Riga 1-1 Gil Vicente – Boselli’s brilliance in the Europa Conference League

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Gil Vicente’s European debut ended in a 1-1 draw against Riga in the UEFA Europa Conference League third qualifying round first leg.

The Latvian club deserved their half-time lead after Douglas Aurélio’s opener, but the second half was a different story.

Gilistas dominated after the break, Juan Manuel Boselli equalizing with a brilliant goal before Ali Alipour missed a glorious chance to claim victory in the 90th minute.

PortugalGOAL’s Matthew Marshall details a promising performance by the Portuguese club in Latvia.

Riga tries its luck

Gil Vicente has started well in Latvia with Mizuki Arai looking sharp on the left wing. Riga was making its own inroads down the same avenue, repeatedly targeting Danilo Veiga.

The first goal came in an easy way in the 17th minute. Mikael Soisalo found himself in the free space on the right wing, Henrique Gomes imitating a shadow as Soisalo’s cross was met by Douglas Aurélio who executed a simple finish.

Raivis Jurkovskis shot narrowly from distance with Riga’s high pressure, which made it difficult for Gil Vicente to promote the ball into the attacking areas.

Juan Manuel Boselli had the last chance in the first half, trying his luck from long range with the ball passing over the bar.

Tale of two halves

Whatever Ivo Vieira said to his side at half-time, Gil Vicente started with intent, dominating possession and playing the game in Riga’s half. Lucas Cunha’s luscious long ball picked off Fran Navarro who flew wide.

Andrew was on hand to save a close range effort from Marcelo Torres but the action quickly returned at the other end, Boselli’s free-kick deflected over the bar.

Vieira made a double change in the 60th minute, with ineffectual Pedro Tiba replaced by Matheus Bueno in midfield and winger Arai making way for Kevin Villodres.

Gilistas continued to press for an equalizer which deservedly came three minutes later. Bueno picked Boselli from outside the penalty area, his sublime first touch setting up a volley which the Uruguayan winger slammed into the top corner. First class.

Navarro’s shot from a tight angle was stopped by Nils Puriņš before the Spanish striker made way for Ali Alipour.

Riga had a half chance in the 84th minute, Ngonda Muzinga’s cross met Yuri Kendysh who was unable to direct his header on target.

Boselli tried his luck from distance before Gil Vicente missed a glorious chance to seal it to death. Vitor Carvalho released Alipour who had only Puriņš to beat, the Iranian striker failing to do so as the Riga keeper deflected the ball away.

Promising start

The game in Latvia was an important moment for Gil Vicente, his first game in European competition after finishing fifth in the Primeira Liga last season.

With manager Ricardo Soares joining El Ahly and three influential players leaving the club in Zé Carlos, Pedrinho and Samuel Lino, it was important that Ivo Vieira and his new club got off to a promising start.

There wasn’t much to be optimistic about at half time but Vieira’s team talk at half time did the trick as Gilistas dominated the second half, deservedly equalized and were a hair’s breadth away from taking the three points.

Riga manager Sandro Perković made two injury-time substitutions with his side under the pump, a clear indication that he was finally content to avoid defeat.

There should be a big turnout in the second leg at Barcelos’ Estádio Cidade next week, where Gil Vicente will relish his chances of finishing the job and advancing to the play-off round.

Brilliance Boselli

Juan Manuel Boselli was used sparingly by Pako Ayestarán last season. Scoring in his first two Primeira Liga appearances for Tondela, he scored three more in La Liga and scored three goals in six appearances in the Taça De Portugal where they reached the final.

His lack of playing time highlights the incompetence of Pako Ayestarán, a manager who won’t be returning to the Primeira Liga anytime soon.

To further underline the turmoil in Tondela, Boselli was sold to Gil Vicente for a fee of just €50,000. It seems like a stellar deal from the Gilistas, with the 22-year-old playing a starring role in Latvia and capping it off with a goal to remember.

line up

Gilles Vicente (4-3-3): Andrew – Danilo Veiga, Lucas Cunha, Rúben Fernandes, Henrique Gomes – Pedro Tiba (Matheus Bueno 60′), Vitor Carvalho, Kanya Fujimoto – Juan Manuel Boselli, Fran Navarro (Ali Alipour 81′), Mizuki Arai (Kevin Villodres 60′)

Substitutes not used: Brian Araújo, Tomás Araújo, João Barros, Emmanuel Hackman, Giorgi Aburjania, Boubacar Hanne

The Head Coach: Ivo Viera

Goals:

[1-0] – Douglas Aurelio 17′

[1-1] – Juan Manuel Boselli 63′



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