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Season review: Montenegro

Published: Tuesday 11 June 2013, 9.06CET
FK Sutjeska claimed a first title as they proved the surprise package in Montenegro, pipping a FK Budućnost Podgorica side that took consolation with a maiden cup triumph.
by Aleksandar Radovic
from Podgorica
Season review: Montenegro
Sutjeska coach Dragan Radojičić is hoisted aloft after his side claimed the title ©Vijesti
Published: Tuesday 11 June 2013, 9.06CET

Season review: Montenegro

FK Sutjeska claimed a first title as they proved the surprise package in Montenegro, pipping a FK Budućnost Podgorica side that took consolation with a maiden cup triumph.

There were new names on both the league and cup trophies in Montenegro, as FK Sutjeska and FK Budućnost Podgorica lifted silverware. After being troubled by relegation in the previous two season the league champions completed a remarkable turnaround, but came close to blowing a 12-point lead with just seven games to go.

Champions: FK Sutjeska
One of the oldest clubs in the country and, along with Budućnost, one of only two Montenegrin teams to play in the old Yugoslavian top flight, Sutjeska captured the title for the first time. Top of the table from the first round, they started the season with six successive wins and were 12 points clear with seven games to play after a run of nine victories and a draw. However, in the next six weeks Dragan Radojičić's men lost their way, seeing their lead cut to two points with one game to play. Sutjeska held their nerve and beat FK Lovćen in the final match to achieve a historic success.

Cup final: FK Budućnost Podgorica 1-0 FK Čelik Nikšić 
A first triumph for the capital club came after a dramatic final against the holders, the only goal coming in added time when defender Mitar Peković drove in. Budućnost could have had it wrapped up much earlier but Čelik goalkeeper Zoran Banović saved Stefan Mugoša's 13th-minute penalty and then denied Srdjan Radonjić's header. Aleksandar Dubljević was sent off on 66 minutes to leave Čelik up against it, and Budućnost eventually forced home the advantage.

European places*
FK Sutjeska – UEFA Champions league second qualifying round
FK Budućnost Podgorica – UEFA Europa league first qualifying round
FK Čelik Nikšić – UEFA Europa league first qualifying round
FK Grbalj – UEFA Europa league first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Blažo Igumanović (FK Rudar Pljevlja)
Named Montenegrin player of the year at the end of 2012, the versatile left-sided player fully deserved the title. As one of the few regulars in the national team who ply their trade in the domestic league, the 27-year-old defender-cum-midfielder scored six goals and made ten assists, with free-kicks and wicked delivery from wide his trademarks.

One to watch: Aleksandar Boljević (FK Zeta)
Despite a tough season for his club, who ended eighth in the 12-team league, 17-year-old Boljević marked himself out as the brightest of Montenegrin talent. With lightning pace he terrorised defences and ended with five goals in 23 league appearances. A regular member of the national Under-21 side, the forward who made his top-flight debut at 15 earned a deserved call up to the senior squad, and a debut cannot be far away.

Surprise package: FK Sutjeska
A side which just avoided relegation in the previous two seasons somehow claimed the title with virtually the same squad. "The main difference is in the players' minds," said coach Radojičić in December. Top scorer Djordje Strunjaš then returned to Serbian outfit FK Vojvodina following his loan spell, but Radojičić compensated by signing experienced Djordjije Ćetković and moved Darko Karadžić further upfield – the midfielder scored nine of his 12 goals in the second part of the season.

Leading scorer: Admir Adrović, FK Budućnost Podgorica (15)

Relegated: FK Jedinstvo Bijelo Polje

Promoted: FK Dečić Tuzi

Number: 65
The number of points won by champions Sutjeska, the lowest total ever registered by a league winner. Last season Budućnost needed 80 as second placed FK Rudar Pljevlja picked up 77.

"We had a lot of chances to secure the title, but we chose the hard way. That is why this huge and surprising success is even bigger and even sweeter."
Sutjeska coach Radojičić after his team got over the finishing line despite seeing their 12-point lead cut to two with just one game to go.

Last updated: 11/06/13 9.07CET

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