Latvia 3 Kazakhstan 1
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Aleksandr Starkovs has taken the Baltic nation to Cyprus to participate in an eight-team tournament, where Latvia will face three matches.
Their opening fixture of the friendly competition proved a positive experience as Jurijs Laizans' impressive brace settled the match.
Kazakhstan took a surprise lead in the first half when Yuriy Axenov netted in Larnaca but Southampton striker Marian Pahars levelled the match on 40 minutes.
On the stroke of half time, Laizans put Latvia in the lead with a searing drive and he wrapped up the win with his second goal, courtesy of a free kick, midway through the second half.
Latvia play again on Thursday against Hungary, who beat Armenia, but Starkovs will have to field a below-strength team for that match.
Hungary clinched their win over Armenia thanks to goals from Bundesliga-based duo Imre Szabics and Krisztian Lisztes in the second half.
Pahars, along with Maris Verpakovskis, Aleksandrs Kolinko and Vitalis Astafjevs, is returning to his club which will also mean the quartet missing the final match of the tournament.
Romania also started the tournament in a commanding manner as they crushed Georgia 3-0, largely thanks to an Adrian Mutu double.
The Chelsea hit-man broke the deadlock just before the half hour and notched again in the second half. Florin Cernat rounded off the scoring four minutes from time.
Competition hosts Cyprus suffered defeat as they were beaten by a second half brace from Maksim Romaschenko for Belarus, who will next face Romania.