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Dec 5, 2021 at 3.30pm UK
Santa ClaraSanta Clara
Crysan (21', 45+5')
Pereira (46'), Nene (49'), Ramos (58'), Boateng (73')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Nunes (45+1')
Quaresma (16'), Valderrama (70'), Campi (90+1'), Nunes (90+4')

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

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

The Portuguese Primeira Liga returns with a fresh set of absorbing fixtures as Santa Clara play host to Arouca at the Estadio de Sao Miguel on Sunday.

This will be the first league meeting between the sides since a goalless draw in the Segunda Liga back in 2018 and they will both be looking to get one over the other.

Match preview

Santa Clara were denied their second win of the season last Monday when they played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Estoril Praia at the Estadio Antonio Coimbra da Mota.

Brazilian forward Crysan put the visitors ahead four minutes after the hour mark after Lincoln and Rosier Loreintz scored to end the first half level but Andre Franco calmly converted from 12 yards to force a share of the spoils.

This followed a fourth-round exit from the Taca de Portugal following a thumping 6-0 defeat at the hands of Braga when the sides met at the Estadio Braga Municipal on November 20.

Os Acoreanos have now failed to taste victory in any of their last eight league outings, picking up three draws and losing five since a slender 1-0 win over Gil Vicente on August 29.

Santa Clara, who secured an impressive sixth-placed finish last season, currently sit rock-bottom in the Primeira Liga standings after a horrid start to the season which has seen them pick up just seven points from a possible 36.

This has been owing to their frailties at both ends of the pitch as they boast the league's worst defensive record with 25 goals conceded, while scoring just nine in attack.

While Nuno Campos's men will be seeking to end this poor run and get the campaign up and running, next up is an opposing side who are unbeaten in four of the last five meetings between the teams, picking up three wins and one draw in that time.

Meanwhile, Arouca returned to winning ways last time out when they saw off a resilient Boavista side 2-1 on home turf.

In an end-to-end contest at the Estadio Municipal de Arouca, Oday Dabbagh and Antony Alves netted either side of Petar Musa's 54th-minute equaliser to condemn the visitors to a third straight defeat.

Arouca are now unbeaten in each of their last four outings, picking up two wins and two draws since ending their six-game winless run back in October.

This decent run of games has seen Armando Evangelista's men rise into the top half of the Primeira Liga table as they currently occupy ninth place after picking up 13 points from 12 games.

Santa Clara Primeira Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

Santa Clara form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D

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

Arouca form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Santa Clara remain without the articles of Portuguese midfielder Ruben Oliveira, who continues his long journey to full fitness after sustaining a severe injury back in May.

Costinha is also out of contention for the hosts after the 29-year-old picked up an Achilles tendon injury against Moreirense back in August.

After missing two consecutive games through injury, first-choice goalkeeper Marco Pereira returned to the fold against Estoril Praia last time out and we expect the 34-year-old to start in goal once again.

Meanwhile, Arouca will be without the services of defender Jose Manuel Velazquez, who continues his spell on the sidelines through injury.

He is joined on the club's injury table by Brazilian goalkeeper Fernando Augusto, who is set to miss his sixth game on the bounce after picking up an injury in the game against Sporting Lisbon back in October.

The visitors will be boosted by the return of Andre Silva, who missed the game against Boavista after receiving his marching orders in the draw with Gil Vicente on November 5.

However, the Brazilian forward could start from the bench on Sunday after Oday Dabbagh staked his claim for a second consecutive start with a sensational performance in the aforementioned game, where he had a hand in both goals to inspire the visitors to all three points.

Santa Clara possible starting lineup:
Pereira; Rodrigues, Afonso, Henrique, Mansur; Carvalho, Morita, Lincoln; Allano, Patric, Costa

Arouca possible starting lineup:
Braga; Thales, Basso, Ba, Quaresma; L Silva, Eugeni, Kouassi; Bukia, Nunes, Dabbagh

We say: Santa Clara 1-1 Arouca

While a win could see Santa Clara rise out of the drop zone, they take on a rejuvenated Arouca side, who head into the game on a four-game winless run. We anticipate both sides will take a cautious approach to avoid another defeat and settle for a share of the spoils.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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Primeira Liga Table
2Sporting Lisbon21172241132853
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6Vitoria de GuimaraesGuimaraes218673226630
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10Santa ClaraSanta Clara216692539-1424
12Pacos de FerreiraPacos de Ferreira214981524-921
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