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Žalgiris complete double with Lithuanian crown

Žalgiris made it three domestic doubles in a row as a win at Atlantas sealed the Lithuanian league title from Trakai with three rounds of games still to play.

Žalgiris midfielder Mantas Kuklys celebrates his team's goal against Atlantas
Žalgiris midfielder Mantas Kuklys celebrates his team's goal against Atlantas ©Valdas Knyzelis

Žalgiris have won the Lithuanian championship after the 1-0 defeat of Atlantas confirmed the title with three rounds still to play.

Linas Pilibaitis's headed winner 27 minutes into the encounter proved enough to ensure a league and cup double for the third successive season for the club who took advantage of nearest-challengers Trakai slipping up at the weekend to seal their success.

There were nerves at Atlantas when home captain Andrius Bartkus headed on to the post early on. However, midway through the first period Mantas Kuklys' free-kick found Pilibaitis and the veteran produced an excellent header.

Valdas Dambrauskas celebrated his first championship win as a coach with the 38-year-old proving the doubters, who claimed he was too inexperienced to take charge of the country's leading club side, wrong.

"It means a lot to the club and myself because every trophy goes in the history books," said Dambrauskas. "I want to thank the players who forged this path to the title. It might seem that it was easy for us, however a lot of sweat, blood, nerves and work has been put into this. Everyone did a fantastic job – from the players to the management and the coaching staff."

Kuklys said: "This title is special because we won it in Klaipėda. In previous years we lost here, but this time we managed to win and it makes us happy. The coach prepared well for this game and knew how Atlantas would play. There won't be much time for celebrations, however, because we have a cup match in midweek. Every game is important for us, we need to finish the season like champions."