A goal for Oladoye Adewale was not enough to help KAA Gent pick a win in their first-leg UEFA Europa Conference League third qualifying round match against FK Rīgas Futbola Skola, Thursday night.
Adewale marked his European debut at the club with an important goal that inspired his side fight to level 2-2 against RFS at the Ghelamco Arena.
The 19 year-old midfielder who got promoted to the senior team after a brief spell with the U21s showed his was a man for the big occasions and must have impressed many with his composure and strong personality in the middle of the pack.
His 52nd minute strike halved the deficit after Darko Lemajic (11′) and Tomas Simkovic (27′) had fired the visitors ahead in the first half.
It won’t be until the 77th minute before Gent complete their come back and the opportunity fell to Tarik Tissoudali, who netted to save Coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s blushes.
Reacting to the team’s performance, Cameroonian defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui described the game as frustrating.
‘I have respect for RFS, but we never should have allowed ourselves settle for a draw here. It was a match full of emotions. What started with enthusiasm, evolved into frustration and ended in a double feeling of joy and disappointment.
“The Latvians crossed the halfway line twice and it was two goals. You could call that frustrating to say the least. But hey, such matches exist in football. It’s not the first time we’ve experienced that and it won’t be the last.”
“…in Riga we start again with a 0-0. We fight each other with equal swords. We need to be more focused on that match. We know their strengths. It’s up to us not to let them use it.”
The return leg of the tie is scheduled for August 12.