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LATE LATVIAN DOUBLE DENTS LINFIELD EURO HOPES

18 Aug 2022
football
© Pacemaker Press

Two late goals in Riga prevented a famous European victory for Linfield in their UEFA Europa Conference League Playoff.

The Blues still have the tie against RFS Riga in their hands ahead of next Thursday's second leg, as David Healy's men look to make history by becoming the first Irish League club to reach the group stages of a European competition.

Having survived an early scare from a missed from hosts on 17 minutes when the Latvian's missed from the penalty spot.

Linfield were in dreamland before the break as Stephen Fallon stunned the home supporters, as he latched onto Kirk Millar's cross to fire home the opening goal.

The lead was doubled in style on 70 minutes by Joel Cooper when he broke down the left flank before cutting inside and drilling a shot in off the inside of the far post.

With the reigning Premiership champions in dreamland going into the final minutes, they were hit with a double blow. Firstly, when Friesenbiercher headed home from a corner on 88 minutes.

Then right at the death, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, a speculative long-range effort from Lupascek beat Chris Johns in the Linfield goal for the equaliser.

The tie remains level going into the second leg of the Playoff next Thursday evening at Windsor Park (kick-off: 7.45pm).