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Dublin: 15 °C Sunday 25 August, 2019
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We’re less than an hour away from kick off for this evening’s second leg.

The tie remains finely balanced after a first leg that ended 0-0.

Dundalk had much of the play at Oriel but struggled to break down their well-organised opponents.

Riga are expected to play in a more adventurous fashion this time around given that they have home advantage.

They largely sat back and invited pressure in the first game, though offered an increasing threat on the counter-attack as the game wore on.

So who do you think will go through?


Poll Results:

Dundalk (419)
Riga (183)


We really knuckled down [in the second leg] and I suppose we frustrated them a lot. I remember Graeme Souness had the ball and ‘Pop’ Flanagan was just standing off him. Souness said: ‘Come on, take it off me.’ Pop says: ‘You’re the one getting the big money, you pass me by’. He knew if he tried that, Pop would have kicked him up in the air. So we did go toe-to-toe with them over there.”

Ahead of today’s game, we spoke to former Dundalk player Mick Fairclough about the time the Lilywhites faced Liverpool in the 1982 European Cup. Read the full piece here.

1Mins

We’re under way…

Dundalk have been playing it around the back so far, with Riga sitting off.

Interesting stat from Eir Sport — it’s Gary Rogers’ 41st European appearance, which brings him level with Ollie Cahill on the League of Ireland all-time list.

5Mins

It’s been a fairly uneventful start.

Dundalk continue to see plenty of the ball without posing much of a threat.

8Mins

Early booking for Prenga, as he cynically takes down Hoban off the ball, after the striker attempts to run through on goal.

It’s been a decent start for Dundalk.

11Mins

McEleney plays an incisive through pass down the left, but Massey isn’t quite quick enough to latch onto it ahead of the defender.

It’s been similar enough to the first leg so far — Dundalk are controlling the play without looking especially threatening.

18Mins

Dundalk get a throw-in in a promising position but Gannon puts it straight out for a goal kick.

Much like the first leg, they just haven’t properly functioned as an attacking unit yet.

21Mins

Gannon does well down the right, getting past Rugins.

The full-back’s subsequent cross deflects off Prenga before being picked up by Ozols. There are claims of a backpass, but the referee ignores them.

28Mins

A free kick is only half headed clear by Prenga.

It falls to McEleney on the edge of the area, but he doesn’t properly get hold of his shot.

30Mins

Dundalk produce the best attempt of the game so far.

Mountney’s corner is cleared to the edge of the area, and McEleney catches it well this time, but his shot is parried away to safety by Ozols.

33Mins

Good driving run by McEleney, who has been heavily involved of late.

Šarić cynically takes him down on the edge of the area, and the Riga player gets a booking as a result.

35Mins

McEleney’s free kick is tame enough, as it curls straight into Ozols’s arms.

Moments later, McEleney is involved again. His lofted ball finds Mountney, whose point-blank header is saved by Ozols. It would have been offside anyway, but this is an encouraging spell for Dundalk.

44Mins

Riga provide a reminder that they remain a threat down the other end.

Debelko dribbles with the ball on the edge of the area, before shooting just wide of Gary Rogers’ right-hand post.

53Mins

So half-time, and it’s been very similar to the first leg.

Dundalk have been the better team without creating too many chances, while Riga have only sporadically threatened.

Gannon and McEleney, in particular, have caused the hosts problems.

45Mins

The second half has begun…

45Mins

Mountney’s free kick finds Massey, but his header goes wide.

Moments later, Mountney finds himself in a promising position down the right, but his touch is poor and Rugins recovers well to shepherd the ball out of play.

51Mins

Riga make the first substitution of the game.

It’s one Brazilian for another, as Roger is replaced by Brisola.

52Mins

Another change for Riga.

Bopesu, who was a threat down the flank in the first leg in particular, is replaced by Rakels

56Mins

Rogers is alert to get to a long ball ahead of Debelko.

Meanwhile, Shields has been booked for a reckless challenge on Laizāns.

60Mins

Riga have looked a bit better and seen more of the ball since those changes.

There’s half an hour remaining — we’ll be set for extra-time if the score stays as it is.

66Mins

The ball is in the net but it’s offside.

It was still a lovely finish by Hoban, as he headed home a lofted through ball by Shields.

68Mins

Dundalk made a substitution just before that chance.

Sean Murray is on in place of Mountney. He will play on the left, with McGrath on the right.

75Mins

15 minutes remain.

You get the feeling one goal will win it now, though it remains very tight, with neither side dominant.

81Mins

Dundalk make another change.

Benson is replaced by Daniel Kelly.

84Mins

This game is becoming a bit more stretched now as players get tired and both sides search for a winner.

As I type, a Gannon cross is cleared away.

Just over five minutes of normal time remain, as extra-time beckons.

88Mins

Dundalk are sitting back now, with the hosts in the ascendancy.

Hoban is the only player in the Riga half at the moment.

90Mins

Daniel Kelly goes down in the box and the official books him.

Replays prove the referee correct — it’s a blatant dive.

90Mins

There will be three minutes of stoppage time…

91Mins

Riga are definitely finishing the stronger.

They’re controlling the play and dominating possession.

It remains tense, with both sides clearly worried about making a mistake.

Dundalk were probably the better side over the 90 minutes, but Riga have looked more likely to get a winner late on.

There remains very little between the teams though.

Here’s a look at that Daniel Kelly non-penalty incident…

Daniel Kelly does very well down the right, using his pace to evade a few defenders.

Prenga is well placed though to get to the cross ahead of Hoban.

Big chance for Riga!

Višņakovs comes inside and plays it to Debelko. The attacker’s first touch takes it away from the defender, but Rogers is out quickly and smothers the ball.

Meanwhile, Dundalk make another change — Shields is off and Jarvis is on, and that appears to be a straight swap.

There are claims for a penalty by the hosts.

They think Boyle blocks Višņakovs’s cross with his arm, though the referee waves play on.

Daniel Kelly finds space on the edge of the box, but his shot is saved by Ozols.

Kelly has made an impact down the right since coming on.

The second half is under way…

McEleney has an audacious effort from at least 30 yards out.

He’s capable of scoring from there, but it’s a comfortable save for Ozols on this occasion.

Superb last-ditch challenge from Hoare to deny Debelko a clear goalscoring opportunity, after latching on to a long ball.

Flag 112Mins

RED CARD FOR RIGA!

Prenga receives a second booking for cynically blocking off the run of Massey.

Dundalk might feel they can win this game before penalties now.

114Mins

Andy Boyle bursts forward.

The defender then lays it off to Murray, whose powerful first-time drive from about 30 yards out goes inches wide.

116Mins

And here’s a look at the moment Riga went down to 10 men…

118Mins

Decent ball in from Jarvis, but Hoban can’t quite connect with it.

Looks like we’re set for penalties, with less than two minutes remaining.

120Mins

FULL-TIME: RIGA 0-0 DUNDALK

120Mins

So that’s that.

This tie will be decided by penalties.

121Mins

It’s probably a fair result.

Both sides have been very well matched, and haven’t done enough in an attacking sense to win the game.

120Mins

We’re set for the penalties…

120Mins

1-0 Riga. Debelko scores.

120Mins

1-1. Hoban scores.

120Mins

2-1 Riga. Šarić scores.

120Mins

2-2. Sean Murray scores.

120Mins

3-2 Riga. Gabovs scores.

120Mins

3-3. Jarvis scores.

120Mins

Still 3-3. Brisola blazes his penalty over

120Mins

3-3 still. Massey’s penalty is saved.

120Mins

Panić’s penalty is saved by Rogers. 3-3 still.

120Mins

3-3 still. Georgie Kelly misses the chance to win it!

120Mins

Rakels scores. 4-3 Riga.

120Mins

4-4. McGrath scores.

120Mins

Pētersons’s penalty is saved by Rogers. 4-4.

120Mins

Sean Hoare is the Dundalk hero, as he converts the winning penalty.

They will meet Qarabag in the next round.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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