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Season review: Moldova

Published: Saturday 14 June 2014, 9.21CET
FC Sheriff were too strong for the rest yet again in the Moldovan First Division, but the Tiraspol outfit were denied the domestic double by capital side FC Zimbru Chisinau.
by Evgheni Balanciuc
from Tiraspol
Season review: Moldova
Sheriff celebrate a goal against Tromsø in the UEFA Europa League group stage ©Sergey Sokolov
Published: Saturday 14 June 2014, 9.21CET

Season review: Moldova

FC Sheriff were too strong for the rest yet again in the Moldovan First Division, but the Tiraspol outfit were denied the domestic double by capital side FC Zimbru Chisinau.

FC Sheriff underlined their status as Moldova's pre-eminent club by winning yet another Divizia Naţională title. The Wasps sealed their 13th championship in 14 seasons but were denied the domestic double, losing 3-1 in the cup final to FC Zimbru Chisinau, who celebrated their first trophy since 2007.

Champions: FC Sheriff
The 15 points by which Sheriff topped the First Division table says everything about their campaign. Veaceslav Rusnac's men won 28 of their 33 games, scored 98 goals and conceded only 16. The Tiraspol outfit also performed admirably in continental competition, making it to the UEFA Europa League group stage for the third time. "It gets harder and harder every year," said Sheriff captain Miral Samardžić. "Many sides have strengthened and the tussle in the top half of the table became much more exciting. But we always set the highest goals for ourselves and try hard to reach them."

©Vadim Caftanat

Zimbru celebrate their cup success

Cup final: FC Zimbru 3-1 FC Sheriff
Luvannor Henrique's 23rd-minute dismissal changed the complexion of the decider in Chisinau. Backed in numbers from the stands, local side Zimbru went ahead through Dan Spataru. Marko Stanojević replied for Sheriff, but an own goal from the Serbian midfielder and Iulian Erhan's strike secured Zimbru their sixth Moldovan Cup – the eight-time champions' first trophy since 2007. "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!"

European places*
FC Sheriff – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FC Tiraspol – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FC Veris – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
FC Zimbru Chisinau – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

©Sergey Sokolov

Star striker Luvannor Henrique

Player of the year: Luvannor Henrique (FC Sheriff)
The Brazilian-born Moldova forward comfortably finished as the top flight's 26-goal leading scorer, his haul nine better than that of FC Veris's Viorel Frunza. More impressively, he achieved the feat in 27 appearances, 25 of which were starts. The 24-year-old, who made his international debut in November, is comfortable with both feet and strong in the air.

Surprise package: FC Veris
The Singerei club also received this accolade in the 2012/13 season review for being the first team from Moldova's second division to contest the cup final. This term they celebrated their maiden campaign among the country's elite with a third-place finish and a berth in 2014/15 UEFA Europa League qualifying.

Leading scorer: Luvannor Henrique, FC Sheriff (26)

Relegated: FC Rapid Ghidighici, FC Speranta

Promoted: FC Saxan, FC Victoria Bardar*

*subject to final confirmation from the Football Association of Moldova (FMF)

Number: 8,500
The attendance for the cup final in Chisinau, the biggest crowd of the season.

Quote
"I changed my opinion of football in Moldova for the better. There are strong sides in the upper half of the table with their own style and good players."
Belarusian coach Oleg Kubarev has been won over since taking the Zimbru job in September 2013

Last updated: 14/06/14 8.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=mda/news/newsid=2113683.html#season+review+moldova

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