Monday 8th September 2014
European Championships Qualifying Group E
Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino
San Marino 0-2 Lithuania
San Marino’s Euro 2016 campaign got under way last week in Serravalle with a promising if ultimately futile performance from the boys in blue.
Two first half goals were sufficient to take the points for the Baltic nation, but the narrowness of the scoreline come full time with provide some small crumbs of comfort for San Marino. It was a bad start however, as Lithuania took the lead after just four minutes when Mindaugas Kalonas was put clear on the right hand side and crossed for Deivydas Matulevicius to prod home into an unguarded net.
Even at that early stage it had been coming, with Lithuania forcing Aldo Simoncini into a save in the opening minute. Simoncini was kept busy throughout the first half as Lithuania forced the pace and looked to be destined for a big score. They did make it 2-0 before half time eventually when a fine run from Arvydas Novikovas exposed a weak left side of San Marino’s defence.
He turned and shot, his effort saved by Simoncini, but the rebound went straight to Georgas Freidgeimas whose back flick found Novikovas again. This time his curling left foot shot found the far corner past a despairing Simoncini.
The second half saw things become a little more comfortable for the Sammarinese, with Lithuania unable to force Simoncini into having to make any more saves. Yes, the game was gone, but that made for an encouraging half for San Marino.
And it cold have been even better had Mattia Stefanelli hit the target with his last minute effort, but it wasn’t to be. So a 2-0 defeat looks ok on paper but could easily have been worse but for Simoncini’s efforts. Things will only get tougher from here though as the group unfolds. Sadly for San Marino, Lithuania at home was about as easy as this group is going to get.
San Marino are next in action away to England in October with San Marino now having gone 12 European quzlifying matches without scoring a goal. It’s going to be tough.