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Season review: Lithuania

Published: Monday 15 November 2010, 13.01CET
FK Ekranas swept the board in Lithuania, a third successive First Division title and a first cup win since 2000 enough to seal their first league and cup double in 25 years.
by Vaidotas Januška
from Vilnius
Season review: Lithuania
Ramūnas Radavičius celebrates: nothing could dampen the mood at Ekranas this season ©Arturas Gimžauskas
Published: Monday 15 November 2010, 13.01CET

Season review: Lithuania

FK Ekranas swept the board in Lithuania, a third successive First Division title and a first cup win since 2000 enough to seal their first league and cup double in 25 years.

FK Ekranas swept the board in Lithuania, holding off a rejuvinated VMFD Žalgiris side in the First Division to secure their first league and cup double in a quarter of a century.

Champions: FK Ekranas
Ekranas cemented their position at the summit of Lithuanian football with a third successive league title, their fourth in six seasons. As those around them continue to chop and change, Valdas Urbonas's experienced side progressed serenely and ended the campaign seven points clear of Sūduva and VMFD Žalgiris. Experience was key: with an average age of almost 29, Ekranas's squad was the oldest in the league.

Cup final: FK Ekranas 2-1 FK Vėtra
Ekranas had struggled to mirror their league dominance in the Lithuanian Cup. The last of three post-Soviet triumphs came in 2000 and they looked set for more misery when they fell behind in Kaunas. A memorable Dominykas Galkevičius effort restored parity, paving the way for Egidijus Varnas' late winner. It ultimately brought not one but two trophies: double winners in Lithuania are automatically awarded the Super Cup.

European places*
FK Ekranas – UEFA Champions League qualifying
FK Sūduva – UEFA Europa League qualifying
VMFD Žalgiris – UEFA Europa League qualifying
Next spring's Lithuanian Cup winners will play in UEFA Europa League qualifying.

* Exact rounds and entry subject to final confirmation from UEFA.

Surprise package: VMFD Žalgiris
After a year away from the elite due to off-the-pitch problems, the expansion of the top flight allowed Žalgiris to return. Under new management and with a much-changed squad, the Vilnius side quickly gelled and briefly threatened to challenge Ekranas before tailing off. Still, third place represents their best finish in nine years.

Player of the year: Dominykas Galkevičius (FK Ekranas)
The versatile midfielder finally fulfilled his promise at 24 after a couple of seasons ruined by injury. Galkevičius scored 12 goals in 21 league appearances and also netted in both the Lithuanian Cup semi-finals and final. That form earned an international call-up and he made his debut in May's 4-0 defeat by Ukraine.

One to watch: Tadas Eliošius (FK Kruoja)
The talented winger is also on the fringes of the senior international side having added a new dimension to his game: goals. At times utilised as a striker by mid-table Kruoja, the 20-year-old struck 11 in the league as well as his first effort for Lithuania Under-21s.

Leading scorer: Povilas Lukšys (FK Sūduva) 16

Relegated: FK Atletas

Promoted: FBK Kaunas

Number: 10
Penalties, out of a total of 30, that First Division players failed to convert during the course of the season.

Quote
"We won the first one in a fierce battle; last year we triumphed on the last day of the season, and despite what the point difference may suggest it wasn't too easy this year either. We had ups and downs and it was neck-and-neck the whole season."
Valdas Urbonas on Ekranas's hat-trick success.

Last updated: 21/02/11 15.09CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=ltu/news/newsid=1564304.html#season+review+lithuania

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