LIPEĀJA TOO MUCH FOR BATTLING UNITED
26 / 09 / 2016
A battling effort from the United Ladies saw them lose in the second half.
Date published: 26/09/2016 - 22:24
Riga United FC Ladies 0-4 FK Liepāja
I have tried to avoid using it my whole time writing match reports but Saturday’s game between Riga United and FK Liepāja summed up the old adage “football is a game of two halves”.
In a match where in the first United went ‘toe-to-toe’ with Liepāja and arguably played the better football, finished 0-0. However, the game finished 4-0 to Liepāja, with Riga on the end of another battling loss.
The first half was a very gutsy performance. They came out determined and looking to put the pressure on Liepāja. It worked well, Liepāja didn’t look they had many ideas as the full-backs pressured the wingers well and the defence did a good job of clearing the lines.
Any shots or crosses which were coming in were dealt with easily enough by goalie Evelīna Romanova or the CB pairing of Pia Foosnaes and Gina Grosland. Transitioning forward was a little harder for United, as they looked to create a few chances and try and get behind the back line. As the half wore on, Liene Vāciete was linking well with Marit Gjerde alongside the wingers and though there were few clear cut chances for United, Linda Kazlauska going very close with a shot which just went wide, there were chances for Riga.
In the second half, United looked equally determined and set to continue, however, after the shouting the Liepāja players had received at half time, they were equally ready. The Black Cats started the half too slowly, which was also the problem previously in the Rēzekne game.
Suddenly Riga’s passing game wasn’t coming together and they were starting to sit off Liepāja a bit. One or two harsh calls for free kicks started to put pressure on the home team and it paid off for Liepāja in the 53rd minute.
It was not more than five minutes later that Liepāja scored their second from a fast counter, which should have potentially been given for offside.
United did find some impetus and started getting forward but again failing to take their chances, so when Liepāja’s third goal came in the 63rd minute, after United failed to deal with a corner, it took the momentum from United’s feet. Though, there was no lack of fight, the Ladies gave everything they could in the second half.
Late on in the half, they had some chances and even struck the post but it was not to be Riga’s day as in the last minute Liepāja ‘rubbed salt in the wound’ and scored a fourth.
The loss was difficult for Riga but they will regroup for next year and still feel they can beat Liepāja. The loss was softened by the knowledge later on in the day that Rēzekne had also lost and by a bigger amount, so it’s Riga United who will take 3rd place.
It’s the third time Liepāja have scored a four goal margin against Riga United this season. Despite challenging Liepāja, they have always managed to find that lucky break to open the scoring and this game was no different.
All four goals came in the second half for Liepāja and they may have got away with a couple of things that were missed. Leading up into the first goal in the 53rd minute, J. Tarasova should have been penalised for a handball but instead a couple of seconds later there was a deemed foul on her and the resulting free kick flew into the top of the net.
The second goal came four minutes later United failed to deal with J. Tarasova again, however, there was quite a clear offside from her as Liepāja went forward, which United could feel aggrieved by.
The third goal, in the 63rd minute was through United not dealing with a corner effectively enough and the fourth goal came on the stroke of the full time whistle, almost, by this point though United were tired and Liepāja took advantage.
Justin had his thoughts on the Liepāja goals: “Tony [McMullen] and I saw a handball by [Jeļena] Tarasova just before their free kick when they scored the opening goal. It is one of those key decisions or moments that can turn a game. I also thought their second goal was offside in the transition. Their third is a sucker punch and the fourth makes the scoreline very flattering to Liepāja with it coming in the final minute. But, at the end of the day, Liepāja stepped up a gear in the second half and took almost all their goal scoring chances.”
Looking to next year:
It’s been a positive step this year for the United Ladies’. They shall receive their bronze medals and quite rightly so. The team has two joint scorers rather than one outstanding scorer, plus a lot of the goals came from well-worked passing moves.
As the Liepāja game showed though, United need to look at taking their chances going forward. The coaches could potentially look back to three games this season where if the clear chances had been taken, they would have been three vital away victories.
They have some excellent, strong versatile players in the team, however, the turnover of players to last year has been quite big and the players available too few quite a few times. And here is a point which will need to be looked at for next year. Compared to other teams, this has commented on by other players from other teams, every time one of the other teams plays Riga United, it is often a different team from the previous game.
If Riga United could find a consistent selection, the team will gel a lot better and the results will no doubt improve. The quality is in the team and some of the skill of the players is above a few players in the league but they have to find that consistency amongst the squad.
Pia Foosnaes, Marit Gjerde and Liene Vāciete all won awards for their performances, this year at the annual Riga United awards. Without arguments, they have been the vital spine of United and have given the team a great core to work with and off of for next season. If the three play consistently then you are looking at a much tougher team next year. It’s obviously not about individuals but with the potential for this partnership in place, the team will look to improve on their position next year.
Plus with the upcoming youth players, who have made names for themselves this year, such as Marte Gronvold and Linda Kazlauska. There is a lot of promise for Riga United Ladies in 2017.
What the manager said:
After the game, Justin Walley reflected on the final game of the season: “I so much wanted us to end the season and my time with the girls on a high. That first half performance was definitely one of the best by a Riga United Ladies side. They did exactly what I asked them to do. The team shape was absolutely spot on and it made it difficult for Liepaja to play to their strengths. I thought Linda [Kazlauska] had put one in the top corner but it just swerved wide. Aleksej was going mad at their girls at half time. I just asked for more of the same. I really believed at that point that it was going to be our day. Sadly, our minds seemed to stay in the dressing room. Maybe we started the second half feeling too relaxed. We gave away some possession from being sloppy and the two quick goals seemed to instantly galvanise them. Our self belief died after that as did the legs of three or four of the girls.”
“To be fair though, we kept going and hit the post. We also squandered three decent chances to get back in the game. They have done that time and time again against us.”
“As a club, we are still some way behind Liepaja but with last season's 2-2 and the first half here, we have shown that when we play at our very best, we can more than match the second best team in Latvia. We have finished this season as the third best team in Latvia.. Already you can see the big development in young players like Marte [Gronvold] and Linda [Kazlauska]. I wish the future coaches and, of course, the ladies the very best of luck and hope they all continue to enjoy their football and being a part of our lovely football club.”