Lithua­nia

World Soccer - - European Season Review -

For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son, Suduva proved the pick of the crop, re­main­ing in pole po­si­tion from gun to tape, even though run­ner­sup Zal­giris had the bet­ter head-to-head record, win­ning three of their five games with Suduva. In a re­peat of last year’s Fi­nal – in which Stum­bras beat Zal­giris – the lat­ter gained re­venge with a 3-0 win, cour­tesy of goals from To­mas Simkovic, Marko Tomic and Mar­quin­hos. Suduva will be­gin their Champions League jour­ney at the ini­tial qual­i­fi­ca­tion phase. Zal­giris, third-place Trakai and Stum­bras, who were fourth, will try to force their way into the Europa League proper.

Af­ter win­ning just four games all sea­son, Jon­ava tum­bled out of the top flight. Pan­evezys won the sec­ond divi­sion and will have a first taste of the A Lyga. Palanga re­tained their top-flight sta­tus by beat­ing Dainava in a play-off. Suduva’s Croat keeper Ivan Kar­dum was a key com­po­nent in his club’s suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence, keep­ing a clean sheet in more than half his starts. For­merly in charge of the na­tional teams of Ghana and Ethiopia, Goa-born Mar­i­ano Baretto worked some­thing of a mir­a­cle at Stum­bras, turn­ing ragged rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates into a solid top-four side. De­spite play­ing for a strug­gling At­lantas, teenage right-back Deivi­das Siusa gen­er­ally gave an ex­cel­lent ac­count of him­self. Poised and dis­ci­plined, he was not at all over­whelmed by his pro­mo­tion from the youth ranks.

Key...Ivan Kar­dum

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