League leaders FK Žalgiris Vilnius became the first side to win four consecutive Lithuanian Cups with a 2-0 defeat of ten-man FK Atlantas Klaipėda in Siauliai.
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FK Žalgiris Vilnius became the first side to win four consecutive Lithuanian Cups with a 2-0 defeat of ten-man FK Atlantas Klaipėda in Siauliai.
Žalgiris had the better of the first half against a side in their first final for 11 years, Jurij Kendyš heading on to a post and snuffing out Atlantas's counters. Atlantas brought on key forward Andrey Paniukov for the second half. However, in the 52nd minute Linas Pilibaitis was sent clear on goal and brought down in the box by Atlantas keeper Edvinas Gertmonas, who was beaten from the spot by Deividas Šemberas.
Four minutes later Atlantas had Donatas Navikas sent off for a second bookable offence and Žalgiris poured on the pressure. It told six minutes from time when a Vytautas Lukša cross was headed in by Pilibaitis.
Šemberas, who adds a third Lithuanian Cup to the six Russian Cups he won at PFC CSKA Moskva, said: "Every trophy gives you motivation to continue, to attempt more victories. We might have a glass of wine today in celebration but no more! There is a new game on Thursday so we must prepare."
Coach Valdas Dambrauskas added: "It's obviously memorable for me as it's my first final as head coach.
We showed that Žalgiris are a dominant force in Lithuania. The first goal was key today. We felt that everything would be fine if we scored, after that we controlled the game. Atlantas were looking to sit back but their tactical plan did not work out."
Atlantas coach Konstantin Sarsanya agreed. "Our plan was not to concede in the first half and then try to use our attacking options from the bench – Panyukov and Dovydas Norvilas - in the second half," he said. "But we conceded a goal out of nothing, and the sending-off completely ruined our plans."
In the league, reigning champions Žalgiris lead the way by two points over FK Trakai with Atlantas 13 further back in fourth.