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Jan 25, 2021 at 4.30pm UK
Rio AveRio Ave
Santa ClaraSanta Clara
Meshino (26')
Borevkovic (36'), Augusto (57'), Gabrielzinho (60'), Jeronimo (79'), Silva (80'), Pinto (87')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Carlos (24'), Morita (89')
Lucas (68')

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

:Headline: Preview: Rio Ave vs. Santa Clara - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Primeira Liga clash between Rio Ave and Santa Clara, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Rio Ave host Santa Clara in a mid-table clash on Monday afternoon in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

Marco Carvalho's men picked up a point away from home against league-leaders Sporting Lisbon last time out, while the visitors fell to a disappointing defeat on home soil when they entertained Famalicao.

Match preview

Rio Ave are currently 10th in the league standings after picking up 15 points from their opening 14 league games.

The Portuguese top flight is extremely tight this year, and despite Carvalho's side's respectable position, they are only three points above the relegation zone.

Scoring goals has been the Estadio dos Arcos outfit's issue throughout 2020-21. They have found the back of the net on just 10 occasions to date, meaning only one Primeira Liga side has scored fewer goals than Vilacondenses.

A clash on home soil against a team just one place above them is a perfect opportunity for Rio Ave to put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone, and that is exactly how they will be viewing this midweek encounter.

If Carvalho can harness the momentum of his side's promising performance last time out, then the three points could be theirs.

Santa Clara's three-game unbeaten run came to an end on Sunday when goals from Jhonata Robert and Andrija Lukovic condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.

Daniel Ramos's side have failed to pick up three points while on Primeira Liga duty since the start of December, and their recent struggles are threatening to drag them back into the relegation mix.

Two points from a possible 15 represents a serious slump for Os Acoreanos, who made a strong start to the season, and they will be desperate to turn their fortunes around as quickly as possible.

Brazilian forward Thiago Santana was crucial to Santa Clara at the start of the campaign, scoring seven top-flight goals in nine Primeira Liga appearances, and his transfer to J-League outfit Shimizu S-Pulse has hugely affected his former club's form.

Rio Ave Primeira Liga form: DLLLWD
Rio Ave form (all competitions): LLLWLD

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form: WLLDDL
Santa Clara form (all competitions): LLDDWL

Team News

Rio Ave will be without a number of first-team players due to injury and suspension. Right-back Junio is a long-term absentee after the young defender broke his leg back in June.

He is joined on the treatment table by Felipe Augusto, Nikola Jambor, Pele and Andre Pereira, while full-back Matheus Reis is suspended.

Ramos has the luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from on Monday in what could prove to be a pivotal game in Santa Clara's season.

That means Iranian striker Shahriar Moghanlou is set to start up front once again as the 26-year-old searches for his first goal of the season.

Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Kieszek; Coentrao, Santos, Borevkovic, Pinto; Guga, Tarantini; Amaral, Chico Geraldes, Carlos Mane; Gelson

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Marco; Ramos, Cardoso, Villanueva, Lucas; Carvalho, Nene; Carlos, Lincoln, Ukra; Moghanlou

We say: Rio Ave 1-1 Santa Clara

Neither side are in great form coming into this one and will be happy to take home a point apiece. We think it is most likely to end in a low-scoring draw after a game of few chances between two evenly matched teams.

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Primeira Liga Table
1Sporting Lisbon20173042103254
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8Santa ClaraSanta Clara207492023-325
9Rio AveRio Ave205781623-722
14Gil Vicente2054111626-1019
15SC FarenseFarense2046102229-718
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