FK Ekranas have wrapped up their fifth consecutive Lithuanian league title and eighth overall after a final-day 2-0 victory at FK Kruoja.
A two-point lead over second-placed VMFD Žalgiris meant that Ekranas were in a position of strength going into their 36th and final league game of 2012. After a goalless first half, Vitalijus Kavaliauskas lifted the tension on 59 minutes, and the same player then doubled the visitors' lead with a coolly dispatched penalty. "The coach told us to remain focused, play our natural game and take our chances," Kavaliauskas told UEFA.com. "We did not panic and although they played well, we were always stronger."
It was a fairy-tale ending for the 29-year-old striker, who has had to work hard to pin down a first-team place since rejoining the club from Latvian side SK Liepājas Metalurgs. "I always believed we would come out on top today," he said. "We were psychologically very strong and there has always been a great confidence among the players."
One of Lithuania's most eminent clubs, Ekranas looked to be sauntering to another title before a 2-1 defeat by closest challengers Žalgiris in October. They quickly regained their composure, however, recording four resounding wins in as many games. "Thankfully after the Žalgiris defeat, we dug in," commented winger Aurimas Verteli, who scored three priceless goals during that time.
Experienced midfielder Aurimas Kučys added: "We always remained united as a team and fought hard in every match, even in the most difficult of situations. Winning a title is never easy, but I put that down to our winning mentality."
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