JACK Wright's (@JackWright_BSB) brilliant Bet of the Day continues on Thursday as we head to Portugal…
Tondela vs Nacional | Thursday 22nd April 2021, 15:00
Time is running out for Nacional to save their top flight status and avoid an immediate return to the second tier of Portuguese football with a Thursday afternoon trip to the Viseu District their next opportunity to close the six-point gap between themselves and Maritimo in the relegation playoff spot.
The Alvinegros have had a final roll of the dice with president Rui Alves dispensing of the services of promotion winning manager Luís Freire, replacing him with Manuel Machado from local third tier club Berço S.C. after activating a clause allowing him to move freely to a top-flight club.
The 65-year-olds has had three previous spells in charge of relegation-threatened Nacional, with his last stay ending my “mutual consent” in December 2016 with the team third from bottom in the league, going on to manage Arouca for the final games of the season before suffering the ignominy of becoming the first manager to be fired by two teams in the same season, with both suffering relegation.
This fourth reign couldn’t have started any worse with back-to-back 5-1 defeats, at home to Portimonense and away at Santa Clara although an improved performance saw them come close to upsetting FC Porto last time out, but none the less a 1-0 loss consigned Nacional to a ninth successive league defeat.
In contrast Tondela have given themselves some breathing space at the foot of the table and must surely earmark this as a fantastic opportunity to open a seven-point gap between them and that relegation play off place.
An incredible hat-trick from Mario Gonzalez with goals on 3, 9 and 13 minutes gave the Gold and Greens their second consecutive win on the road but despite that it was a stunning run of home form that has helped them to the relative comfort of mid table.
Pako Ayestarán’s side won their first five Primeira Liga games of 2021 on home soil, and it was no disgrace to have that run ended by back-to-back narrow defeats by the top two sides, Porto (2-0) and Sporting (1-0).
I was surprised to see odds against for the former Liverpool and Valencia man's side to take full advantage of this home game against a side in such a bad run of form to return to winning ways at Estadio Joao Cardoso – and they get my vote for my Bet of the Day.
Tondela vs Nacional – Tondela to win (11/10 Sky Bet)