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The first half of the match was rather cagey, as both teams created few chances and with Rio Ave defending very tightly, allowing Nacional to pass the ball amongst themselves but not threatening the final third. Action was very scarce in this half, the biggest note being a yellow card for Gomaa at the 31st minute.
Gomaa was replaced by Candeias at half-time, in a very stale performance by the young Egyptian.
Rio Ave began the second half very lively and it did not take long for the goal to arrive. Ukra placed the cross and Koka managed to dodge the defense and tap the ball into the back of the Nacional net.
Nacional tried to reply, but their play became sloppy and chances were not bothering goalkeeper Ederson. Coach Manuel Machado then brought on Reginaldo, who beefed up the Madeiran attack, along with Lucas João, who replaced Ghazal at the 69th minute.
After a couple of strong attempts at goal from Reginaldo, Nacional managed to equalize. Reginaldo with the cross into the box and Diego Barcellos headed the ball into the goal.
The match remained lively until the end, with chances at both ends, but draw prevailed.
Nacional are now 5th in the Liga Zon Sagres table, with a 5 point advantage on Vitória Guimarães and well inside the Europa League qualification zone. Rio Ave are now 11th, with 23 points.
Next Friday, Rio Ave will host Académica, whilst Nacional have a tough match against Braga on Saturday.