The second day of Turkish training camp brought us our first exhibition battle – the fourth one during pre-season. Two goals against – a single one in each of the halves meant that the victory would turn its side and leave the pitch with our first opponents – FC Hermannstadt.
The game was off to a promising start as Valmiera controlled the ball more. A good opportunity was created by Daisuke Yokota who tried to connect with Diop Meissa but he couldn’t get to the ball. After that things shifted a little in favor of the opponents – first they had a good chance from a distance that caused issues but eventually was neutralized.
In the 19th minute, however, they managed to take the lead – an error defensively caused Yokota to be left all alone in the penalty area with the ball and three opponents surrounded him, stole the ball, and slipped it into the lower-left corner of the net. Our team once again regained control of the game but the equalizer wasn’t found.
A planned substitution was also made during the first half – Raimonds Krollis stepped off the pitch and was replaced by Ingars Pūlis. Further changes were also made to begin the second half once again as seen previously in the preparation process younger players were sent out to play.
The start of the second half showed that FC Hermannstadt wasn’t here to toy around either as they tried to find a way to extend their lead further. Their efforts were awarded as a 2:0 lead was found – a one-on-one battle between the opposing player and our goalie resulted in a goal against.
By the time clock hit the 65th minute Valmiera had a completely fresh squad on the pitch. That allowed our team to take control of the ball in our own hands. The opponents had to rely on counterattacks while we tried to find a goal but couldn’t. Niks Dusalijevs had a perfect opportunity from close range but it flew just past the left post, while Lusins attempt was stopped by the goalie.
The score was out of reach as the game approached its end thus handing us our first loss in Turkey this year.
Starting 11 vs FC Hermannstadt: Vjaceslavs Kudrjavcevs, Maksims Tonisevs, Roman Yakuba, Pape Fall, Alvis Jaunzems, Masaki Murata, Djibril Gueye, Daisuke Yokota, Diop Meissa, Luka Silagadze, Raimonds Krollis.
Substitutes: Rihards Matrevics, Rudolfs Zengis, Valeri Chupin, Kristers Neilands, Aleksandr Gapechkin, Niks Dusalijevs, Kristers Lusins, Eriks Punculs, Ingars Pulis, Testable Player #1, Testable Player #2, Testable Player #6.
The next game is scheduled on February 9 at 16.00 Latvian time against Ukrainian side FC Zorya Luhansk.