Boavista, who have not won a game in the Primeira Liga since their shock victory against local rivals Benfica in early November, will be desperate to put their run of poor form behind them and haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
Since his arrival in early December, new head coach Lito Vidigal has turned Maritimo’s fortunes around with consecutive league wins against Belenenses and Rio Ave.
With the team’s run of poor form behind them, Maritimo, who currently sit ninth in the league, will be eager to extend their new lease of life against Boavista at the Estadio de Maritimo.
While the Madeira-based outfit’s defence has been shaky at times this season, Vidigal can take pride in the fact that his team boast one of the best attacks in the league with a total of 14 goals scored so far.
This can largely be attributed to the consistency of the team’s talismanic forward Rodrigo Pinho, who has netted half of his side’s goals this season, and Vidigal will certainly hope that his star man is up for the fight on Sunday.
One man who will be praying that Pinho has not got his shooting boots on is Boavista boss Jesualdo Ferreira, who will only be taking charge of his third game at the club since his return in mid-December.
If the age-old Lisbon club are to avoid the drop this season, Ferreira will have to move fast in shoring up his team’s defence.
The Panthers have the joint-worst defence in the league this season having conceded 20 goals so far, leaking almost two goals a game on average.
Yet, having only lost once in their last four games, there are signs that Boavista could be on the cusp of turning the corner.
Maritimo Primeira Liga form: DLLLWW
Boavista Primeira Liga form: WLDDDL
Having emerged both victorious and largely unscathed from their 3-1 win over Rio Ave on Monday, Vidigal will have a fit and healthy squad at his disposal against Boavista.
With Joel bagging a brace against Rio Ave last time out, there is little doubt that the Cameroonian attacker will retain his place in the starting XI.
Much like Vidigal, Ferreira will also have the satisfaction of a predominantly fit squad on Sunday.
Honduran striker Jorge Benguche made a late substitute appearance against Braga last time out, suggesting he could work his way into Ferreira’s plans.
However, Ferreira will likely start former Manchester United starlet Angel Gomes who has picked up three goals and five assists so far this season.
Maritimo possible starting lineup:
Abedzadeh; Santos, Junior, Andrade; Winck, Bambock, Jean, Hermes; Joel, Pinho, Guitane
Boavista possible starting lineup:
Leonardo; Cannon, Devenish, Awaziem, Hamache; Paulinho, Show, Santos; Elis, Gomes, Nije
We say: Maritimo 2-1 Boavista
There is little doubt about it, Maritimo are the better outfit in this clash, and with Joel and Pinho both playing well, Vidigal’s men definitely look capable of stealing all three points. Do not expect Boavista to go down quietly though.
Top betting tip
Source: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk