In the first round of the UEFA Conference League qualifying, we suffered a painful loss (1:2) away against FK Sūduva, with the winning goal scored at the very end of the game’s compensation time.
The new Eurocups season led us this year to Lithuania’s three-time champions, last season’s runners-up Marijampoles Sūduva. On this pair’s first fight in Lithuania, a team, led by Tamaz Pertia, went without a number of key players, with Victor Diagne, Pape Yare Fall, and Eriks Punculs staying at home due to injuries. The third consecutive game in starting 11 was given to Russian full-back Viktor Aleksandrov. No more surprises in starting lineup.
At the start of the game, Pertia’s men worked more with the ball, forcing their style of play in offense and even more successfully by performing full pressing. Several corner kicks were attempted, in one of which Joyskim Dawa nearly managed to put the ball into an opponent’s goal net. After the 20th minute, the hosts also became more and more convincing, causing already a headache to our defense. In the 27th minute, Valmiera’s fullback Luka Gadrani tackled a hard Sūduva player in their own penalty area, which the Luxembourg referee described as a violation of the rules by pointing to penalty. Argentinian midfielder Nikolas Gorobsov hit the ball right through the middle, just so that Valmiera’s goalkeeper Rihards Matrevivs could not save it with his feet while falling towards the right side of the goal.
Our response came in the 35th minute, when Alvis Jaunzems made a successful dribble on his right flank, followed by a cross that hit an opponent’s hand – another penalty. Raimonds Krollis unmistakably restored the balance as the result of this game.
After returning in the game after the break, a more convincing performance was demonstrated by the Sūduva who took control of the ball but made no dangerous moments near Matrevics goal. Passing this period of time, Valmiera’s side responded with yet another Jaunzems raid and cross to Krollis, whose headshot flew directly into the hands of the goalkeeper. The game-deciding events were taking place in the game’s added time. Matrevics first rescued his team, but then the third penalty in this game was implied when Aleksandrov played unsuccessfully with his hand in his penalty box. For the joy of Marijampole fans, the team’s new signing, the Greek Aleksandros Gargalatzidis executed the penalty well, thus giving his team a victory in this game.
In the second leg game on July 15 (at 19.00) at Daugava Stadium in Riga, our footballers will have to win with a favorable result in the sum of two games. Supporters and all football lovers will also be invited to support their team in this fight. We will report on the purchase of tickets in the near future.