A tough loss in the first leg of third round qualifying match

11 August 2023

Valmiera FC continued to play through the UEFA Conference league qualification tournament. The 3rd round first leg brought the team to Skonto Stadium in Riga, as the usual grounds – Jana Dalina Stadium no longer fit the requirements. A lead was taken in the first half but it wasn’t enough to grant a victory – 1:2 the final loss and a win for FK Partizani.

Notable that in this game Jurgis Kalns was left without Daniels Balodis, who was on the bench due to an injury while Roberts Veips and Niks Sliede were the pair as centerbacks.

The first half was entertaining, and both teams’ fans could look on and be proud. Battles, attack attempts as well as interesting dribbles. For Valmiera, the Senegalese pair up-front showed their capabilities but it didn’t lead to anything significant.

The hosts did look better as the half progressed and once again – Alioune Ndoye with the chance but it was blocked. Corner-kick didn’t work but another good chance was created.

The stalemate was finally broken in the 27th minute when Gustavo stole the show with an unexpected meteorite in the close upper corner of the Albanian side’s goal. It was an electric moment in Skonto stadium, but unfortunately also the last.

After the half-time break, Partizani all of a sudden looked like a mostly different team in terms of football capabilities. More courage, more strength as compared to what was offered in the first half.

The 58th minute was the moment went the opponent managed to break through and reach an equalizer – Tedi Cara was forgotten and stood alone against Carlos Olses who had no business making the save.

Just 18 minutes later a misfortune by Olses who appeared to be scouting birds and then a long ball was sent towards him. At that moment our goalie slipped and it was too late and too awkward to reach the ball and make a save.

In the remaining minutes of the match, Valmiera did switch gears once again and tried to look for the tie on the scoreboard. Pape Yare Fall attempted crosses that didn’t connect, Leo Gaucho tested the goalkeeper but it wasn’t quite enough. Opponents kept their lead at all costs – even if it meant yellow cards.

Our next game will be played on Sunday (13.08) when the team will return to Jana Dalina stadium and host FS Jelgava in the 26th round of Optibet Virsliga.

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