VMFD Žalgiris clinched their first Lithuanian title in 14 years despite losing on the final day of the season.
Needing victory to be assured of the title, Žalgiris lost 3-1 at home to FK Sūduva and had FK Banga to thanks for holding second-placed FK Atlantas to a 1-1 draw and subsequently avoid a title play-off. "A few minutes after our game ended we did not understand what was happening," said Žalgiris midfielder Rytis Leliūga. "Someone from the heavens helped us. Now we will have some minutes of praying and then celebrations."
Defender Georgas Freidgeimas added: "It's a fantastic feeling. It would've been sweeter to win ourselves. But when we heard the result from Klaipėda my whole body went numb, I wanted to cry. Thanks to FK Banga for making it easier for us even though I believe we would have won the play-off."
Marek Zub's side had a 12-point lead over Atlantas a month ago but nearly surrendered it after four consecutive draws and a final-day defeat. "It's not possible to analyse it at the moment," said the coach. "Football is amazing because you can lose the game and win the league at the same time. The championship goes from the first to the last whistle. Every small element, every mistake counts. During the course of the season there are some bad games but the final result is the most important thing."
Žalgiris's journeyman defender Andrius Skerla, who has won trophies in the Netherlands, Scotland and Poland, also admitted his surprise at the manner in which the title was eventually won. "It's a strange feeling, I've never celebrated a defeat like that," said the 36-year-old. "We did not think about the other match at all today, but it just happened like that."
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|Last updated: 09/11/2013 15:07 CET|
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