Date : 11 JULY 2019
Time : 02 :45 AM
Match : Dundalk vs Riga FC
Prediction : 2 : 0
Vote Prediction :
FK Sarajevo (85%)
*make your own judgement*
Can Irish champions Dundalk spark another run in the Champions League? It’s not too long since the hosts went all the way to the playoff round of the qualifiers for this tournament, before reaching the group stage of the Europa League. Now Dundalk are hoping to continue their recent fine form in this week’s meeting with Riga. Can they pull off a result at Oriel Park in order to put themselves in a dominant position before next week’s return meeting in Latvia?
Dundalk have put themselves on course for the Champions League in 2020, thanks to their brilliant record in the Irish Premier Division this term. The hosts have opened up an eight-point lead after an early challenge from Shamrock Rovers, so we don’t see any problems for the hosts returning to this competition. However, can they improve on last season’s second-round exit? They did breeze through the first round of qualifying last time out, something the Irish side will be out to do once again.
Riga are lacking the wealth of European experience which Dundalk have built up over recent seasons. The visitors were dumped out of the Europa League at the first hurdle last season, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of progressing in Europe’s top competition. Riga are also in the middle of their domestic campaign, while they have kept up last season’s title-winning form as they sit four points clear at the summit of the Virsliga.
However, we expect Riga’s good form this term to dry up when they head to Dundalk this week. This clash is obviously a step up for the Latvian side, while they were eliminated from the Europa League last term following their away defeat to CSKA Sofia. We expect Dundalk to follow up their brilliant run at home, which has brought 11 victories in 12 matches, as the hosts have a knack for these early meetings.
Facing a side like Riga does give Dundalk a chance to make it through, as shown in last season’s Europa League success against Estonia’s Levadia. They can mix it with the lesser leagues in Europe, while recent form has put the Irish champions into a confident mindset ahead of this one. We’re backing the hosts to take advantage of Riga’s lack of European experience with a first-leg win.
HIGHLIGHTED TEAM (DUNDALK):
Dundalk are the second most successful club in the Republic of Ireland in the term of titles won. In 2015 Dundalk clinched their 11th Premier Division trophy and the same season they lifted their 10th FAI Cup title. The club was founded in 1903 and their biggest rivals are Drogheda United.
The Lilywhites made it to the 2016/2017 Europa League group stages and, against all odds, they shared the spoils with AZ Alkmaar in Netherlands on their debut in Group D. Dundalk play their home matches at Oriel Park and the capacity of the stadium is 4,500 (3,000 seated). The venue was opened in 1919 and in 2005 the pitch was converted to an all-weather surface, becoming the first ever Irish club to do so.
Their home colours are white and black, whilst they play their away games in black jerseys with yellow stripes and black shorts. Joey Donnelly is one of the notable footballers who played for Dundalk in the past as he scored 141 goals for the club in all competitions.
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