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Season review: Montenegro

Published: Wednesday 3 June 2009, 16.08CET
Cup winners last season and now league champions for the first time, FK Mogren are the most successful side in the three-season history of football in the independent Montenegro, with FK Budućnost Podgorica missing out.
by Aleksandar Radović
from Podgorica
Season review: Montenegro
Mogren celebrate winning the Montenegrin title ©Vijesti
Published: Wednesday 3 June 2009, 16.08CET

Season review: Montenegro

Cup winners last season and now league champions for the first time, FK Mogren are the most successful side in the three-season history of football in the independent Montenegro, with FK Budućnost Podgorica missing out.

Cup winners last season and now league champions for the first time, FK Mogren are the most successful side in the three-season history of football in the independent Montenegro, with FK Budućnost Podgorica missing out this time. FK Jedinstvo Bijelo Polje have been relegated while FK Dečić and FK Jezero – who finished second and third from bottom – take on FK Mladost Podgorica and FK Mornar Bar in relegation play-offs.

Champions: FK Mogren
The 'Yellow Submarine' from Budva, the most attractive holiday resort in Montenegro, eventually denied Budućnost but the lead was a slender one until Dejan Vukičević's side accelerated into the final straight with a run of seven wins and one draw, while the capital side dropped points at home against FK Sutjeska and FK Rudar Pljevlja. The coach said: "I want to congratulate our rivals Budućnost who played brilliantly in the second part of the season and made us play even better."

Cup final: FK Petrovac 1-0 FK Lovćen (aet)
With both sides finishing in mid-table, the cup final provided a massive European boost to Petrovac, who won the game with just two minutes of extra time remaining with a somewhat fortuitous long-range strike from substitute Luka Rotković. Petrovac coach Aleksandar Miljenović admitted that "not in our wildest dreams did we think at the beginning of the season that we'd come so far".

European places
Mogren - UEFA Champions League first qualifying round
Petrovac - UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Budućnost - UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Sutjeska - UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the Year: Fatos Bećiraj (FK Budućnost Podgorica)
Signed in January 2008 after a one-week trial, little was expected of Bećiraj, who had previously been playing in Kosovo with KS Besa. However, he signalled his arrival with eleven goals last spring, and – despite missing much of the winter preparation period through injury – scored 18 more in 2008/09 to become the biggest star of the Montenegrin league, and a senior Montenegrin international too.

One to watch: Admir Adrović (FK Sutjeska)
Niksic-based Sutjeska boasted the youngest squad in Montenegro, with Adrović the brightest star in their ranks. The 16-goal centre forward demonstrated strength and natural pace in dazzling local defences, and spread the terror further afield as he partnered Bećiraj in Montenegro's Under-21 side.

Surprise package: FK Sutjeska
This time last year, Sutjeska were preparing for a relegation play-off; now they are gearing up for UEFA Europa League qualifying. Experienced coach Nikola Rakojević revived their team spirit and gave his young players a competitive edge, sending them on a 17-game unbeaten run from a 29 November win against FK Zeta until the end of the season. They finished third.

Leading scorer: Fatos Bećiraj, FK Budućnost Podgorica (18)

Number: 3
The number of Montenegrin trophies won by coach Dejan Vukičević, who led Zeta to the first title in 2006/07 and then won the cup and league with Mogren in the next two season.

Quote
"I don't believe in miracles. I believe in myself, my players, God and justice. And if there is a justice in sport, we will be a champions."
Miodrag Ješić, Budućnost coach, makes a forlorn plea to the heavens as his side bid to take the title from Mogren on the last day of the season.

Last updated: 03/06/09 10.39CET

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=mne/news/newsid=835643.html#season+review+montenegro

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