Europe: Latvian clubs lead the way in Baltic League
With the quarter-final stages of the 2010-11 Triobet Baltic League completed the usual suspects from Latvia continue to dominate the competition. Each of the big three – Skonto Riga, Liepājas Metalurgs and defending champions FK Ventspils – have qualified for the semi-finals with just one lone team from Lithuania, FK Šiauliai, keeping them company. Both Estonian representatives left remaining at the last eight stage, Tallinn sides Flora and Levadia, both went out.
FK Ventspils remain favourites to lift back-to-back Baltic titles after they easily dismissed the challenge of Estonian champions Flora Tallinn by a 5-0 aggregate scoreline. Vladimirs Bespalovs scored the only goal of the first leg whilst Ahmed Abdultaofik, Jevgēnijs Kosmačovs, Eduards Višņakovs and Olegs Zatkins grabbed one apiece in the four goal rout in the return fixture. They will face FK Šiauliai after the Lithuanians went through thanks to a solitary strike from Edvinas Jasaitis in the very first minute of the second leg to ensure a 1-0 aggregate win.
The other semi-final will see old rivals Skonto Riga and Liepājas Metalurgs go head-to-head for the second season in succession. A match between the champions of Latvia and Lithuania saw Skonto pip an exciting game against FK Ekranas with two goals in the last ten minutes of the second leg helping the Latvians to a 4-2 aggregate success. Metalurgs, on the other hand, had things a little easier in an all-Latvian affair against FK Jūrmala-VV with Vladimirs Kamešs and Jevgēņijs Golovins each bagging a brace in a 6-2 aggregate win.
The semi-finals see FK Šiauliai and Skonto FC enjoy home advantage in the first legs to be played May 3rd/4th whilst former champions Liepājas Metalurgs and current title holders FK Ventspils playing host to the return legs three weeks later on May 24/25.
WATCH FK VENTSPILS’ SECOND LEG GOALS HERE: