Dundalk hosts Riga FC in the first leg of the Champions League qualification 1/8 finals. The match will be played on Wednesday, July 10th at Oriel Park (Dundalk)
Dundalk is in very good shape before the start of the Champions League qualification. The team did a good job in the championship and made a SEVEN-points margin ahead of the closest pursuers! Yes, there are 11 more rounds until the end of the championship, but this margin still seems to be very big considering how rarely Dundalk allows itself to lose in the championship! To see this team in the European Cup qualifiers is already a familiar thing! The team seized power in Irish football six years ago, not becoming a champion only once over these years. That’s why the team competes in European Cups every year. And it even got to the Europa League group stage a couple of years ago! It is the perfect achievement for the Irish teams! In the first round of qualification, the Irish are frankly lucky. The rival they got is frankly not difficult. Given what kind of experienced European Cup fighters they could get, the champion of Latvia looks like an extremely simple opponent. The Irish team lost the last game in mid-April!
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Well, what can be said about FC Riga... I must say that the situation in Latvian football is generally very bad... Starting from the national team and ending with the local championship. Now there is nothing left from the times when Ventspils and Skonto decently represented their country in European cups. Champions of Latvia are changing very often now, so FC Riga has climbed to the throne for the first time in history! The capital team heads the standings in the current championship, although the course is frankly not impressive. When some team of the not very strong championship confidently leads, does not lose and gains confident victories, there are still some chances that this team will beat at least someone in the European arena. But, when the team wins every other time in the local championship, what can we expect from it in the Euro-Arena? Riga shows a rather bad game.
Well, maybe the Irish will not accomplish the task in the first match. We may not see the score of 3-0 or 4-0. But Dundalk may score 2 balls and will have a good margin before the second leg. The hosts of this match are in excellent shape now! And I do not think that the champion of Latvia is very different from the middle peasants of the Irish championship in terms of game quality.
Prediction for the match: Dundalk to win