Sporting welcome Rio Ave for a Primeira Liga showdown at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Friday evening (6.30pm kick-off, UK time).
Sporting XI: Adán; Quaresma, Coates, Borja; Porro, Palhinha, João Mário, Plata; Gonçalves, Santos, Tiago Tomás.
Rio Ave XI: Kieszek; Pinto, Borevković, Santos, Coentrão; Mané, Tarantini, Guga, Amaral; Gelson, Geraldes.
How to live stream Sporting vs Rio Ave online:
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Where to watch Sporting vs Rio Ave on TV:
- UK: FreeSports
- US: GOLTV
Scoreline prediction: Sporting 2-1 Rio Ave
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Sporting vs Rio Ave build-up, pre-match team news & previous lineups:
Sporting remain unbeaten after their opening 13 matches, having registered 11 wins and two draws, which leaves them as the last unblemished side in Portugal’s top division and four points atop the championship table. Amorim’s men are currently on a four-game winning streak in the league, but go into this week’s Primeira Liga clash with Rio Ave looking to bounce back following their elimination from this season’s Taca de Portugal by Maritimo. It was Sporting’s first loss in all competitions since early October (1-4 v LASK in the Europa League qualifiers), subsequently ending a 15-match undefeated run.
Since a 0-2 loss to Benfica last January the Lions have gone 15 games without seeing an opposition team leave the Estadio Jose Alvalade with all three points. Across that run only Vitoria Setubal and FC Porto were able to grab a point, so Rio Ave are up against it. Currently stationed in mid-table, the Vilacondenses ended a three-match losing streak last time out when they ran out 3-0 winners over Portimonense, but on the road their recent form is less than stellar. Pedro Cunha’s side are on a three-game losing run and have only produced one win (0-1 at Farense) across their last seven away trips.
- Sporting (vs Maritimo): Maximiano; Borja, Feddal*, Neto; Plata, Matheus, Palhinha, Mendes; Tabata, Tomas, Santos.
- Rio Ave (vs Estoril Praia): Kieszek; Pinto, Borevkovic, Monte, Coentrao; Teixeira, Tarantini; Meshino, Geraldes, Mane; Pereira.
Zou Feddal serves a one-match suspension for Sporting, while Rio Ave head into this game without the services of Filipe Augusto and Junio with the latter recovering from a broken leg.
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Players to watch:
Sporting: A major catalyst behind Sporting’s incredible run so far this campaign has been the emergence of 22-year-old Portuguese midfielder Pedro Goncalves, having signed from Famalicao last summer. The former Wolves player is their leading marksman on 11 goals — which he’s managed across 12 league outings — subsequently filling the void left by Bruno Fernandes, who just two seasons ago produced 20 strikes in 33 games. Goncalves, also known as Pote, grabbed his second assist in Sporting’s win over Nacional last time out meaning the native of Chaves has only failed to score or create in four games this season. Goncalves goes into this game, though, with one goal in four appearances which he’s surely determined to improve upon.
Rio Ave: Goals have been hard to come by for Rio Ave this season. Heading into matchday 14 they’ve managed to register nine times which is the fewest of any top 13 side. That being said, one individual that will be relishing this showdown is former Sporting academy graduate Carlos Mane who, during 94 appearances for the Lions in all competitions, managed 14 goals and 17 assists. He is currently Rio Ave’s leading marksman on two goals. Last time out against Portimonense, which his side won 3-0, the Portuguese winger ended a seven-match goal drought.
Primeira Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Sporting: WWWWD
- Rio Ave: WLLLD
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