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Ekranas wrap up fourth successive Lithuanian title

Published: Sunday 23 October 2011, 22.24CET
FK Ekranas secured their fourth successive Lithuanian league title after their 1-0 victory at FK Tauras combined with a 2-0 defeat at FK Sūduva for second-placed VMFD Žalgiris.
by Vaidotas Januška
from Vilnius
Ekranas wrap up fourth successive Lithuanian title
Ekranas have now won the Lithuanian title seven times ©Valdas Knyzelis
Published: Sunday 23 October 2011, 22.24CET

Ekranas wrap up fourth successive Lithuanian title

FK Ekranas secured their fourth successive Lithuanian league title after their 1-0 victory at FK Tauras combined with a 2-0 defeat at FK Sūduva for second-placed VMFD Žalgiris.

FK Ekranas claimed their fourth successive Lithuanian title after a 1-0 win at FK Tauras and a defeat for second-placed VMFD Žalgiris meant they opened up an unassailable seven-point gap with two games remaining.

Mantas Savenas scored his first goal of the season to give Ekranas the lead with a wonderful curling free-kick on 35 minutes. Both sides wasted a number of chances after that and, although Ekranas held on to claim the points, they had to wait for the result of third-placed FK Sūduva against challengers Žalgiris before being crowned champions – and sealing a berth in UEFA Champions League qualifying next term.

With Žalgiris pushing forward in search of victory, Nerijus Radžius scored for Sūduva with 11 minutes remaining, and things got worse for the title challengers when Deivydas Matulevičius was sent off. Tadas Eliošius then doubled the lead in added time and, in doing so, handed Ekranas their seventh title overall. Sūduva now need just a single point to secure third place and claim a UEFA Europa league spot alongside Žalgiris.

"The game was even," Žalgiris coach Vitalijus Stankevičius said. "We maybe risked more in the end and fortune was not on our side. We wanted to challenge for the title, but second place also meets our target of finishing higher than last year."

Ekranas coach Valdas Urbonas told UEFA.com: "Even though there were difficult moments along the season, we never doubted the final victory. But that doesn't mean our success was straightforward.

"Since we were defending champions, every team wanted to knock us off the top. And we changed more than a half of the squad before the season, yet retained the winning mentality. I'm delighted that we had a real team and all the players did their job well."

Meanwhile, Sūduva coach Virginijus Liubšys rued his side's drop in form midway through the season. "Today we showed real determination and the team has been on fire lately. Unfortunately, we dropped too many points in a horrible middle of the season."

Last updated: 24/10/11 9.52CET

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