Sporting Clube de Portugal come off two wins in a row for the first time since January, and will look to extend the momentum in a visit north to Vila do Conde to face Rio Ave.
Sporting have failed to win away against Rio Ave since the 14th January 2009, a 1-0 win in the Taça da Liga, in which Simon Vukčević grabbed the winner. Sporting’s last league win away came 1st November 2008 with Liédson grabbing the winner in another 1-0 win on that occasion. In the last game between the two sides at the Estádio do Rio Ave back in March of this year finished a 0-0 draw.
The Leões will have reason for optimism for a victory this time with Rio Ave in terrible form and Sporting having won 3 of their last 4 games now.
Rio Ave come into this match on a rotten run of form, having lost their last 3 games and failing to pick up a win in the league all season which means there will be plenty of pressure on manager Carlos Brito.
In Rio Ave’s squad there’s a couple of players who have spent some of their time with Sporting. Valdir, who only managed to make appearances for the old B team, the veteran Paulo Santos, who spent only a couple of years in as youth player, and Tiago Pinto, the left-back who left the club back in 2009 before being able to break into the first team.
Once again Daniel Carriço is not part of the team that has travelled to face Rio Ave, the captain is seemingly now 4th choice for the centre-back slot, with Alberto Rodríguez and Oguchi Onyewu likely to retain their central defensive roles.
Marat Izmailov is out with an injury and Luis Aguiar and Jeffrén also still not recovered from their injuries. Matías Fernández does travel with the squad though as he has recovered from his injury problems. Elias also returns to the squad after having cup-tied for the win against FC Zürich.
Emiliano Insúa and Diego Capel particularly impressed in that game and will be likely to retain their roles on the left hand side. Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s goal should ensure he retains the striker role.
The midweek performance against FC Zürich was impressive and Sporting must look to build up on that to be able to push Benfica and Porto for the league.
Possible SPORTING XI:
João Pereira – Alberto Rodríguez – Ânderson Polga – Emiliano Insúa
Fabián Rinaudo – Stijn Schaars
Bruno Pereirinha – Elias – Diego Capel
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel