Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Baltic League: Estonian clubs finally take charge (+video)

Posted in European Football by peterbein on October 10, 2010

Triobet Baltic League logoThe Triobet Baltic League, a cross-border tournament for the best sixteen teams from the Baltic States, hasn’t been so kind for clubs from Estonia since its inception in 2007. Perhaps Flora Tallinn, who became the first Estonian team to reach the semi-finals last season, have given the rest of the Meistriliiga (Estonian domestic league) contingent a kick up the backside by their recent good performances as this season’s competition has begun with a clean sweep of victories for their compatriots in the first round, first legs that have been played over the last few weeks. Usually it is Latvian teams that begin the competition in fine form but the form book has completely turned on its head so far and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest action.

The 2010-11 tournament officially began on September 21st with last season’s aforementioned semi-finalists Flora Tallinn getting the ball rolling with a 2-1 victory over Lithuanians FK Sūduva. Karl Palatu’s brace in the second half gave the Estonians a two goal cushion before a late Andrius Brokas reply halved the deficit for FK Sūduva who will host the second leg on October 27th. The good start for Estonian clubs continued with a tremendous performance from FC Trans Narva who demolished another Lithuanian opponent FK Šiauliai by five goals to one. FK Šiauliai actually had the half-time lead after Paulius Drublionis scored from the penalty spot but Trans’ second half response saw a hat-trick for Felipe Rodrigues and a brace for Marius Bezykornovas seal a tremendous win.

The start for Estonian clubs was so good that even defending Baltic League champions FK Ventspils couldn’t halt the juggernault as they went down to a 2-1 first leg defeat to Nõmme Kalju. The Latvian side took the lead through Eduards Višņakovs after just six minutes but the hosts came from behind thanks to a brace from Jüri Jevdokimov in the second half. The clean sweep for Estonia was completed this week with victories for JK Sillamäe Kalev and Levadia Tallinn, both coming against Latvian opposition in the form of FK Jūrmala-VV and SK Blāzma Rēzekne respectively. JK Sillamäe Kalev were grateful to goals from Vitalis Stankevicius and Andrius Veikutis in their 2-1 win over FK Jūrmala-VV whilst a lone Felipe Nunes strike in the 80th minute was enough for Levadia. Both Sillamäe and Levadia will play their second leg games at home and will want to successfully defend their hard-earned away victories.

The three remaining first leg ties are Latvia v Lithuania clashes and there were mixed results. On Friday Skonto Riga, always one of the favourites going into the tournament despite having not won it, faced off against FK Taurus Tauragė and came on top with a 3-2 win. Alans Siņeļņikovs (2) and Kaspars Dubra were on the score sheet for Skonto who would expect to finish the job off in the second leg when they will have home advantage. Latvian champions Liepājas Metalurgs went down to a first leg defeat at the hands of Lithuanian outfit FK Banga with Antolie Ostap’s 38th minute winner proving the difference between the two sides. The only match in the first round that has been completed so far ended as a 4-0 aggregate win for Lithuanian team FK Ekranas against Latvia’s JFK Olimps/RFS. A Tadas Makevicius goal separated the sides in a tight first leg in Riga but the second leg today was more clear cut with Ekranas ending up 3-0 winners with all of the goals coming in the first half thanks to strikes from Olexsandr Kablash, Deimantas Bicka and Nerijus Sasnauskas.

WATCH TRANS NARVA v FK SIAULIAI GOALS HERE:

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