The Battle of Equals: Riga FC vs. RFS

I guess it would be very strange if it wasn’t a match between “Riga FC” and RFS teams. Last year, it was only in the “finish meters” that it became clear which of them will win the title, and it will not be a surprise if it happens this season as well. I already wrote that last year all four matches between “Riga FC” and RFS ended in a draw. If you count last year’s Latvian Cup and this year’s Super Cup, then the last six games between the two teams in regular time ended in a draw (both cups were won by “Riga FC” in the post-match 11-meter shootout series). Balance. “Rīdzinieki” had not defeated the RFS team in six games in the league games, and they had only one victory in the last 14 games between them in the league (the last victory – 2:0 in the second round of the 2022 championship here even at the “Skonto” stadium). Now in 7 and 15 games respectively…

It was known that RFS would have to do without Jānis Ikaunieks, and the participation of Darko Lemajić was also unclear, although he was recorded among the reserves. The role of Ikauniets in the team is very important, but he did not take part in the previous five games, his elimination from the team did not happen suddenly and on the eve of the game, so the RFS team did not need to rearrange anything at the last minute. On the other hand, “Rīga” had to do without the best goal scorer of the tournament, Marko Reža, and perhaps he was missing at the top of the attack. His relegation was just shortly before this game. In games like this, anything can decide everything. Successful exchange. A successful shot. What a coincidence. The balance of power between the two teams is so similar. In the last season’s duel between the head coaches of both teams, Simo Valakari and Viktor Moroza – the Finn was then the head coach of FK “Auda” – the team led by Moroza was superior three times and there was a draw once, but on the eve of this season, Valakari won the first victory over Moroza (in the Super Cup match) . Now the final result could have been anything – a victory for one or the other team, as well as a draw. The RFS footballers were the first to score a goal with a long shot by the Czech defender Petr Mares – Rihards Matrevic saw the ball a moment too late through the crowd of players. A successful shot? Yes, it was also not without luck, but Maresh’s goal only confirms the importance of long kicks, which the players of our teams forget too often (this applies more or less to all teams in the Premier League). “Rīdzinieki” achieved a draw (at Gauthier Mankenda) not without the help of luck, and when it seemed that there would be another draw in the games of both teams, Roberts Savalnieks made an excellent pass and the goal was masterfully scored by … Darko Lemajić. He had gone on a shift just ten minutes ago, the doctors had advised him to play carefully with his head or not play at all. A successful exchange? Yes, that worked too. However, the “Riga FC” team could have scored the winning goal just as well, but again they did not beat their main competitor. In games of such equal teams, any nuance can bring victory, and this time it happened. A nuance based on the skill of the players (in this case – Savalnieks and Lemajic).


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