Žalgiris crowned again in Lithuania

"It's one of the best seasons in the club's history," said coach Valdas Dambrauskas as Žalgiris won a fourth consecutive Lithuanian double by sealing the title with three games to play.

Žalgiris enjoy their title triumph
Žalgiris enjoy their title triumph ©Saulius Čirba

Žalgiris secured their fourth consecutive Lithuanian league title with three games left to play on Sunday, winning 2-0 at home against Atlantas to open up an unassailable 12-point lead over Trakai and claim yet another domestic double.

A point was enough to clinch the championship after nearest-challengers Trakai slipped up on Saturday, but Valdas Dambrauskas's men made sure with their 23rd league victory as Matija Ljujić's 34th-minute strike and an own goal by Atlantas defender Justas Raziūnas sealed their latest success.

Žalgiris had initially failed to live up to their tag as favourites, losing three of their opening ten matches, before hitting form in the second half of the year – winning nine successive matches from June to August – to wrap up a fourth straight double.

"I think it's one of the best seasons in the club's history," said Dambrauskas, celebrating his second championship win. "There was pressure at the start of the season when the team was still bonding, but we kept believing in ourselves. We are getting more experienced every year and this makes us stronger."

The title triumph ensures Žalgiris will return to UEFA Champions League qualifying next season, and they are eager to improve on second qualifying round exits in the last two campaigns. "Our main objective is to advance in the UEFA Champions league, and we are getting closer to that," said Dambrauskas.

"Of course winning for the fourth time is not the same as winning the first time," added midfielder Mantas Kuklys. "Now we need to win the last three games of the season and finish like champions. Next season we‘ll have to set another record – to win the title five years in a row."

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