Two dramatic last-gasp targets denied Linfield a vital win as they drew 2-2 away to RFS within the first leg of their Europa Convention League play-off.
It appeared just like the Blues would take a two-goal lead again to Belfast subsequent week because of superbly-taken targets from Stephen Fallon and Joel Cooper in Riga.
Nonetheless, substitute Kevin Friesenbichler scored a robust header on 88 minutes earlier than Ziga Lipuscek equalised with the final kick of the sport within the 96th minute.
Petr Mares missed an early penalty for the Latvians as they spurned plenty of good alternatives to take the lead earlier than Fallon’s opener six minutes earlier than the break.
Linfield are aiming to make historical past by changing into the primary Irish Premiership crew to achieve the group stage of a European competitors and safe the two.9m euro windfall that comes with it.
It was a merciless method for David Healy’s males to concede the late equaliser, with 95 minutes initially signalled for injury-time earlier than Lipuscek planted a bullet 96th-minute drive from 20 yards by means of a crowded penalty space and previous an unsighted Chris Johns within the away aim.
Taking part in in a 4-5-1 formation with Kirk Millar and Cooper trying to break ahead in vast areas, Linfield had to take in quite a lot of first-half strain, however maintained their hosts effectively within the second half till that late surge.
It was Millar who offered the help for Fallon’s opening aim within the thirty ninth minute, with the winger conserving a deep left-wing cross to the again submit alive with a well-controlled cushioned go inside on the half-volley.
Midfielder Fallon timed his run into the field completely and met a bouncing ball to brush a assured right-footed effort into the underside nook.
The full of life Cooper doubled the guests’ lead within the 71st minute when he made a superb break down the left and drove into the field earlier than drilling a perfectly-guided left-foot drive in off the bottom of the submit.
It was a interval of the match when Linfield appeared most snug however hopes of going into the second leg with a two-goal lead had been ended when Friesenbichler acquired throughout his marker on the entrance submit to fireside a thunderous header previous Johns into the close to nook.
Having felt the nook shouldn’t have been awarded, Lipuscek’s injury-time winner may have felt much more merciless to the Blues gamers – however the hosts will really feel they deserved a draw given the first-half probabilities they created.
Their penalty miss got here within the 18th minute, with Mares dragging his low left-foot spot-kick simply vast after his left-wing cross struck the hand of Kyle McClean.
Andrej Ilic had been the primary to threaten for them when he simply didn’t get on to a intelligent by means of ball as Johns got here off his line effectively to gather.
Alfusainey Jatta then missed a unbelievable alternative to open the scoring when he allowed Johns to avoid wasting his close-range effort after Lipuscek had flicked on a left-wing cross.
Simply earlier than the half-hour mark, ahead Emerson reduce inside on a harmful run from the left earlier than firing a low right-foot shot from simply exterior the field that went narrowly vast.
Johns had a scare 5 minutes earlier than Fallon’s opener, with the Linfield keeper having to assemble the ball on the second try after he had failed to carry on to a speculative long-range shot from dwelling captain Tomas Simkovic.
The hosts missed a superb opportunity to equalise on the stroke of half-time when Stefan Panic clipped in an inviting cross into the trail of Cedric Kouadio who by some means managed to steer it vast from six yards out.
Linfield journey to Newry Metropolis on Sunday of their second Irish Premiership recreation of the season earlier than entertaining RFS at Windsor Park in what’s now a vital second leg subsequent Thursday.
Rigas Futbola Skola
- 81SimkovicSubstituted forStuglisat 85′minutes
- 66VlalukinSubstituted forSorokinsat 78′minutes
- 43LipuscekBooked at 90mins
- 17KouadioSubstituted forZjuzinsat 55′minutes
- 6JattaSubstituted forFriesenbichlerat 78′minutes
- 9Santana Deocleciano
- 29Rodrigues da Silva Ferreira
- 20FallonSubstituted forMulgrewat 79′minutes
- 15CorridorSubstituted forNewberryat 88′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9CooperBooked at 42mins
- 8McCleanSubstituted forPalmerat 90+5′minutes
- 14McDaidSubstituted forVertainenat 78′minutes
Reside Textual content
Match ends, Rigas FS 2, Linfield 2.
Second Half ends, Rigas FS 2, Linfield 2.
Michael Newberry (Linfield) is proven the yellow card for a nasty foul.
Objective! Rigas FS 2, Linfield 2. Ziga Lipuscek (Rigas FS) proper footed shot from the centre of the field to the centre of the aim.
Ziga Lipuscek (Rigas FS) is proven the yellow card for a nasty foul.
Substitution, Linfield. Cameron Palmer replaces Kyle McClean.
Objective! Rigas FS 1, Linfield 2. Kevin Friesenbichler (Rigas FS) proper footed shot from the centre of the field to the centre of the aim.
Substitution, Linfield. Michael Newberry replaces Ben Corridor.
Substitution, Rigas FS. Elvis Stuglis replaces Tomas Simkovic.
Substitution, Linfield. James Mulgrew replaces Stephen Fallon.
Substitution, Linfield. Eetu Vertainen replaces Robbie McDaid.
Substitution, Rigas FS. Vladislavs Sorokins replaces Jovan Vlalukin.
Substitution, Rigas FS. Kevin Friesenbichler replaces Alfusainey Jatta.
Objective! Rigas FS 0, Linfield 2. Joel Cooper (Linfield) proper footed shot from the centre of the field to the excessive centre of the aim.
Substitution, Rigas FS. Arturs Zjuzins replaces Cedric Kouadio.
Second Half begins Rigas FS 0, Linfield 1.
First Half ends, Rigas FS 0, Linfield 1.
Joel Cooper (Linfield) is proven the yellow card for a nasty foul.
Objective! Rigas FS 0, Linfield 1. Stephen Fallon (Linfield) proper footed shot from the centre of the field to the centre of the aim.
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