Heading into the final week with a draw

21 February 2023

To ring in the final week of the Turkey training camp Valmiera FC played its fifth exhibition game. This time around in a rather stressful and physical environment a draw was registered against the Metalist Kharkiv team.

The first half demonstrated some of everything as both sides were allowed to play in both attacking and defensive ends. The Latvian side started with confidence quickly gaining the lead on the scoreboard but then were forced to sit back for a while. A rather open game showcasing different qualities. As the end of the half approached its end both had already scored and had battled plenty. yellow cards had already been dealt out.

The early perfomance allowed Valmiera to get on the scoresheet early. The attack through the left flank turned out into a cross by Niks Dusalijevs. The ball flew into the penalty area and Meissa Diop was right there to head the ball into the net.

After taking a minimal lead efforts didn’t end there – another goal was really earned. Maksims Tonisevs fought till the end assuring that a corner kick would be the way to go. A cross into the penalty box followed and the man himself was there – Tonisevs was left unattended and open to using his head to assure a comfortable 2:0 lead.

The score could’ve been run up to make it even more one-sided, but Niks Dusalijevs elected to shoot past an empty net when another cross came to land in the penalty area.

Of course, Metalist side also had their fair share when attacking – first a very precise floater was unleashed but newly added Carlos Olses managed to make an effective save.

Around ten minutes after that save he made another brilliant one – first, he stopped an attempt from outside of the box but a repeated action followed and although he was down and out, somehow he managed to get back up and tip the ball over the net.

The efforts of the Ukranian side eventually did turn into a goal – a misplay between Fraj Kairmani and Pape Yare Fall led to a quick counter in which the ball was quickly delivered to the front of the net to cut down the lead by a goal.

For the second half Jurgis Kalns already had prepared for substitutions – Emils Birka, Renars Varslavans, Alvis Jaunzems, and Djibril Gueye entered the game. Eventually, more and more players got involved in the match – both old and new, that have joined the team on trial.

Overall the second half kept showing that the game would be close and that the opponent had no business handing out a victory card. Results changed and changed dramatically.

It didn’t take long for Valmiera to renew the two-goal lead. Obviously, another corner kick and a cross by Ivan Zhelizko, this time to the far side, and Daniels Balodis went up in the air and assured that the header would go in.

As the match approached the end Davis Veisbuks stepped into the goal. Veisbuks joined his teammate and made a superb save, however, a few minutes after receiving applause he conceded a goal that came from a high trajectory and he had no business stopping that.

A string of unfortunate events – another great save by the goalkeeper but then an 11-meter penalty kick was awarded and of course, that was the equalizer that ended the game in a 3:3 tie.

Our starting 11 vs Metalist Kharkiv: Carlos Olses, Daniels Balodis(c), Roberts Veips, Maksims Tonisevs, Pape Yare Fall, Ivan Zhelizko, Fraj Kairmani, Meissa Diop, Niks Dusalijevs, Ingars Pulis and one testable player.

The players involved in the game from the bench: Alvis Jaunzems, Renars Varslavans, Emils Birka, Djibril Gueye, Kristers Čudars, Dāvis Veisbuks, Kristiāns Kaušelis and four testable players.

Our next game will be played on Thursday (23.02) when we will be playing against FC Abdysh-Ata from Kyrgyzstan.

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