Worst season of the decade. Rio Ave had a catastrophic performance that ended in having to play a relegation match against Second Division’s 3rd place. And there’s nothing that can be said to justify such a failure of a season.
Rio Ave started the season as a strong candidate for a top-5 position, with a squad even stronger than in previous years. However, Lucas Piazon and Diego Lopes left very early, while the unexperienced Mário Silva was struggling to give the team a proper management.
The former left-back lasted only 11 on the job. Pedro Cunha led the team for 4 rounds until Miguel Cardoso arrived with the status of having been the responsible for Rio Ave’s excellent 2017/18 season.
After some initial good wins, Rio Ave went on to a very long poor sequence of results from round 23 up until the 33rd round: 11 straight games without winning, 5 of them were defeats.
The injuries to Carlos Mané and Rafael Camacho proved to be fatal in this last part of the season, as the usually prolific Rio Ave attack was the worst attack of the entire league.
Geraldes was irregular as he always is, Pelé dropped his form as the season went on, Tarantini and Coentrão showed signs of being veterans, Filipe Augusto had a few physical problems. Only the 2 centre-halves had constant solid performances.
If Rio Ave manages to survive the relegation playoffs, they will need to make a deep introspective analysis to determine the cause of this season’s issues. The quality of the squad is certainly not the problem.