The Estonian men's national team on Thursday put an end to an 83-year drought, winning the Baltic Cup for the first time since 1938. The national team defeated its Latvian counterpart 2:1 in the deciding match.
Estonia dominated the first half in front of 740 fans at the A. Le Coq Arena and took the lead in the fifth minute, when a beautifully set up attack led to Rauno Sappinen's shot being saved by Latvian goalkeeper Roberts Ozols, but the ball ended up on the foot of Mattias Käit, who slotted it into the bottom corner for the lead.
Käit was not finished, however, and after a corner kick was cleared by a Latvian defender, Käit took one touch and then blasted the ball into the top corner, putting Estonia up 2:0. Some minutes later Rauno Sappinen had a chance at 3:0, but hit the crossbar.
Latvia took the momentum in the second half, taking advantage of some Estonian injuries with Märten Kuusk leaving the field in the first half and goal author Mattias Käit in the second. The southern neighbor's pressure eventually led to them being awarded a penalty in the 85th minute, which Davis Ikaunieks realized. Latvia could not score any more and Estonia was awarded the Baltic Cup trophy for the first time since 1938.
"We have waited for a Baltic Cup victory since 1938. Just as I said at the start of the national team camp: we have one aim, that is to win the Baltic Cup and now it happened," Mattias Käit told ERR post-match. "Everyone is proud and happy and feeling great."
Estonia is on something of a hot spell, winning three consecutive games for the first time since 2017. Käit believes the recent results should give the national team more confidence. "Two clean sheets and now 2:1. We can see that the players leave it all out there. It is a proud feeling," the goal-scorer said.
Watch the goals from Estonia's victory here:
Watch Estonia lifting the Baltic Cup trophy here:
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste