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Season review: Moldova

Published: Thursday 3 June 2010, 14.04CET
FC Sheriff dominated yet again in Moldova, winning the title for the tenth season in succession and lifting the cup after defeating FC Dacia Chişinău in the final − their sixth double since the turn of the millennium.
by Victor Daghi
Season review: Moldova
Sheriff celebrate their cup triumph ©Boris Kharchenko
Published: Thursday 3 June 2010, 14.04CET

Season review: Moldova

FC Sheriff dominated yet again in Moldova, winning the title for the tenth season in succession and lifting the cup after defeating FC Dacia Chişinău in the final − their sixth double since the turn of the millennium.

It was familiar tale in Moldova as once again FC Sheriff swept all before them. The Tiraspol club captured their tenth successive Divizia Naţională title before completing the double for the third consecutive season by defeating FC Dacia Chişinău in the cup final. FC Iskra-Stali finished second for the first time, while FC Olimpia Bălţi ended the campaign in third, earning themselves a first appearance in UEFA club competition.

Champions: FC Sheriff
Founded in 1997, Sheriff took only three years to progress from the third division to the top flight. They have been unstoppable ever since and in 2009 were voted the best sports team in Moldova by a poll of sports journalists. Not even a change of coach mid season − Andrei Sosnitski replaced Leonid Kuchuk in January − could disrupt their march to glory. The new incumbent and his squad wrapped up the title with four matches remaining, eventually finishing an impressive 19 points clear of Iskra-Stali.

Cup final: FC Dacia Chişinău 0-2 FC Sheriff
Dacia, who drew 0-0 with Sheriff in early April, were the stronger side in the opening exchanges before their opponents hit their stride and won the cup for the seventh time thanks to two goals from Jymmy França.

European places*
FC Sheriff – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FC Iskra-Stali – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Dacia Chişinău – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FC Olimpia Bălţi– UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Vazha Tarkhnishvili (FC Sheriff)
The experienced Sheriff captain was a solid presence in his team's backline. Aged 38, retirement has not crossed Georgian defender Tarkhnishvili's mind as he seeks to expand the huge haul of silverware he has amassed in his time at the club − ten domestic titles, six cup winners' medals, four Moldovan Super Cups and two victories in the Commonwealth Cup, the competition for champions of the former Soviet republics.

One to watch: Serghei Gheorghiev (FC Sheriff)
The 2009/10 campaign was an impressive breakthrough season for the midfielder. He may be just 18 but that did not discourage either Kuchuk or Sosnitski from handing him a regular place in the starting XI. His performances earned him a place in Moldova's Under-21 squad.

Surprise package: FC Olimpia Bălţi
Olimpia were not on the radar at the beginning of the campaign but a strong season resulted in a deserved third-place finish, their best since 1995.

Leading scorer: Jymmy França, FC Sheriff, Aleksandr Maximov, FC Viitorul Orhei (13)

Number: 735
Goals Sheriff have scored in 12 seasons in the top flight. In that time they have won 264 matches, drawn 61 and lost just 30.

Relegated: none - league expanded from 12 to 14 clubs for 2009/10

Promoted: FC Costuleni, CF Gagauziya

Quote
"It's always nice to win, be it the first, tenth or 20th title. You never get fed up with titles."
Sheriff captain Tarkhnishvili

Last updated: 07/07/10 11.38CET

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