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Žalgiris end Lithuanian Cup wait

VMFD Žalgiris ended their nine-year wait for a trophy as they downed reigning holders FK Ekranas on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes in the Lithuanian Cup final.

VMFD Žalgiris won their first trophy since 2003 to end FK Ekranas's Lithuanian Cup domination. Ekranas were looking for their third straight double win, but lost to Žalgiris on penalties after neither side had managed to break the deadlock after 120 minutes.

After a cautious start, both goalkeepers were made to work in the first half. Emilijus Zubas twice parried from Žalgiris's Tomislav Pek, while Vytautas Lukša's volley was blocked by Žalgiris keeper Armantas Vitkauskas. The half ended on a sour note for Ekranas however, as influential playmaker Marko Andjelković hobbled off, adding to the casualty list that already included Mantas Savenas and Andrius Velička.

Six minutes into the second period Ekranas nearly broke the deadlock as Ramunas Radavičius's strike bounced off the post and keeper Vitkauskas but did not cross the line. Žalgiris then had two excellent opportunities midway through the half as Pek headed over unmarked, while Zubas blocked Scottish striker Calum Ellliot's close-range effort.

Ekranas looked more threatening in extra time, but Aurimas Vertelis, Mantas Samusiovas and Radavičius failed to hit the target. Their bad luck continued in the shoot-out as Vitkauskas, playing in his hometown Marijampole, made two saves to clinch Žalgiris the sixth cup win in their history.

Žalgiris's stand-in captain Andrius Skerla, said the script was written for his team's win. "Yesterday I had a feeling that if it went to penalties Žalgiris would win the lottery," the veteran defender told "I was very confident. It was a very difficult and tiring game and our opponents had the initiative in extra time but we held on well. This trophy means a lot to the club, as the cup is coming back to Vilnius after a very long time."