While their compatriots FC Atlantas were succumbing to a 5-0 defeat away to FC Litex Lovech in Bulgaria, Lithuanian side FK Suduva set about causing one of the major surprises among the 41 UEFA Cup qualifying round first leg matches by defeating SK Brann 3-2 in Norway.
Suduva stunned their Norwegian hosts by racing into a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes. Midfield player Vidas Zitinskas gave them an early lead in the eighth minute when he converted a cross from the right. Tomas Radzihevicius then made it two ten minutes later with a fine shot from 12 metres, and Zitinskas scored his second of the night with a delightful lob over a stranded Ivar Rønningen in the Brann goal.
Brann fight back
Just when it appeared that Suduva were cruising to a comfortable victory, Brann regrouped and Martin Knudsen pulled one back just before the break with a shot from outside the area. Petter Furuseth Olsen further reduced the arrears 13 minutes after the interval but there was no equaliser as Suduva held on.
Brann had their chances to level, especially when Tommy Knarvik stepped up to take a penalty after 71 minutes only for his spot-kick to cannon off a post.
'Secure a lead'
Suduva coach Algimantas Gabrys was satisfied with the result, despite Brann's late comeback. "We met a very good team tonight," he said. "In the second half I told the players to secure a lead we could take back to Lithuania for the second leg."
'Should have scored more'
Brann coach Teitur Thordarson was philosophical after the final whistle and was left to rue his side's missed chances. "I was disappointed with my team's performance in the first 20 minutes. We took a grip on the match after 25 minutes, and should have scored a couple more goals in the second half."
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