Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Triobet Baltic League: Mixed Emotions for Latvian Clubs

Posted in European Football by peterbein on June 9, 2010
Triobet Baltic League

The finalists for the 2009-10 Triobet Baltic League are now known

Any hopes of a second all-Latvian final in the Triobet Baltic League competition have been dashed by the 4-2 aggregate defeat to Latvian champions Liepājas Metalurgs in their encounter with Lithuanians FK Sūduva. On Tuesday FK Ventspils had ensured their semi-final triumph over first-time semi-finalists from Estonia FC Flora Tallinn with a goalless draw helping to preserve the Latvians’ two goal lead from the first leg. It is the second time in a row that teams from Latvia and Lithuania will meet in the final after FBK Kaunas’ 2-1 victory over Skonto Riga in the 2008 tournament final.

FK Ventspils, three-time Latvian champions, got the better of maiden semi-finalists FC Flora and it was not one, but two men with the name of Višņakovs who secured the team on Latvia’s Baltic coast their first leg 2-0 win. With only seventeen minutes played it was Aleksejs Višņakovs who gave FKV the lead and it was his namesake Eduards Višņakovs who sealed the deal late in the game with a well struck effort in the 72nd minute. The second leg had some chances for both sides but neither could find their shooting boots. This would be of no concern to Nunzio Zavettieri’s Ventspils side who defended their two goal cushion from the first leg to put themselves into their second Triobet Baltic League final. Now they had to wait to see who would join them.

Current Latvian champions Liepājas Metalurgs lost their heads in the first leg of their semi-final to FK Sūduva going down to a catastrophic 3-0 defeat at the hands of their opponents in the Lithuanian town of Marijampolė. Nerijus Radžius and Karolis Chvedukas scored in the last ten minutes of the first half to give Metalurgs a major wake-up call which they never heeded. Povilas Lukšys increased Metalurgs’ misery with just ten minutes of the match remaining and to leave their dispirited opponents with it all to do in the second leg. Despite the deficit things started promisingly for Metalurgs in the return fixture when Oskars Kļava put the home team ahead after 17 minutes to reduce the aggregate score to 3-1. The Lithuanians, however, would not just roll over and allow the 2007 Baltic League champions to come back easily. Instead their defence stifled attack after attack and with only ten minutes of the game remaining equalized to put things beyong reasonable doubt thanks to prolific striker Povilas Lukšys. Metalurgs did score a consolation in stoppage time through Genādijs Soloņicins but, by then, the damage was already done. FK Sūduva triumphed 4-1 on aggregate to qualify for their first Triobet Baltic League final and a meeting with FK Ventspils, both of whom will look to secure a maiden triumph in this competition.

The final takes place on Sunday, July 4th at a venue yet to be decided by the tournament organizers.

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