FK Žalgiris made their way back into the SMScredit.LT A league with a 4:2 win over hosts Utenis Utena, again occupying the first spot in the league table.
Žalgiris are back on top
Žalgiris started the match off confidently. Already in the 2nd minute of the encounter Andrija Kaludjerovic went one on one with the Utenis goalkeeper after a beautiful combination play between with Marin Matoš, but the striker was unable to chip the ball into the goal.
The opponents had their say a few moments later, when after some unfortunate defending by Žalgiris Kirilas Levšinas of Utenis Utena managed to get past Mamadou Mbodj and slot the ball past Saulius Kleviniskas to give the home side an unexpected lead in the 6th minute of the match. 1:0.
Žalgiris decided they would none of this, and started pilling the pressure, creating one chance after another. It paid off, as in the 18th minute of the encounter a corner kick by Mantas Kuklys was converted with a headed effort from Andrija Kaludjerovic. The visitors were back in the game - 1:1.
The stalemate did not last long, though, as Utenis once again took a surprising lead five minutes later. Some poor defending in midfield left Danielis Romanovskis, on loan at Utenis from Žalgiris, with acres of space and time to pick out a pass forward to Jurijus Vereščakas, who scored with an early touch. 2:1 to the hosts.
Žalgiris continued to dominate, however, having the majority of the possession and aggressively pushing forward for another goal. Linas Pilibaitis and Andrija Kaludjerovic had the best chances to score in the upcoming ten minutes, but either of their attempts were inaccurate.
As the tempo wore off, Žalgiris took advantage of the situation and went on a lightning quick counter attack in the 37th minute of the match. Linas Pilibaitis' wonderful lobbed through ball found Andrija Kaludjerovic sprinting away from his markers and going one on one with the goalkeeper. A slight touch was enough to get the ball into the net and once again equalise for the visiting team. 2:2.
The first half ended with Žalgiris in complete control of the proceedings, having created more chances after the second goal, but failing to take the lead.
The second period started off with an even more active Žalgiris side. Bahrudin Atajic's free kick attempt three minutes into the second half was saved by the goalkeeper, while the rebound goal from Kaludjerovic was disallowed, courtesy of an offside. The Serb had another attempt cleared off the line minutes later.
The pressure was too much for Utenis to handle. Linas Pilibaitis eventually decided to take things into his own hands in the 51st minute of the encounter and fired the ball on the turn with a beautiful left-footed effort just at the edge of the box to give Žalgiris the lead for the first time in this match. 2:3.
Total domination from the away side continued, as Kaludjerovic, Pilibaitis, Atajic, and Chula all came close to giving Žalgiris the goal which would have put the contest to an end. The tempo wore off, eventually, and the most dangerous opportunity since the 65th minute came fifteen minutes later, when Slavko Blagojevic, who came onto the field as a substitute, had his powerful long range attempt saved by the Utenis goalkeeper.
Three minutes later Donovan Slijngard decided to show off his Dutch masterclass - he went on a brilliant run from the left back position into the midfield, beating multiple players in the process. The former Ajax player then found Vytautas Lukša, who crossed the ball diagonally to Kaludjerovic, who in turn masterfully volleyed the ball past the Utenis goalkeeper. Brilliant goal which gave the away side a 2:4 lead.
The hosts scored in the dying minutes as well, but the goal was ruled out due to an offside, crushing the hopes of making a late comeback. Žalgiris came out as the winners with a 4:2 win.
The next match is scheduled on the 27th of July, when Žalgiris will face FK Lietava Jonava at home, in the LFF stadium.
Utenis Utena - FK Žalgiris Vilnius 2:4 (2:2)
SMScredit.LT A league, Matchday 18, Utena
6' [1:0] Kirilas Levšinas
18' [1:1] Andrija Kaludjerovic
23' [2:1] Jurijus Vereščakas
37' [2:2] Andrija Kaludjerovic
51' [2:3] Linas Pilibaitis
83' [2:4] Andrija Kaludjerovic
Bookings: 36' Saulius Mikoliūnas, 66' Linas Pilibaitis, 80' Slavko Blagojevic (FK Žalgiris Vilnius); 38' Gabrielius Zagurskas (Utenis Utena).
FK Žalgiris Vilnius line-up:
Saulius Klevinskas, Saulius Mikoliūnas (84' Justas Lasickas), Mamadou Mbodj, Marius Žaliūkas, Donovan Slijngard, Marin Matoš (64' Slavko Blagojevic), Mantas Kuklys, Linas Pilibaitis, Jorge Chula (71' Vytautas Lukša), Bahrudin Atajic, Andrija Kaludjerovic.