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Karcemarskas keeps Spain at bay

Lithuania 0-0 Spain Home goalkeeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas produces a fine display in Vilnius.

A determined display from Lithuania earned a share of the spoils for the home side on a frustrating evening for Luis Aragonés's Spain side in FIFA World Cup Group 7.

Home hero
Although it took some late heroics from home goalkeeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas to make sure the points were shared, in truth Spain never found their stride against their tireless opponents. The result left both teams on five points.

Two changes
Lithuania made two changes to the team that beat San Marino 4-0 last month, with striker Robertas Poškus, who sustained minor injuries in a car accident last week, the most notable absentee. Spain, on the other hand, made three alterations from the side that saw off nine-man Belgium on Saturday, with Fernando Torres, José Antonio Reyes and Joaquín Sánchez making way for Víctor Sánchez, Rubén Baraja and Albert Luque.

Luque lively
Luque, who came on to score on Saturday, was again a prominent figure in the opening exchanges. Given a free role by Aragonés, he displayed strength and balance when dropping deep into a congested midfield. But as the first half wore on, Lithuania's effort was getting the better of Spanish guile. Time and again their harrying and harassing forced errors from their opponents, and came close to bearing fruit.

Home chances
On the half-hour Edgaras Cesnauskis trapped a long, lofted pass and rounded the exposed Iker Casillas, only for Carles Puyol to clear off the line. Casillas then produced a sharp save to to his left to deny Marius Stankevicius.

Spain relieved
Spain emerged a more disciplined side after half-time, yet Luque remained their sole threat, going closest with a rising 20-metre drive that tested Karcemarskas for the first time just after the restart.

Rhythm broken
But as the game wore on, the visitors struggled to find any sort of rhythm, with chances scarce. As tiredness and frustration took over, Lithuania even threatened to repeat their late surge in the first half, but it was Spain who had the best chance late on.

Spain denied
Xavi curled an injury-time free-kick towards the bottom corner, only for Karcemarskas to palm it away, and then recover in time to block Raúl González's follow-up when the striker seemed certain to score. The home fans were still cheering their goalkeeper's heroics when the final whistle was blown. Lithuania next travel to San Marino on 17 November, while Spain face the same opponents at home in February.