The 7th matchday of the Lithuanian "SMScredit.LT A" league brought FK Vilnius Žalgiris back to winning ways, with a comfortable 3:0 (1:0) home victory over FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas, who finished the match with 9 players on the pitch.
The hosts took initiative from the start of the match, limiting the visitors' options to even considering attacking. After a cautious first 10 minutes, FK Vilnius Žalgiris began to push forward more.
The first shot came in the 12th minute of the encounter, from midfielder Marin Matoš, but just went wide. A few minutes later Saulius Mikoliūnas won the ball inside the box and made a sharp pass to Simonas Stankevičius in the goalkeeper's area, only for it to be blocked.
This was the young forward's first match in the starting XI for the first team this season, and he justified the coaches' choice by being a constant threat to the opposition defenders and goalkeeper. In the 16th minute Stankevičius was the one who gave the key pass into the penalty area to Linas Pilibaitis, who would have recorded an assist had Saulius Mikoliūnas converted the chance.
FK Vilnius Žalgiris' captain Egidijus Vaitkūnas' pass into the middle just outside of the penalty box found Elton, who had enough time and space to position himself for a shot. It was all too weak, as FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas' goalkeeper Deividas Mikelionis had no trouble picking the ball up.
After another missed opportunity by Simonas Stankevičius in the 25th minute, FK Vilnius Žalgiris were awarded a penalty just a couple of minutes later. Vytautas Lukša attempted to cross into box, but an opposition defender stopped the ball with his arm out wide and the referee confidently pointed into the spot. Linas Pilibaitis converted the penalty, putting the home side in front in the 28th minute - 1:0.
The hosts continued to attack and press, often restricting FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas to a few passes before losing the ball once more. Although the visitors created a little mayhem near the end of the first half, the home side managed to keep their clean sheet and finished the half with a 1:0 lead.
The start of the second half made things even more complicated for the team from Kaunas. A tackle in the 49th minute by Tomas Bučma from behind on Elton saw him getting sent off by the referee with a straight red card.
The home side took advantage of the extra player on the pitch, when in the 56th minute recently subbed on Bahrudin Atajic spotted Simonas Stankevičius' run inside the box and gave him the ball. This time the young Lithuanian forward took his tight chance and doubled FK Vilnius Žalgiris' lead - 2:0.
Head coach of the hosts Valdas Dambrauskas decided to keep up the pressure by throwing attack-minded youngster Danielis Romanovskis and Brazilian Lucas Gaucho onto the field.
Romanovskis did not wait - he instantly took initiative and started organizing one attack after another. His most influential contribution to the match, however, came in the 67th minute, when Romanovskis' defensive work rate provoked FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas' midfielder Lukas Sendžikas to lose his temper and receive a second yellow card, leaving the visitors with 9 men on the pitch.
The home side furthered their domination after the second sending off in the opposition team. Stankevičius and Gaucho had their chances to get on the score sheet, while Egidijus Vaitkūnas, Marius Žaliūkas, and Danielis Romanovskis all hit the woodwork.
Eventually the pressure paid off, as Lucas Gaucho sealed the game in the 79th minute after another Bahrudin Atajic assist to make it 3:0.
FK Žalgiris Vilnius - FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas 3:0 (1:0)
"SMScredit.LT A league", Matchday 7, Vilnius
28' [1:0] Linas Pilibaitis (pen.)
56' [2:0] Simonas Stankevičius
79' [3:0] Lucas Gaucho
Bookings: 26' Lukas Sendžikas, 50' Ignas Dedura (FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas); 54' Egidijus Vaitkūnas, 63' Bahrudin Atajic (FK Žalgiris Vilnius).
Sent off: 49' Tomas Bučma, 67' Lukas Sendžikas (FC Kauno Žalgiris Kaunas).
FK Žalgiris line-up: Saulius Klevinskas, Egidijus Vaitkūnas, Marius Žaliūkas, Mamadou Mbodji, Donovan Slijngard, Elton (54' Bahrudin Atajic) , Vytautas Lukša (60' Danielis Romanovskis), Linas Pilibaitis, Marin Matoš, Saulius Mikoliūnas (71' Lucas Gaucho), Simonas Stankevičius.