Liechtenstein stun Lithuania for rare victory

Liechtenstein 2-0 Lithuania Goals from Philippe Erne and Michele Polverino ensured the hosts opened their Group I account with their first competitive win since October 2007.

Philippe Erne (left) is congratulated after opening the scoring for Liechtenstein
Philippe Erne (left) is congratulated after opening the scoring for Liechtenstein ©Getty Images

A stunning goal from Philipe Erne set qualifying Group I minnows Liechtenstein on their way to a first competitive victory in over three and a half years.

Erne's seventh-minute strike was added to half an hour later by Michele Polverino, who clinically dispatched Franz Burgmeier's cross past Ernestas Šetkus. Though Hans-Peter Zaugg's men remain bottom of the section − they are a point behind Lithuania − that will do little to dampen their enthusiasm at gaining their first win in a qualifying competition since defeating Iceland 3-0 in October 2007.

In the absence of Žydrūnas Karčemarskas, Šetkus was making his first appearance of the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign and was powerless to keep out Erne's early effort. Lithuania responded with Darvydas Šernas hitting the outside of a post from the edge of the box, before Edgaras Česnauskis broke through but failed to locate Šernas with the goal unguarded.

The hosts, for whom this was only their fourth win in EURO qualifying history, absorbed the pressure and then produced a sucker punch. Burgmeier stole the ball on the left and his cross eventually set up Polverino, who finished with aplomb. Three minutes before the break, Šernas again came close, but his clever flick went wide.

Undeterred, the visitors started the second period with renewed vigour, Česnauskis having a shot parried by Benjamin Büchel and Tadas Kijanskas heading wide from close range. At the other end, Thomas Beck did likewise when unmarked, but it became clear it was not going to be Lithuania's night when, with 15 minutes remaining, the luckless Šernas struck the woodwork with a free-kick. Lithuania will hope their luck changes when the teams meet in the reverse fixture on 2 September.