FC Zimbru Chisinau have lifted the Moldovan Cup for the sixth time in their history after seeing off league champions FC Sheriff 3-1.
The showpiece meeting between the two local powerhouses attracted plenty of attention, and there was drama early on when Sheriff lost Luvannor Henrique to a red card for an elbow on 23 minutes. The Tiraspol side began to play more cautiously after that, and they paid the price five minutes into the second half when Dan Spătaru scored after finding himself one on one with the goalkeeper.
Sheriff nonetheless hit back via Marko Stanojević, but the Serbian midfielder scored an own goal soon afterwards to restore Zimbru's lead. Unperturbed, the 2013/14 league winners had chances to level for a second time, yet it was Zimbru who struck next, captain Iulian Erhan unleashing a powerful effort 13 minutes from time to seal their showpiece triumph.
"We went through a tough journey to get this trophy," said Zimbru coach Oleg Kubarev. "We had difficult opponents and we beat the champions in the final. They were a man down, but we still deserve full credit. Today we celebrate!"
As for midfielder Anatol Cheptine, he was enjoying his second successive cup victory after hoisting the trophy aloft with FC Tiraspol last season. "Both wins were well deserved," he said. "It was extremely difficult today. There were a lot of emotions; the tension was immense. Given the context, the match was perfect."
Kirill Pavlyuchek is looking forward to European football, meanwhile: "I want to thank the fans who offered great support. This win gives us extra strength before our start in the UEFA Europa League."
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