Ladies leave Rezekne frustrated and angry
17 / 05 / 2016
United draw in Latgale despite dominating their opponents
Riga United Ladies travelled to the Russian border at the weekend confident of returning with three points following their recent performance against champions RFS. Unfortunately, leading goal scorer Kristin Aune did not travel but their were full debuts for Swedish duo Jennie Lindau and Amanda Palmer.
The ladies started excellently against Rezekne on a beautiful playing surface, completely controlling the midfield with their 4-1-4-1 lineup. It wasn't long before captain Marit Gjerde went close with a long range effort, and minutes later Liene Vaciete fired over the bar after Pia Foosnaes and Ronja Penkkala combined to set up the Latvian centre forward. Pia Foosnaes and Marit Gjerde were completely running the show in the middle of the park and Gjerde went close again on two occasions as United failed to get the goals they deserved from their utter dominance.
Finally though, the deadlock was broken when Marit Gjerde set off on yet another dribble, weaving her way in and out of three Rezekne players before curling the ball into the top corner of the net from the corner of the penalty area. It was undoubtedly the best individual goal ever scored by a Riga United Ladies player in the two years since the team was created.
It was now a question of how many United would score as Vaciete and Gjerde again saw efforts beat the keeper but agonisingly drop centimetres over the home side's cross bar. And Riga really started to think this wasn't to be their day as a brilliantly struck 30-yard free-kick from Foosnaes smashed against the underside of the cross bar – appearing to cross the line – before bouncing away to safety.
United's frustration at failing to put this game to bed was further compounded by several incidents of ugly verbal abuse from a section of the home support. Several of the United players seemed upset at some of the abuse they received with much of this directed at Riga's national team centre forward Liene Vaciete.
The half ended 1-0 to Riga but it should have been at least five nil.
Riga United started the second half on the front foot but Rezekne clearly grew in confidence as the visitors continued to fail to find the vital second goal. More frustration followed as once again Penkkala found Vaciete with a superb cross to the back post, but Vaciete's header hit the under side of the bar and the follow up was cleared off the line. Linda Kazlauska and Leonie Kohlsaat were brought into the action as the visitors began to tire and Kazlauska almost grabbed that vital second goal as she broke clear of her marker and forced a good save from the keeper.
But things turned sour for United as Rezekne drew level with their first notable attack of the game mid way through the second half. The home side managed to get behind the United back four and a low cross into the box was bundled fortuitously past keeper Amanda Palmer as Riga failed to clear their lines. Five minutes later, United were down to ten players as Leonie Kohlsaat limped off injured. Suddenly, Rezekne sensed they could steal this game and a long range effort clipped the top of the bar.
With time running out, an injured Kohlsaat insisted she return to the pitch and almost grabbed the winner as she raced in at the back post to head over the bar. Kazlauska also continued to threaten down the right flank and forced another save from the home side's player of the match.
As the game went into injury time it was heart in the mouth time as Rezekne were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Thankfully, the set piece was fired over the bar.
A Rezekne win would have been daylight robbery. As it was, Riga United Ladies will still be wondering how they made the four-hour journey home with only a point to show for their excellent passing football display and dozen efforts on goal.
***Riga United has lodged a formal written complaint with the Latvian Football Federation over the verbal abuse directed at their players by a section of the Rezekne home support during this game.
Jevgenija Arzubova (Linda Kazlauska)
Ronja Penkkala (Leonie Kohlsaat)
Goal: Marit Gjerde
Player-of-the-match: Marit Gjerde: A sublime first half performance by the United captain. The home side just could not deal with her trickery and pace. With a bit of fortune the Norwegian could have grabbed three or four in the first period in what was undoubtedly her best performance to date for the club.