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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 19:00 GMT 20:00 UK
Skonto Riga 4-0 Rhyl
Rhyl manager John Hulse will be disappointed with the heavy defeat
Rhyl manager John Hulse will be disappointed with the heavy defeat
Rhyl have a mountain to climb in the home leg of their Champions League qualifying round after a heavy defeat in the first leg in Latvia.

Skonto Riga took an early lead when Gatis Kalnins' pass released Mihails Miholaps, who measured a precise shot.

Miholaps struck again 11 minutes after half-time with a clever finish from close range, before Ignas Dedura headed in from a corner.

Aleksejs Visnjakovs finished Rhyl off with a run and shot on 78 minutes.

Skonto - with seven players from Latvia's Euro 2004 squad plus coach Aleksandrs Starkovs - took control from the start and it was no surprise when Miholaps struck after 10 minutes.

But Rhyl showed plenty of spirit to battle back at the Stadionas Skonto and should have equalised when Gary Powell missed from eight metres.

Marc Limbert also went close with a fierce drive on the 20-minute mark, but that was the closest Rhyl came to scoring.

Skonto reasserted their control but couldn't break through some staunch Welsh defence and had to be content with a 1-0 lead at half-time .

But the second period was dominated by the Latvians, who were inspired by the arrival on the pitch of substitute midfielder Kristaps Blanks.

Almost with his first touch the youngster hit the woodwork on the Rhyl goal.

That paved the way for Miholaps to claim his second goal after 56 minutes, receiving the ball with his back to goal before swivelling to fire home.

With 65 minutes gone, poor marking from Zurab Menteshashvili's corner allowed Dedura to rise highest at the far post to score.

With the game safe Skonto went looking to put the tie beyond doubt, and Visnjakovs' 78th-minute strike means Rhyl will have to produce something spectacular in next week's second leg.

Skonto Riga: Piedels, Zakresevskis, Isakovs, Zemlinskis, Dedura, Blagonadezdins, Buitkus, Mentesasvili, Igors Semjonovs, Miholaps, Kalnins. Subs: Pavlovs, Kipiani, Blanks, Golubevs, Visnakovs, Starkovs, Nguimbat.

Rhyl: Smith, Mark Powell, Brewerton, Jackson, Edwards, Wood, Wilson, Limbert, Atherton, Adamson, Gary Powell. Subs: Billingsley, McGinn, Graves, Hogg, Stones, Keegan.

Referee: Ben Haverkort (Holland).

Rhyl face Latvians
25 Jun 04  |  Welsh

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