhat disappointingly, having gone ahead in the 81st minute through Aderllan Santos, only for a Josue Sa own goal to tie the visitors level four minutes from time.

Now keen to bounce back from that and continue building an unbeaten run, as they still only lead the bottom three on goal difference, Rio Ave will go in search of a third league win of the season on Sunday when they travel to Arouca.

Arouca Primeira Liga form:

Arouca form (all competitions):

Rio Ave Primeira Liga form:

Rio Ave form (all competitions):

Team News

Rio Ave's Costinha celebrates scoring a goal that was later disallowed with teammates on September 25, 2023© Reuters

While Daniel Sousa will have wished to deploy an unchanged Arouca starting XI from their 4-0 beating of Boavista in his first game at the helm last weekend, he will be unable to call on defender Bogdan Milovanov, who is suspended after his red card in the second half of that contest.

In his absence, Weverson, who missed out through injury last weekend, will likely return to the defence from the outset if deemed fit, while Nino Galovic, Francisco Montero and Tiago Esgaio are all bound to keep their places in the back four.

Sousa should avoid any alterations at the other end of the pitch, with Cristo Gonzalez and Rafa Mujica again bound to lead the line after the former netted a brace and the latter added a goal last weekend, while Jason will again aim to offer further support from the right wing in a 4-4-2 shape.

Rio Ave should head into the weekend with a clean bill of health, and Luis Freire may opt to deploy an unchanged starting XI with Josue Sa, Aderllan Santos and Miguel Nobrega forming a solid back three in front of stopper Jhonatan.

Ahead of them, in a 3-5-2 shape, Amine Oudrhiri and Guga are mainstays in the engine room and could again be joined by Joca.

It is in attack where they have struggled, with right-wing-back Costinha leading the squad with four goals so far this term, and Leonardo Ruiz will fight to come back in from the start after Emmanuel Boateng and Andre Pereira were preferred last time out against Estrela Amadora.

Arouca possible starting lineup:
De Arruabarrena; Esgaio, Galovic, Montero, Weverson; Jason, Simao, Kouassi, Sylla; Mujica, Gonzalez

Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Jhonatan; Sa, Santos, Nobrega; Costinha, Joca, Guga, Oudrhiri, Ronaldo; Boateng, Pereira

SM words green background

We say: Arouca 2-1 Rio Ave

Both teams will head into the weekend with a degree of confidence and the need for a result against a relegation rival, and we anticipate a tight contest.

The appointment of Daniel Sousa clearly had a positive effect on Arouca as they dished out a 4-0 beating in their first game under the new boss last weekend, and we fancy them to make it two in a row and come out on top on home turf.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
2Sporting Lisbon21181260194155
5Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes22125535231241
9SC FarenseFarense2275103031-126
10Gil Vicente2274113336-325
12Casa Pia2265112035-1523
14Estoril PraiaEstoril2263133640-421
15Estrela Amadora2256112234-1221
16Rio AveRio Ave224992231-921

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