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Latvia off the mark with Liechtenstein scalp

Latvia 2-0 Liechtenstein
Vladimirs Kamešs scored his first international goal as Aleksandrs Starkovs' side earned their opening points in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group G.

Vladimirs Kamešs gives Latvia the lead in the first half
Vladimirs Kamešs gives Latvia the lead in the first half ©Roman Koksharov

Goals in either half from Vladimirs Kamešs and substitute Edgars Gauračs sunk Liechtenstein and earned Lativa their first victory in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group G.

Both teams were eager to get off the mark after suffering three consecutive defeats, and the opening exchanges were unsurprisingly fraught with anxiety. Latvia soon emerged the stronger side, however, and took the lead through Kamešs after 29 minutes. FC Torpedo Moskva striker Gauračs set the seal on a commanding performance 13 minutes from time.

The hosts, who lost 2-1 in Slovakia on Friday, initially failed to shine until Kamešs lifted the gloom, timing his run to perfection to turn in Oļegs Laizāns's neat centre. The goalscorer almost turned provider moments later, but Māris Verpakovskis headed his delicious delivery wide, before Artjoms Rudņevs sent a venomous volley past a post.

The visitors retreated into their shells after the interval as Latvia poured forward in search of a second, and their task became even more arduous when Daniel Kaufmann was shown a second yellow card on the hour. Latvia made their numerical advantage count 17 minutes later when Gauračs latched onto Aleksandrs Cauņa's incisive through ball and finished with aplomb.