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Dundalk frustrated by Riga as Latvians claim scoreless Champions League draw

Dundalk frustrated by Riga as Latvians claim scoreless Champions League draw

Dundalk FC will have to do things the hard way and score in Latvia next Wednesday after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Riga FC in last night’s Champions League first qualifying round first leg tie at Oriel Park.

Despite dominating for large spells of the game, Vinny Perth’s side failed to break down a stubborn Riga defence.

Sean Hoare went closest twice in the first half, firstly with a header that flashed just over on 21 minutes before he pulled a shot wide on the turn two minutes later.

Patrick Hoban also headed over from Jamie McGrath’s cross late in the half before the home side were dealt a blow just before the break when Daniel Cleary and Chris Shields suffered a nasty collision which resulted in the latter being replaced at half-time in place of Andy Boyle.

Jamie McGrath fashioned his side’s best chance of the game on 62 minutes when he broke in from the right only to be denied by Roberts Ozols.

Riga could also have snatched an away goal of their own with Ojegs Laizans having a shot turned around the post by Gary Rogers midway through the second half and Joel Bopesu passing up a good chance on the break 15 minutes from time.

It’s all to play for in Riga where a score draw will now do Dundalk.

Afterwards head coach Vinny Perth admitted the first leg was frustrating at times to watch but believes there is enough quality in the side to complete the job away from home.

“We have had a lot of possession and played against a back six at times,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“We probably should have opened them up a little more, but we are in a very positive mindset going into next week.

“We haven’t conceded and we do fancy ourselves to score. They have got to come out and the game opened up in the last 10, 15 minutes. We have got to be a bit better in the final third. I thought we lacked that little bit of quality and it was rushed at times.”

Dundalk: Gary Rogers, Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Daniel Cleary, Dean Jarvis; Chris Shields (Andy Boyle 45), John Mountney (Robbie Benson 58), Jamie McGrath (Daniel Kelly 80), Patrick McEleney; Michael Duffy, Patrick Hoban

Riga: Robert Ozols; Armands Petersons, Antonijs Cernomordijs, Herdi Prenga, Ritvars Rugins; Ojegs Laizans, Aleksejs Visnakovs, Tomislav Saric; Joel Bopesu, Roger (Deniss Rakels 79), Roman Debelko

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