DOGGED DETERMINATION EARNS RIGA A DRAW
09 / 09 / 2016
A 3rd minute goal from Niels Krause set up a determined effort to keep Rīnuži at bay.
Date published: 09/09/2016 - 19:07
Riga United FC 1-1 FK Rīnuži/Beitar
On a night when Rīnuži/Beitar more than likely thought they’d be crowned champions, Riga United frustrated and pressured them into having to wait another week for that possible outcome.
Both teams were looking for a result and to change their recent run of fortunes around. Rinuži had lost their previous two games after going on a six-game-winning-streak. For United, the run of form hadn’t been the best and any kind of point from this game would have been a good result.
A third minute goal put United in front, as Niels Krause rose first at the back post from a Klincārs corner, shocking the league leaders.
Half an hour later, after the United defence failed to clear their lines out of the box and put pressure on the free midfielder, he simply smacked the ball into the corner from outside of the box.
How it all unfolded:
After the fast start, United settled quickly as a stunned Rīnuži had to regroup. As the half went on, Rīnuži started to grow in the game. They played the counter well and transitioned fast, when they could but the returning centre-back pairing of Alex Gemin and Matehus Johansen were more than a match for the Rīnuži attack. Despite one incident after a quick counter from Rīnuži, it was left to the quick reflexes of the departing ‘Hero’, Murat Kelkit to stop an interesting own goal from Johansen.
Further up the pitch, the midfield played their part well, harassing and forcing Rīnuži into errors, they dominated that area of the field. Krause, Klinčars and Melņiks looked to link up well and looks promising for future games, though at points they just need to do a little less with the ball.
However, an injury to Johansen forced him to go off in the first half and an alteration in the defence meant that the balance of play shifted with the onus being on Rīnuži. And that’s where they took their chance and scored.
As the game wore on into the second half, Riga started to look a bit worn down. They played the whole half very hard, and around the penalty, they looked to give nothing to Rīnuži. Though, the Black Cats were letting Rīnuži have far too much of the ball further up the field and ended up dropping deeper.
Towards the end of the match. Bizarrely, Rīnuži were given a string of free kicks but Kelkit and the United defence held firm and it was to be a frustrating night for both teams, though a happier one for Riga.
The same problem, as with the whole of this season, persisted with United. They were unable to take their chances. Some great work from the midfield left United with a flurry of chances in the first half. They were able to get behind the back line but when they did, the chances were not taken.
In the second half, they didn’t look positive enough going forward. With the Rīnuži defence looking shaky, if the forward line had a bit more belief and confidence, they could have easily taken them on. They started to have less chances and do too much with the ball in and around the area.
No more ‘Hero’ anymore (sadly):
Sadly this was the last game in a Riga United shirt for veteran goalie Murat ‘Hero’ Kelkit. The long-serving Goalkeeper has been with the club for eight years.
He has had many highlights in his time playing at the club, however the pinnacle probably came in the 2013 season. The fans nicknamed ‘Hero’ through his penalty heroics, saving seven out of eight penalties that year, also making some fine shot-stopping saves in the process. His performances would be rewarded at the end of the season when he won the Players’ Player 2013 award.
Last night he looked very solid in goal and should be proud of a fine final performance, especially with the late pressure from Rīnuži.
What the Coach said:
After the match, Graham Williams shared this thoughts on last night’s performance: “We knew that Rīnuži would be a real test, we also knew that we have the players and the discipline to frustrate them. The lads stuck to the game plan from the start and played with the passion and cohesion that has been missing for the past few games.”
He continued: “Once we scored the early goal, the lads relaxed and played the football they are capable of; pressuring the midfield and forcing Rinuzi into errors. A special mention goes to Arturs Meistars who was outstanding at left-back, however this is a real team ‘victory’ and every player in the squad played his part.”
1. Murat Kelkit
2. Sofian Berrahal
3. Artūrs Meistars
4. Matehus Johansen (Edgars Arakelyans)
5. Alex Gemin
6. Danilo Sica
7. Niels Krause (Alex Alunāns)
8. Fabio Possagno
9. Toms Cinglers
10. Slava Melņiks
11. Mārtiņš Klincārs (Julian Lock)
Edgars Zvējnieks, Alex Alunāns, Julian Lock, Edgars Arakelyans