MX23RW : Sunday, June 13 17:17:25| >> :600:2232828:2232828:
May 19, 2021 at 8pm UK at Estadio da Madeira
Rio AveRio Ave
Eduardo Teodora da Silva (11')
Azouni (16')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Aderlan (51'), Mane (90+4')
Augusto (84')

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

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

In the intense battle to avoid the drop on the final day of the season, Rio Ave travel to take on already-relegated Nacional on Wednesday, as they look to stay out of the bottom two of the Primeira Liga table.

Os Rioavista find themselves in the relegation playoff place, only ahead of Farense in the drop zone based on head-to-head results, meaning that Miguel Cardoso's side will avoid the automatic drop if they match or better Farense's result on the final day.

Match preview

Miguel Cardoso, now in charge of Rio Ave, pictured in 2018© Reuters

Nacional's relegation was confirmed on Sunday, as they travelled to Famalicao with the chance to stay in the hunt for survival with a victory.

They never looked like securing the three points though, as Ivo Rodrigues bagged a deserved goal for the hosts late in the first half before goals from Ivan Jaime and Fernando Valenzuela put the game out of sight in the second half, sealing Nacional's fate as a result.

Halfway through the season, Os Alvinegros sat comfortably in mid-table, however a run of 10 consecutive league defeats over the course of February, March and April saw the Madeira outfit fall to the foot of the division.

While they did recently end that run with a victory over Vitoria de Guimaraes, Manuel Machado's side have been unable to put a survival bid together, having picked up just one point from the four games since that win.

As a result, Os Nacionalistas will make an immediate return to the second tier after promotion last season, while their opponents will desperately look to avoid falling with them.

Rio Ave's Ivo Pinto with teammates after the match on January 15, 2021© Reuters

Similarly to their hosts, Rio Ave have fallen from a seemingly safe position into the fight for survival due to a poor second half of the season, having failed to win any of their last 11 league games while picking up just six points in that time.

Their survival hopes have taken another major hit with three consecutive defeats coming into Wednesday's crucial encounter, most recently falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Porto.

Goals from Antonio Martinez, Luis Diaz and Sergio Oliveira condemned Os Rioavistas to a thumping defeat at home, while an unlikely Farense victory at the weekend has seen the second-bottom side go level on points with Rio Ave.

Due to the Primeira Liga's priority on head-to-head results, Cardoso's men simply need to match or better Farense's result on Wednesday to stay out of the bottom two, while they could still move out of the relegation playoff place if they pick up a victory and 15th-placed Boavista suffer a defeat on the final day.

Nacional Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Rio Ave Primeira Liga form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Rio Ave players Gelson and Carlos Mane celebrate after scoring against AC Milan in the Europa League in October 2020© Reuters

Nacional have been dealt an unenviable injury record in the second half of the season, as they have played the last part of the campaign without the likes of Vincent Thill, Chico Ramos, Marco Matias and Joao Camacho.

In the absence of Camacho, Thill and Matias, Machado has struggled for options in the wide areas, instead switching to a system of three centre-backs and two strikers, with wing-backs Joao Vigario and Ruben Freitas responsible for both attacking and defending.

The line has been led by Brayan Riascos and Pedro Mendes recently, although Bryan Rochez will be hoping for a starting spot after a spell on the bench.

After moving to a more cautious shape for the visit of Porto last time out, Rio Ave should switch back to a more usual system on Wednesday as they aim to pick up all three points against a weak Nacional side.

That should see centre-back Nelson Monte drop back out of the side with Aderlan Santos and Toni Borevkovic partnering up at the heart of a more familiar back four alongside experienced full-backs Ivo Pinto and Fabio Coentrao.

The Rio Ave front line has struggled this season, and Cardoso's men have failed to find the net in the last four matches, but the attack should still be led by Carlos Mane, Gelson Dala and Rafael Camacho, given the lack of options.

Nacional possible starting lineup:
Filipe; Henrique, Cesar, Kal; Freitas, Azouni, Alhassan, Bessa, Vigario; Riasos, Rochez

Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Kieszek; Pinto, Borevkovic, Santos, Coentrao; Tarantini, Geraldes, Guga; Mane, Dala, Camacho

SM words green background

We say: Nacional 0-1 Rio Ave

While they have been poor in the second half of the season and look to be limping towards relegation, the need for a result coupled with Nacional's relegation should inspire the visitors to a crucial victory on Wednesday to avoid the automatic drop.

Nacional's fate being sealed should mean that they could be more of a pushover as opposed to if they were fighting for survival, meaning Cardoso's crop should outfight the basement side away from home.

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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Sporting Lisbon's Pedro Goncalves celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in January 2021
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Tuesday's Primeira Liga predictions including Sporting Lisbon vs. Boavista
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Todays Game Header Right
CSporting Lisbon34267165204585
5Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira34158114041-153
6Santa ClaraSanta Clara34137144436846
7Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes34127153744-743
11Gil Vicente34116173342-939
RRio AveRio Ave34713142540-1534
RSC FarenseFarense34710173148-1731

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