FK Skendija 79 have been crowned champions of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for the first time, becoming the only club to do so at the first attempt following promotion from the second tier.
Skendija won their maiden championship after a 2-1 win against FK Rabotnicki, which came courtesy of goals by Ferhan Hasani and Nebi Mustafi. Filip Petkovski's 72nd-minute strike kept the hosts on tenterhooks until the final whistle, but Qatip Osmani's charges held on for the victory that gives them an unassailable 11-point lead over FK Metalurg Skopje.
The Tetovo outfit have topped the division since 5 December, when they defeated champions FK Renova 4-1. "Its a wonderful feeling, I am over the moon; at this moment I can't describe my joy," Skendija coach Osmani told UEFA.com. "This is our first title, which has come after many years of hard work. I must congratulate everybody, especially my players, as well as all the staff and, of course, our devoted fans who supported us throughout the season.
"At the beginning of the season it was a bit too optimistic to even think about winning the title, but as each week went by it became more obvious to us that we can play consistently well, so I believe that we fully deserve this achievement. In the past few months I have constantly been telling my players not to talk about the title until they had actually won it. After today's victory, the first thing I told them to do was start celebrating."
Skendija have become the third successive club to win a maiden top-flight championship after FK Makedonija GP in 2009 and Renova. With a first appearance in the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League now confirmed, Osmani vowed that there would be more celebrations for supporters to look forward to. "I am confident that we won't disappoint our fans," added the former Skendija striker. "Au contraire, I can promise them that many more moments of joy will come."
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