RIGA, Latvia– Ventspils and Skonto Riga have taken big strides into setting up an all Latvian final in the Triobet Baltic League.
On the opening legs of the Triobet Baltic League semifinals Ventspils and Skonto both experienced little opposition from their hosts, defeating Siauliai 2-0 and Liepaja Metalurgs 5-0 respectively.
While Siauliai had been expected to struggle against Ventspils, the second result was something of a surprise, given that the Metalurgs had defeated Skonto 2-0 in the Latvian domestic competition just a few days earlier. With that result also coming on Skonto’s home turf they had been predicted to be even more of a formidable opponent playing at home.
However Skonto never looked like losing with Igors Tarasovs opening the scoring in the 41st minute. Skonto then cut loose in the second half with Renars Roda claiming their second goal in the 54th minute. 12 minutes later and one of their imports, Junior Natans Carvalho had his side’s third. To add insult to injury Ruslans Mingazov and Arturs Karasausks would also claim invaluable away goals before the end of time to create an almost impossible job for the Metalurgs on the return leg on May 25. The Metalurgs will need to score at least six goals on that return leg to stand any chance of making it into the final.
Whilst they did not get as many goals, Ventspils were no less effective in giving themselves a comfortable two goal buffer looking ahead to the return leg on May 24. After a goalless first half, Vladimirs Bepalovs struck for Ventspils in the 57th minute then with the game three minutes into injury time and Siauliai perhaps already thinking ahead to how to score a goal on the return leg, they were caught napping with Olegs Zatkins claiming his team’s second goal.