Rumori di Spogliatoio

Lithuania vs. Estonia 1-0, players ratings

Angelo PalmeriComment

Guess what? The first important save of the game his Pareiko’s. The Estonian shot stopper stops Matulevicius with a clean sliding tackle as the Pandurii striker was not able to control the ball efficiently. Another great save is on the 39’ minutes when he fists out an on-the-run shot by Novikovas without taking the risk to block the ball. On 75’ minutes he saves on Cernych left free to shoot in the box and this is just 20 seconds before Lithuania scores the opener as he cannot hold the ball from close distance and Mikoliunas is free in the box to receive the ball served from the left. On 78’ Lukśa is merciful as he shoots wide from the edge of the box. We don't feel like punishing him with a bad rating for the half-mistake on the goal suffered, he kept up Estonia for all the game on Lithuania's best chances.

With Lithuania using more the left flank instead of the right, he spends a relatively quiet evening in controlling Cernych. A bit too hasty when he has to find calm and composure to clear in the box. He is not covering well on the goal situation.

He plays simple since the beginning following Klavan steps and position. On 34’ minutes, he misses a sweep and gifts a corner kick to Lithuania. Luckily for him no relevant output came from it. His performance was satisfying and sweeping any criticism away.

The Captain leads the defence in the usual authoritative way and doesn’t let anything pass from the centre. He engages in a lot of aerial duels with Matulevicius and wins most of the times. 

Some troubles in first half with Novikovas as Zenjov is less helpful than Antonov. In the second one, he dares more to attack and produces a few interesting crosses in the box. His game finishes on 85’ minutes when Clos Gomez shows him the red card for a double booking. He will miss England.

Very confident in the defensive part as he manages to wall some Lithuanian attempts (Kalonas on 27’ minutes for instance), he commits some mistakes in the build-up. 

His first foray on 10’ minutes delivers a good cross in the box that the Lithuanian defence manages to sweep away before it’s too late. He is a bit in trouble on 21’ minutes when  Novikovas switches to centre and has an open way to the goal. Luckily for him the Lithuanian winger opts for shooting and his aim is not too good. Pehrsson understands he is in trouble and switches the position as against Slovenia, in fact the Estonian right flank is much more quiet than the left. However, he gets nervous when he loses the ball in counterattack and commits a silly foul earning the first booking of the game. In second half he gets smarter and compels Adriuśkevicius to commit a foul and collect a card, favour exchanged. Generally seems to lack the 90’ minutes form as his type of game requires. The substitution comes past the hour. -
> (64’) OJAMAA 6 He shows better quality on the right flank as tries several times the individual action. In the final part of the game, he tries several things with his friend Anier.

Joel was impalpable during all the first half. Very few balls played and not in a memorable way. Maybe concerned with the artificial pitch (he openly said he didn’t fancy the idea to play on it due to his back injuries suffered in the past) he looks like he is preserving himself. On 36’ minutes he has a great chance to shoot on goal in the box in the developments of a corner kick but a deflection of the Lithuanian defence sends the ball above the crossbar. When Lithuania goes one nil up, he is replaced with maestro Vassiljev -> (78’) VASSILJEV s.v. As soon as he gets on the pitch he gives orders for an immediate recovery considering there is not much left to play. However there's no impact on the game from him. Sharp free-kick on injury time, but Arlauskis is confident in coming out with his fists and sweeping.

VUNK 5,5
Notwithstanding he is in the 4-man line of the midfield designed in the 4-1-4-1, Vunk is the one dropping most of the times on Mets’ line to protect the defence and the left flank, especially when Novikovas is attacking from that side. One shot on goal for him on 59’ minutes, but it’s an easy ball for Arlauskis. Nothing else remarkable in his game finishing on 80’ minutes when he is replaced by Purje as Pehrsson attempts to turn the game on its head with more attacking players -> (80’)  PURJE 7 Positive substitution. His first great chance is on 89’  when he gets rid of the defence and goes to shoot in the box, however the take is wide. In injury time, his shot from inside the box it’s few centimeters above the bar. This time the talisman did not work. The worst thing is that he picked up an injury before the final whistle and might miss the game against England.

The first chance for Estonia is his as he chips a ball over the bar in the developments of a corner kick. He starts on the right and then he is moved on the left as Zenjov could not cope with Novikovas dynamism. On 44’ minutes with a futsal trick he gets rid of two Lithuanian defenders on the edge of the box touchline and serves a good assist in the small box which doesn’t find any Estonian foot to tap in. In second half, as Novikovas disappears from the game, he becomes more bold in the attacking phase going several times in the box. One of the most positive players in a negative evening.

Pehrsson is right in choosing him once and again as Henry is really in form fighting on every ball that comes in 20-30 meters range of the Lithuanian side. He is also quick in starting counters when the chance comes. As usual, he doesn’t spare himself ranging from left to right and return. Unfortunately, he was not well assisted.

The Swede presents the same XI that won against Slovenia exception made for Morozov, injured, replaced by Bärengrub as previewed in our XI prediction, and for Antonov moved now to the right flank to let Zenjov return on his favourite left. He righteously changes his decision on 29’ minutes when he realized that Zenjov is in trouble there and prefers Antonov to stop Lithuania coming from the left flank (Vaitkunas-Novikovas). Estonia start the game very timidly and let the initiative to Lithuania. In second half the build-up was not very successful leaving no remarkable sign on the scorecard when comes to attempt on target. He should have probably changed Zenjov earlier. It si the genera attitude that didn’t convince this time. If letting the initiative to Slovenia was a wise move, giving up to make the game against Lithuania did not pay off. Estonia came to Vilnius at least for the point, he said, but left without any. The effect of the win over Slovenia is made null now and Estonia is already behind Lithuania in the bid for the third place. He should have dared more and transmitted the message to the squad that winning was the only thing that really mattered.

Angelo Palmeri from Vilnius