Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Europe: Ventspils pay the penalty as Skonto win Baltic League

Posted in European Football by peterbein on June 19, 2011

Triobet Baltic League logoSkonto Riga finally won the Triobet Baltic League for the first time in the club’s history yesterday defeating compatriots and host club FK Ventspils in a penalty shoot out after the match had finished 1-1 in extra-time.

FK Ventspils were the defending champions of the tournament, having won the 2010 final in exciting circumstances against Lithuanians FK Ekranas, and were hoping to become the first club to successfully defend the title. However they were involved in a tight contest with Latvian champions Skonto Riga with both teams cancelling each other out during the regular 90 minutes.

Goals were exchanged during the extra-time period with the visiting side going ahead on the 100th minute mark. Valerijs Šabala, who came on as a late substitute in normal time, gave Skonto the advantage which they preserved until the half-time break in extra-time. However FK Ventspils responded early in the second half with Naoya Shibamura restoring parity in the 109th minute.

The remaining eleven minutes of the extra-time period saw no further goalscoring meaning that a penalty shoot out would decide the destination of the title for the second year in a row. Aleksandrs Fertovs converted the winning goal for Skonto to give Latvia’s record champions a 6-5 shoot out win and their first ever Triobet Baltic League title. This compliments their victory in the Baltic Champions’ Cup earlier in the year in which they won a three team tournament involving each champion club from the component leagues in the Baltic States, namely Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. For FK Ventspils it was disappointing to lose the Baltic League title in front of their home supporters but they are course to win the Latvian domestic double this year having already beaten Liepājas Metalurgs in the 2011 Latvian Cup final and they currently enjoy a six point lead over the same team (with a game in hand) at the top of Latvia’s top flight LMT Virslīga.

Europe: Skonto and Ventspils to meet in Baltic League final (+video)

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 25, 2011

Triobet Baltic LeagueTwo of Latvia’s biggest clubs, Skonto Riga and FK Ventspils, will meet in the Triobet Baltic League final which takes place on Saturday, June 18th.

Skonto Riga already had one foot in the final following their 5-0 drubbing of compatriots Liepājas Metalurgs in the semi-final, first leg and today’s second leg proved to be a drab affair. With very few people turning up to watch today’s game in the Baltic coastal town of Liepāja it is no surprise that there wasn’t a great deal of action to talk about. Antons Jemelins’ red card in the 76th minute hindered Metalurgs’ chances further which were put to the sword when the Riga side sealed a 1-0 win in the last minute of the match thanks to a goal from Arturs Karašausks. Skonto won the tie 6-0 on aggregate and who will play in their second Baltic League final hoping to triumph in the competition for the first time having lost to FBK Kaunas in the final of the 2008 edition.

Champions FK Ventspils also had a comfortable passage through to the final and hope to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title following their semi-final victory over Lithuanians FK Šiauliai. Having won the first leg by two goals to nil, FK Ventspils repeated the score in the return fixture on Tuesday with goals from Vladimirs Mukins (55th minute) and Oļegs Žatkins (81st minute) securing a 4-0 aggregate win for the Yellow-and-Blues who are in the midst of a potentially great season for the club. Currently leading the way in the Latvian Virsliga and having already won the Latvian Cup, FK Ventspils’ chances of a treble triumph are very high and for new coach Sergei Podpaly the Baltic title would be another step on the way to restoring Ventspils’ dominance in the country.

A fascinating final match awaits.


Europe: Skonto and Ventspils have one foot in Baltic final

Posted in European Football by peterbein on May 4, 2011

Triobet Baltic League logoLatvian clubs Skonto Riga and FK Ventspils hold the advantage following the Triobet Baltic League semi-final, 1st legs which have taken place over the last two nights.

In an all-Latvian clash Skonto Riga took on 2007 Baltic League champions Liepājas Metalurgs in the second such clash in less than a week. In the Latvian league match played last weekend Metalurgs defeated Skonto 2-0 at their home stadium and were hoping for a repeat in tonight’s Baltic League fixture. But Skonto, the only one of Latvia’s traditional big three not to have won this competition, have as good as secured themselves a place in the 2010-11 tournament final as they put five goals past their rivals and gained some revenge for Saturday’s setback. Skonto took a solitary one goal lead into the break with Igors Tarasovs breaking the deadlock four minutes before half-time. The floodgates opened in the second half with Renārs Rode doubling Skonto’s advantage in the 54th minute before Nathan Junior added a third midway through the second half. Two late goals from Ruslans Mingazovs and Artūrs Karašauskas sealed the deal for Skonto and they are almost certain to progress to the final barring any disasters in the second leg.

On Tuesday FK Ventspils travelled to Lithuania to play their semi-final, 1st leg against FK Šiauliai. The Lithuanians are going well in their domestic league just three points behind leaders FK Ekranas whilst defending Baltic League champions FK Ventspils are a similar distance behind Latvian league leaders Metalurgs. The game was tight in the first half with both teams limited on chances and going into the half-time period with a goalless score line. Ventspils broke the deadlock in the second half after Vladimirs Bespalovs in the 57th minute and the three-time Latvian champions took the game in their stride. A goal for Olegs Žatkins three minutes into stoppage time put the result beyond doubt and gives FK Ventspils the perfect opportunity to reach back-to-back finals.

The second legs will be played on May 24-25.

Europe: Latvian clubs lead the way in Baltic League

Posted in European Football by peterbein on April 21, 2011

Triobet Baltic League logoWith 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.


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Baltic States: Old order restored in Baltic League (+video)

Posted in European Football by peterbein on November 11, 2010

The 2010-11 Triobet Baltic League (TBL) has now concluded its first knockout round and for the Estonian clubs it has ultimately proven not to be as joyous as one would have first thought after the first leg. All five clubs from Estonia won their first leg ties and gave hope that some new forces would emerge in the competition. However clubs from Latvia and Lithuania restored the old order and made sure that they both got some decent representation in the quarter-finals.

The old guard of Estonian football, FC Flora and FC Levadia, are the only representatives remaining from the most northern of the Baltic States following the first round action. FC Flora, who have just celebrated becoming Estonian Meistriliiga champions for the first time since 2003, wrapped up a good year by going through on away goals in a tough encounter against last season’s losing TBL finalists FK Sūduva. The Lithuanians won this week’s second leg at home by 3-2 but this wasn’t enough as they were defeated 2-1 in the first leg in Tallinn and so it was Flora who went through courtesy of two away goals to one. FC Levadia, who saw their four year reign as Estonian champions end this week, at least ended the season on a high after a 5-3 home win against Latvians SK Blāzma Rēzekne secured a 6-3 aggregate victory.

The three other Estonian teams all endured disappointment following encouraging first leg matches. None more so than Trans Narva who, following a 5-1 home victory against Lithuanians FK Šiauliai, crumbled in the away leg to a 5-0 reverse and, therefore, suffered a 6-5 aggregate defeat. Sillamäe Kalev, 2-1 winners in their first leg match to Latvian Cup finalists FK Jūrmala-VV, conceded goals at the start and the end of the second leg to go down 2-0 in the match, 3-2 on aggregate. Last season’s Triobet Baltic League champions FK Ventspils were given a fright by Estonians JK Nõmme Kalju who led 2-1 from the first leg and who made the Latvians sweat it out for their 4-1 second leg victory. Nonetheless the champions passed the first test of their title defence and will hope to become the first team to defend the trophy.

In the three games not involving Estonian clubs newly crowned Latvian champions Skonto Riga had to scrap to a 3-2 aggregate victory over Lithuanian side FK Tauras with all of the goals coming in the first leg. FK Ekranas Panevėžys, who were crowned Lithuanian champions for the third year in a row in 2010, strolled to a 4-0 aggregate win over JFK Olimps/RFS of Latvia whilst the final game of the round came today with Liepājas Metalurgs getting the better of FK Banga by four goals to two on aggregate.

The Triobet Baltic League takes a break until April when the last eight do battle for the coveted title. The pick of the games will be the battle of the champions of Latvia and Lithuania, namely Skonto Riga and FK Ekranas respectively, whilst another standout tie involves Estonian champions FC Flora against defending TBL champions FK Ventspils. Levadia Tallinn take on FK Šiauliai whilst, in an all-Latvian tie, Liepājas Metalurgs take on FK Jūrmala-VV to complete the line-up.


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.


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Baltic League: 2010-11 tournament kicks off on Tuesday

Posted in European Football by peterbein on September 20, 2010
Triobet Baltic League logo

The new Triobet Baltic League campaign begins this week

Three matches kick off the 2010-11 Triobet Baltic League (TBL) this week with memories still fresh from the 2009-10 final which turned out to be a classic between Lithuania’s FK Sūduva and eventual winners FK Ventspils from Latvia. Losing finalists FK Sūduva open up the new campaign with their first round, first leg tie in the Estonian capital Tallinn to face current Meistriliiga leaders and 2009-10 TBL semi-finalists FC Flora. Wednesday also sees Latvian Virslīga challengers FK Ventspils open their defence of the Triobet Baltic League trophy away to Estonians JK Nõmme Kalju who only have this competition left to fight for this season as they are a distant fourth place in their national league and knocked out of the Estonian Cup by Trans Narva earlier this month. That leads us on nicely to the third game of the week which sees Trans Narva play their first opening game of the competition against Lithuanian A Lyga side FK Šiauliai who are comfortably mid-table in their domestic league but will want to progress in this tournament in order to maintain knockout football early in the new year.

The other five games in the first round of the 2010-11 TBL competition will play their first legs in October and Stoppage Time – International Football Blog will preview those games at the appropriate time.


Banga (LT) v Liepājas Metalurgs (LV)

FC Jurmala-VV (LV) v JK Sillamäe Kalev (EST)

JFK Olimps/RFS (LV) v FK Ekranas (LT)

Tauras (LT) v Skonto FC (LV)

JK Nõmme Kalju (EST) v FK Ventspils (LV)

FC Flora Tallinn (EST) v FK Sūduva (LT)

SK Blāzma Rēzekne (LV) v FC Levadia Tallinn (EST)

JK Narva Trans (EST) v Šiauliai (LT)

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Baltic League: Draw for 2010-11 tournament held in Riga

Posted in European Football by peterbein on August 20, 2010
FK Ventspils

FK Ventspils celebrate their 2009-10 Triobet Baltic League triumph. Who will win the competition in 2010-11?

The draw for the 2010-11 Triobet Baltic League, the cross-border competition for the top sixteen teams in the Baltic States, was held today in the Olympic Centre in the Latvian capital of Riga. The composition of the draw was five teams each from Lithuania and Estonia whilst Latvia has six teams as one of their representatives, FK Ventspils, won last season’s tournament and thus get the extra berth as a reward. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reveals the draw for the first round, the first leg takes place from September 21-22 and the second leg from October 26-27:

Banga (LT) v L. Metalurgs (LV)

FC Jurmala-VV (LV) v JK Sillamäe Kalev (EST)

JFK Olimps/RFS (LV) v Ekranas (LT)

Tauras (LT) v Skonto FC (LV)

JK Nõmme Kalju (EST) v FK Ventspils (LV)

FC Flora Tallinn (EST) v FK Suduva (LT)

SK Blazma Rezekne (LV) v FC Levadia Tallinn (EST)

JK Narva Trans (EST) v Šiauliai (LT)

Triobet Baltic League: FK Ventspils win dramatic final

Posted in European Football by peterbein on July 10, 2010

FK Ventspils were crowned Triobet Baltic League champions of 2009/10 last Sunday in a dramatic final against Lithuanian side FK Sūduva in the latter’s home stadium in the town of Marijampolė. In what was a game of many chances it was a surprise that it took until the 82nd minute of the contest for the final’s opening goal to appear. Alexandru Dedov opened the scoring for FK Ventpils and when the game reached stoppage time it appeared that the Yellow and Blues would hold out for the win. However a goal from Ricardas Beniušis saved the Lithuanians’ hopes of glory and took the game into extra-time and this was when the fun really began. Two goals in first half extra-time from Jurijs Žigajevs and Michael Tukura appeared to have settled the game in Ventspils’ favour but more late drama was to come from Sūduva. Beniušis scored his second goal of the game with six minutes remaining and then, deep into stoppage time there was another last-gasp equalizing goal for the home side, this time from substitute Andrius Urbšys, to take the game into the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. After a game of this quality it was a shame that anybody had to lose but that fate fell upon FK Sūduva whose extra-time saviour Andrius Urbšys was the unlucky man to miss his penalty and, thus, allowed Grigori Chirkin to seal the 5-3 shoot-out win and celebrate becoming Baltic champions for the first time. Watch Match Highlights HERE:

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.