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Season review: Georgia

Published: Wednesday 2 June 2010, 13.45CET
Fuelled by the arrival of half a team of Brazilian loanees, FC Olimpi Rustavi claimed a second Umaglesi Liga title in four years as deposed champions FC WIT Georgia settled for cup glory.
by Vakhtang Bzikadze
from Tbilisi
Season review: Georgia
Coach Temur Makharadze leads Olimpi celebrations ©UEFA.com
Published: Wednesday 2 June 2010, 13.45CET

Season review: Georgia

Fuelled by the arrival of half a team of Brazilian loanees, FC Olimpi Rustavi claimed a second Umaglesi Liga title in four years as deposed champions FC WIT Georgia settled for cup glory.

Fuelled by the arrival of half a team of Brazilian loanees, FC Olimpi Rustavi sauntered to their second Umaglesi Liga title in four years ahead of surprise-packages FC Dinamo Tbilisi. Deposed champions FC WIT Georgia had to settle for fourth, though disappointed was sated by a maiden cup triumph and the emergence of Irakili Klimiashvili.

Champions: FC Olimpi Rustavi
So lacklustre for the past two seasons, Olimpi were irresistible this term as a run of 24 games unbeaten set them on course for their second Georgian title. They crossed the finishing line with three games to spare, some feat for a side that changed their coach in October – Otar Korgalidze making way for Temur Makharadze – and used an incredible 39 players during the campaign.

Cup final: FC WIT Georgia 1-0 FC Dinamo Tbilisi
The first all-Tbilisi showpiece in the competition's 20-year history was a nervy affair ultimately decided by a moment of inspiration. In a flowing move at odds with the rest of a fractious match, Giorgi Vasadze's deft back-heel fed Jaba Lipartia whose pinpoint cross was headed in at the near post by Pavle Datunaishvili before the break.

European places
FC Olimpi Rustavi – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FC WIT Georgia – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Dinamo Tbilisi – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FC Zestafoni – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Anderson Aquino (FC Olimpi Rustavi)
Much of Olimpi's success was founded on six players on loan from CA Paranaense, and none shone brighter than Anderson Aquino. An irresistible presence in attack, a tally of 26 goals in 31 fixtures meant he became the first foreign player to top the Premier League scoring charts.

One to watch: Irakili Klimiashvili (FC WIT Georgia)
There was no shortage of contenders for this category and Giorgi Chedia (Olimpi), Chisamba Lungu (FC Baia Zugdidi), Tornike Okriashvili (FC Gagra) and Robertinho (Dinamo Tbilisi) all deserve honourable mentions. Yet the 21-year-old Klimiashvili edges it. A natural leader at WIT, the attacking midfielder-cum-striker has also been central to Georgia Under-21s' recent successes.

Surprise package: FC Dinamo Tbilisi
Surprise pacesetters in the autumn, a spate of injuries saw Dinamo Tbilisi slump badly before the winter break. With their forwards struggling to make an impression the freefall looked set to continue but their defenders came to the rescue at both ends, contributing 40% of the club's league goals. Eleven points adrift of the summit at the halfway point, Dinamo finished just five behind Olimpi in second.

Leading scorer: Anderson Aquino, FC Olimpi Rustavi (26)

Relegated: FC Gagra, FC Lokomotiv Tbilisi

Promoted: FC Torpedo 2008 Kutaisi, FC Kolkheti Poti

Number: 422
National favourite Zurab Ionanidze hung up his boots at the end of the season, after being limited to just one league appearance for FC Zestafoni. It took the 38-year-old to 422 in all, however, in a career that brought a national record 216 league goals.

Quote
"At previous clubs I have been constantly fire-fighting but here I joined a team whose ambitions matched their means. I would like to thank my predecessor Otar Korgalidze: I did not need to make many changes."
Olimpi coach Temur Makharadze, after claiming the title.

Last updated: 28/01/12 7.25CET

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