As the Lithuanian national football team prepares for another UEFA European qualifying campaign, it is fitting we look back on their success against Romania on this day in 2008.
© V.Januškos/ nuotr.

Lithuania would commence its 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign against the football mad nation and, as the Baltic nation was ranked 54th in the world, they would travel to the city Cluj-Napoca as underdogs.

The Balkan nation meanwhile had just slipped out of the top ten (ranked 11th) and would aim for an eighth World Cup appearance therefore many Lithuanian fans would have settled for a draw.

Lithuania’s captain (and all time leader goal-scorer) Tomas Danilevičius was targeted throughout his nation’s attack at the Dr. Constantin Rădulescu Stadium, forcing his deputy Marius Stankevičius to launch a wonder strike from the 25 meters out.

Scores read 1:0 at the 31st minute thanks the 27-year-old Italian league star.

Audrius Kšanavičius departed the field an hour into the game making way for Mindaugas Kalonas, a crucial selection by Lithuania’s management.

Moments later, Kalonas would dribble the ball through multiple opponents to set up his teammate Saulius Mikoliūnas for a goal.

It would be Mikoliūnas’ first International goal outside of Lithuania, a milestone for the Hearts (Scottish Premier League) midfielder at the time.

Scores read 2:0 at the 69th minute, silencing the 14,000 Romanian fans on hand.

Mikoliūnas, 24, received a hero’s applause when departing the ground at the 84th minute for Ričardas Beniušis; the contingent of Lithuanian fans would continue to chant their nation’s name for the remainder of the match.

However this would not distract Kalonas as the Latvian league star dribbled through another passage before kicking his first International goal!

Fellow forward Deividas Česnauskis would cling onto his teammate in celebration before the final whistle sounded moments later.

The final score justified Lithuania’s 3:0 triumph in the end, ending a night football fans would never forget.

The score line placed the Baltic nation on top of their qualifying group after Serbia defeated the Faroe Islands 2:0 and Austria accounted for France 2:1.

As Lithuania now prepares to commence another qualifying campaign this week, travelling to San Marino for its opening match, fans must look back on this day in sport to retain their optimism.

Last week Lithuania drew level with UAE 1:1 thanks to an impressive header by Deivydas Matulevičius.

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