Stalemate specialists on form as Rio Ave draw 1-1 against Arouca

Stalemate specialists Rio Ave lived up to their reputation after an entertaining 1-1 draw against Arouca at Estádio dos Arcos.

The visitors got on top but fell behind in the 36th minute when Joca beat the offside trap, racing onto João Teixeira’s pass and placing the ball over Ignacio de Arruabarrena.

Arouca equalised two minutes after the restart, Morlaye Sylla getting past some feeble defence before picking out Rafa Mújica who scored his 20th Primeira Liga goal of the season.

Rio Ave went closest to regaining the lead in the 77th minute, Emmanuel Boateng going on a long run and smashing a powerful effort into the post.

The result leaves Luís Freire’s side four points above Portimonense with four games to play.

Rio Ave 1-1 Arouca

It was a cagey start in Vila do Conde, Arouca eventually getting on top with Cristo González taking centre stage. Mateo Tanlongo passed the ball straight to the Spaniard who sent Rafa Mújica clear, the striker dragging his shot narrowly wide under pressure from Aderllan Santos.

Rio Ave weathered the storm and scored out of nowhere in the 36th minute.

João Teixeira played a lovely through ball from his own half which sent Joca clear, the winger dinking it over Ignacio de Arruabarrena before being ruled offside. VAR got involved and eventually found Joca narrowly onside, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The home side ended the first half strong, Teixeira going on a long run forward before Morlaye Sylla was booked for bringing him down.

Luís Freire would have been furious with what he saw after the break as Arouca equalised within two minutes. Sylla squeezed past three players and picked out Mújica, the in-form striker powering a low drive through Jhonatan and into the net.

Rio Ave might have set a record with Abdul-Aziz Yakubu, Patrick William and Costinha all scoring from offside positions within eight minutes.

Yakubu beat the offside trap for real in the 67th minute and raced onto Joca’s through ball, the striker rounding Arruabarrena but thwarted by Weverson who got back to make an important intervention.

Both teams wanted all three points which saw space open up and the tempo increase. Arouca were first to exert some pressure as González saw his shot blocked, Pedro Santos couldn’t keep his effort down and Jason fired a free kick wide.

Both managers got busy with substitutions introduced at regular intervals.

Emmanuel Boateng had entered the fray for Freire’s side and went desperately close in the 77th minute. Profiting from another Aderllan Santos challenge, he went on a long run forward and smashed a sweet strike into the post.

Santos made a crucial block to deny Mújica who was desperate to put his side in front, forcing a save from Jhonatan before González fired the last opportunity over the bar.


Rio Ave have now drawn 16 of their 30 Primeira Liga games including seven of their last eight. Unbeaten in their previous ten in Vila do Conde, they have become the very definition of hard to beat but sit just four points above Portimonense who occupy the relegation play-off position.

Aderllan Santos had a monster game, the 35-year-old making a number of important challenges and leading from the back.

Former Chaves midfielder João Teixeira has found his feet in Portugal after a brief stint in Qatar, his vision and class a welcome addition to Luís Freire’s side.

Arouca created the majority of chances but were wasteful in front of goal, Rafa Mújica notching his 20th Primeira Liga goal to move one behind Simon Banza and two behind Viktor Gyökeres.

By Matthew Marshall at Estádio dos Arcos