Home » Fabrice Ondoa could make delayed UEFA Champions League debut today

Fabrice Ondoa could make delayed UEFA Champions League debut today

by Lesley Ngwa
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  • Ondoa won the 2014 UEFA Youth Champions League with Barcelona B and was voted best keeper only to see his career take a strange trajectory that will give him a chance to be in contention for a start in the senior competition ten years later
  • The 28yo could follow his clean sheet in the Latvian top-flight championship with the long-awaited start in the UEFA Champions League this Wednesday
  • India’s Riga FS face Larne in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League preliminaries this Wednesday at home 

Indomitable Lions of Cameroon Goalkeeper Fabrice Joseph Ebogo Ondoa ,28, could make his delayed UEFA Champions League debut this Wednesday while representing Latvian Premier League side Riga FS in the first-leg preliminary round clash of the 2023/25 edition of the competition.

Ondoa who only made his debut for RFS last week in the 7-0 thumping of Jelgava could be between the sticks when his side hosts Larne at the at the LNK Sporta Park in their first outing in the competition this season.

The 6pm kick-off provides a chance for Ondoa who won the UEFA Youth League with Barcelona B over a decade ago to make his senior debut in the prestigious club competition.

Having scored six goals in the last seven matches, forward Ismael Diomande will be looking to continue his fine run of form when he leads the line against Larne.

As for the visitors, Tiernan Lynch is likely to line up with three centre-backs, which could see Baris Altintop, Cian Bolger and Aaron Donnelly all given starting spots.

The game in Riga will be the first between both clubs but most importantly for Ondoa this provides an opportunity to rebrand his image and compete with the elites in the game while attempting to help RFS achieve the rare fest of qualifying for the group stage of the competition.

The clash which happens to be the first between both clubs is the first of two matches to determine the club to progress to the next round.

Last year, RFS won the Latvian Higher League title by just one point to seal their spot in Champions League qualifying.

RFS are currently on course to retain their crown, having picked up 56 points from 22 matches to establish a seven-point lead over second-placed Riga.

Viktors Morozs’s side will carry significant momentum into Wednesday’s fixture after winning 10 of their previous 11 games, including a thumping 7-0 victory in their most recent outing against FS Jelgava.

They have only made one previous appearance in Champions League qualifying, losing on penalties to HJK Helsinki in the first round in 2022-23.

That same season they went on to compete in the Europa Conference League group stage, but they were unable to replicate that feat last term, falling in the second round of qualifying in UEFA’s third-tier competition.

Larne are set to make a second consecutive appearance in Champions League qualifying after retaining their NIFL Premiership title last season.

They won 27, drew nine and lost just two of their 38 league matches to finish five points clear of Linfield in second position.

As a result of their league success, Larne were involved in the NIFL Charity Shield on Friday, with Lee Bonis and Andy Ryan getting on the scoresheet to clinch the silverware with a 2-1 win over Glentoran.

They will now turn their focus to their first Champions League outing since suffering an extra-time defeat in last season’s first-round qualifying tie against HJK.

That result has contributed to a poor run of form which has seen Larne fail to progress from any of their last four European ties since getting the better of AGF Aarhus in the second round of Europa Conference League qualifying in 2021-22.

Rigas Futbola Skola possible starting lineup:
Ondoa; Savalnieks, Prenga, Lipuscek, Mares; Panics, Kigurs; Ikaunieks, Kouadio, Deocleciano; Diomande

Larne possible starting lineup:
Ferguson; Altintop, Bolger, Donnelly; Cosgrove, Thomason, Randall, McKendry, Ives; Bonis, Ryan.

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