Riga FS vs Larne Predictions

Riga FS v Larne predictions for this Champions League qualifier. Larne face Rigas Futbola Skola in Champions League qualifying. The winner will face Bodo/Glimt in the next round. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.

Champions League | First Qualifying Round – Jul 10, 2024 at 6pm UK at LNK Sporta Parks

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Riga FS vs Larne Predictions

Can Larne Overcome RFS’s Home Fortress in Champions League Qualifier?

Key Stats

– RFS have scored an average of 3.1 goals per game this season.

– Larne have not scored in their last three European away matches.

– Ismael Diomande has netted six goals in his last seven appearances.

As Larne prepare to face Rigas Futbola Skola (RFS) in the Champions League qualifying round, all eyes are on this crucial clash that promises to be a fierce battle. Both teams will be striving to secure an advantage before the tie returns to Northern Ireland. The stakes are high, with the winner set to face Bodo/Glimt in the second qualifying round. This article delves into the nuances of both teams, offering an in-depth analysis of their form, tactics, and key players, before presenting well-reasoned predictions.

Match Preview

Rigas Futbola Skola’s Dominance RFS clinched the Latvian Higher League title last year by a single point, and they seem well on their way to retaining their crown. With 56 points from 22 matches, they hold a seven-point lead over second-placed Riga. Under the guidance of Viktors Morozs, RFS have displayed formidable form, winning 10 of their last 11 matches, including a 7-0 thrashing of FS Jelgava. This dominant run will surely give them confidence heading into the clash against Larne.

However, their Champions League qualifying history is brief but not particularly illustrious. They fell to HJK Helsinki on penalties in the first round last season and could not progress beyond the second round in the Europa Conference League qualifiers.

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Larne’s European Struggles Larne, on the other hand, have established themselves as a dominant force in the NIFL Premiership, securing back-to-back titles. Their league campaign was impressive, finishing five points ahead of Linfield, and they recently added the NIFL Charity Shield to their trophy cabinet with a 2-1 victory over Glentoran.

Yet, their European exploits have been less successful. They were knocked out in the first round of Champions League qualifying by HJK last season and have failed to progress in their last four European ties. This inconsistency in Europe will be a concern as they prepare for another challenging away fixture.

Team Analysis

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Rigas Futbola Skola

RFS’s squad is brimming with quality, especially in attack. Goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, who made a strong debut in their recent win, will be crucial at the back. Forward Ismael Diomande is in scintillating form, having netted six goals in his last seven matches. Alongside him, players like Emerson Deocleciano and Alain Cedric Herve Kouadio offer significant attacking threats. Their midfield, anchored by Stefan Panić and Janis Ikaunieks, ensures both creativity and solidity.

Expected Lineup: Ondoa; Savaļnieks, Prenga, Lipušček, Mareš; Panić, Kigurs; Ikaunieks, Kouadio, Deocleciano; Diomande.

Larne

Larne’s strength lies in their robust defensive setup and a potent forward duo. Manager Tiernan Lynch is expected to opt for a three-centre-back formation, featuring Baris Altintop, Cian Bolger, and Aaron Donnelly. The attacking partnership of Lee Bonis and Andy Ryan, who combined for 57 goals last season, will be pivotal in their attempt to breach the RFS defence.

Expected Lineup: Ferguson; Altintop, Bolger, Donnelly; Cosgrove, Thomason, Randall, McKendry, Ives; Bonis, Ryan.

Key Areas and Duels

The match could be decided in midfield, where RFS’s creative force meets Larne’s disciplined approach. The duel between RFS’s Diomande and Larne’s Bolger will be fascinating, as the in-form striker tests one of Larne’s most reliable defenders. Similarly, the battle on the wings, with RFS’s Kouadio and Deocleciano up against Larne’s wing-backs, could prove decisive.

Gameplay Expectations

Given their recent form and home advantage, RFS are likely to dominate possession and create numerous opportunities. Their high pressing and quick transitions will aim to unsettle Larne’s defence. Conversely, Larne may adopt a counter-attacking strategy, utilising the pace and finishing prowess of Bonis and Ryan.

Improvements and Strategies

Rigas Futbola Skola While RFS have been prolific in attack, they need to ensure they remain solid defensively. Their expansive style sometimes leaves them vulnerable to counter-attacks, something Larne could exploit. Improving defensive transitions and maintaining concentration at the back will be crucial.

Larne Larne must enhance their ability to control games, especially in Europe. Their defensive setup, while generally effective, needs to be complemented by better ball retention and transition play. Relying solely on counter-attacks may not suffice against a well-organised side like RFS.

Managerial Critique

Viktors Morozs Morozs has successfully guided RFS to domestic success, but his European record leaves much to be desired. His aggressive style can sometimes be a double-edged sword, leaving his team exposed defensively. Morozs must balance his attacking philosophy with greater defensive prudence to succeed on the European stage.

Tiernan Lynch Lynch’s achievements in domestic competitions are commendable, yet his European campaigns have been disappointing. His tactical rigidity and conservative approach have often been criticised. To progress further in Europe, Lynch needs to instill a more adaptable and dynamic style in his team.

Expected Goals Analysis

Rigas Futbola Skola RFS boast an impressive goal-scoring record, averaging 3.1 goals per game in the Latvian Higher League. Their ability to generate high-quality chances is evident, as they take 19.2 shots per game. Their expected goals (xG) are consistently high, reflecting their offensive efficiency.

Larne Larne, while dominant domestically, have struggled to replicate their goal-scoring prowess in Europe. Their recent form suggests an inability to convert chances against stronger opposition, and this inefficiency is mirrored in their low xG figures in continental matches.

Betting Angles

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Best Bet: RFS to Win Given RFS’s formidable home form and Larne’s poor European away record, betting on RFS to secure a victory seems a prudent choice. RFS have won nine of their last ten home matches, while Larne have failed to score in their previous three European away games.

Correct Score Prediction: Rigas Futbola Skola 2-1 Larne Considering RFS’s attacking strength and Larne’s defensive resilience, a 2-1 scoreline in favour of RFS is a plausible outcome. This prediction aligns with RFS’s average goals per game and Larne’s tendency to concede on their travels.

Goalscorer Prediction: Ismael Diomande to Score Diomande’s recent form, with six goals in his last seven matches, makes him a prime candidate to find the net. His role as the focal point of RFS’s attack ensures he will get ample opportunities to score.

Corner Prediction: RFS to Win the Most Corners RFS average 8.5 corners per game, reflecting their attacking intent and dominance in matches. Larne, likely to adopt a defensive stance, may concede numerous corners, making RFS favourites in this market.

Innovative Market: Total Shots on Target Over 10 Both teams have shown a propensity to take numerous shots per game, with RFS averaging 19.2 total shots. A high-paced game with numerous attacking plays could easily see the total shots on target exceed 10.

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Wolfgang Shotten
Author of betting articles for prominent German publications. Endures Hertha Berlin's ups and downs. Passionate Real Madrid supporter, is our Bundesliga expert. Has been covering the German's top-flight for more than 10 years with great success. Love football details. Based in Berlin, worked for BettingTips4You 5 years ago, and now the routes have met again!