SP Tre Penne were crowned San Marinese champions for the second consecutive season after defeating ten-man AC Libertas 5-3 on penalties in a repeat of last year's play-off final.
Runners-up in 2010 and 2011, Tre Penne won their first title 12 months ago, beating Libertas 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle. This term's denouement at the same venue was even tighter, however, with the inspired form of both goalkeepers ensuring 120 minutes' action failed to produce a breakthrough.
Libertas – unbeaten in the league since a 1-0 loss to SP La Fiorita on 6 October – survived the 73rd-minute dismissal of captain Davide Simoncini, but their luck deserted them in the shoot-out. Daniele Rocchi was the only player not to score, his effort saved by Federico Valentini, leaving Daniele Pignieri to convert the decisive kick.
But for Valentini, Libertas would have been ahead before the break. The keeper first made a superb stop from Marco Fantini's volley and, on the cusp of half-time, repelled a Gianluca Morelli shot. Libertas continued to dominate after the restart, hitting a post through Fantini and, direct from a corner, Morelli.
The pattern of play changed, however, with the red card, yet that merely brought the best out of Aldo Simoncini. The Libertas custodian kept out a Vladimir Mikhaglovsmiy header, thwarted Pignieri in stunning fashion from close range and, in the 120th minute, denied Enrico Cibelli.
It was opposite number Valentini who stood tall in the shoot-out, though. "I asked my players to give me a gift and they did," said victorious coach Morris Tamburini. "I was sure we would play well today and give everything from the first minute to the last. Their red card changed the game, but we don't have to think about that now – it's time to celebrate."
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