MX23RW : Monday, February 1 16:46:20| >> :60:494:494:
Dec 22, 2020 at 8.15pm UK at Estadio Municipal
Rio AveRio Ave
Horta (43'), Fransergio (62'), Paulinho (88')
Tormena (60')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

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

Braga host Rio Ave in the Portuguese Primeira Liga as two of last season's top five go head-to-head on Tuesday evening.

The home side come into this one in good form, having won their last three matches in all competitions, whereas Rio Ave have so far struggled to replicate their strong 2019-20 showing.

Match preview

Braga's Paulinho celebrates scoring against Leicester City in the Europa League on November 26, 2020© Reuters

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal is now at the helm at the Estadio Municipal de Braga after guiding Rio Ave to their record points total last campaign.

Carvalhal will be hoping to bring some much-needed stability to Os Arcebispos during his second stint with the Portuguese outfit after the club went through a raft of head coaches in a turbulent, albeit successful, 2019-20.

A 2-1 loss away to Belenenses at the start of the month is Braga's only defeat in their last nine outings across the league and multiple cup competitions in what has been a strong start to the season.

Eighteen points from their opening nine top flight games have left them in fourth position ahead of this midweek encounter, with their only other domestic deficits coming in their first two outings of the new campaign.

A strong showing in the Europa League group stages saw Braga qualify from Group G alongside Leicester City at a canter, and Portugal's fourth force have shown they are in a good position to challenge the traditional trio that rules over the Iberian nation's footballing landscape.

After seeing Carvalhal depart in the summer, Rio Ave turned to Mario Silva to try and carry on the good work the 55-year-old started, but his compatriot has had a trickier time.

Vilacondenses were knocked out of the Europa League playoffs by Italian giants AC Milan, and their two league wins to date indicate an immediate return to continental competition is unlikely.

While Rio Ave's defensive record has rightly won many plaudits, with seven goals conceded meaning they have the joint-best record at the back, they are yet to find a balance throughout the side.

Silva's men have found the back of the net on just five occasions, the joint-lowest total in the Primeira Liga. It is, therefore, no surprise that their current three-game winless run in the league has seen them fail to score in each of those clashes.

If they have serious ambitions of climbing the table then the likes of Gelson Dala, Bruno Moreira and Ronan are going to have to find their scoring touch sooner rather than later.

Braga Primeira Liga form: WWWWWL
Braga form (all competitions): WWLWWW

Rio Ave Primeira Liga form: LWWDLD
Rio Ave form (all competitions): WDWLDW

Team News

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

Braga are without centre-forward Rui Fonte and full-back Francisco Moura with the pair several months away from making a return to first-team action.

Portuguese forward Paulinho will be hoping to retain his place in the starting lineup after bagging a hat-trick last time out.

Rio Ave will have to cope without Matheus Reis once again as the Brazilian defender is still suspended by the club after refusing to play against Vitoria de Guimaraes back in September.

Experienced left-back Fabio Coentrao is out with a muscle injury, as well as Andre Pereira, with the pair joining long-term absentee Junio (broken leg) on the sidelines.

Braga possible starting lineup:
Matheus; Sequeira, Carmo, Viana; Galeno, Castro, Elmusrati, Esgaio; Horta, Paulinho, Medeiros

Rio Ave possible starting lineup:
Kieszek; Pinto, Borevkovic, Santos, Amaral; Pele, Augusto; Mane, Geraldes, Lopes; Gelson

SM words green background

We say: Braga 2-0 Rio Ave

The two teams enter Tuesday's game in contrasting form. Braga will have serious ambitions of upsetting the odds and finishing in the top three, while Rio Ave will be hoping to turn their season around and rediscover their goalscoring touch.

A trip to the Estadio Municipal de Braga is not the easiest place to do that though, and Carvalhal will be confident of getting one over his former side.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


How you voted: Braga vs Rio Ave

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Todays Game Header Right
1Sporting Lisbon1512303392439
5Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes159242013729
6Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira1584322121028
9Santa ClaraSanta Clara155371519-418
12Rio AveRio Ave153661118-715
17Gil Vicente153481017-713
18SC FarenseFarense153391522-712

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