On Thursday Valmiera FC traveled to LNK Sporta Parks where the 10th-round game between visitors and RFS was played. Current champions against former champions – and what was special, this marked the first game played on the natural grass pitch in Virsliga for the 2023 season. RFS was the better team on the scoresheet this time despite Valmiera being better statistically, with 1:2 as the final score.
The match began with an offensive effort by RFS. They wanted to dictate the actions on the pitch and show off their capabilities. Valmiera offered counter-attacks. Corner kicks were the theme. One of many gave the edge to the hosts – a cross followed and the ball fumbled from body to body to reach Cedric Kuadio who shot the ball into an empty upper right corner of the goal. An early lead for RFS.
Shortly after a substitution followed as Jurgis Kalns was forced to take off Maksims Tonisevs and allow Emils Birka to enter the battle. The game suddenly shifted. Valmiera was the team to beat. Ball control was taken, and charging attacks were made but it lacked one simple thing – a final pass to a decent finisher. The first half also presented many long pauses due to the VAR system getting to work.
Towards the end of the half Valmiera fans suddenly got a reason to cheer. Weak handball in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the 11-meter mark. Ivan Zhelizko stood up for the second time this season and delivered to reach an equalizer.
The early minutes of the second half showed Valmiera being the better team and RFS offering counters. Even more so that in the 47th minute the RFS bench got an award for their emotions – a yellow card.
From there things went south for Valmiera. A lot more battles in the middle part of the pitch. RFS trying to hold onto the ball and things worked for them. In the 69th minute Andrej Ilic scored and once again gave his team a lead.
Jurgis Kalns slowly made changes on the pitch, Gustavo Silva, and Ingars Pulis stepped on the pitch. More chances were had but the second equalizer was never found. A painful loss at LNK Sporta Parks and zero points to bring home.
Our next game will be played on Monday (08.05) when we will return home – to Janis Dalins stadium and host SK Super Nova Salaspils.