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Season review: San Marino

Published: Thursday 31 May 2012, 19.09CET
SP Tre Penne won their first San Marinese title at the third time of asking, defeating AC Libertas 1-0 in the final, while SP La Fiorita won their second Coppa Titano and first since 1986.
by Elia Gorini
Season review: San Marino
Tre Penne celebrate their first league title ©Filippo Pruccoli
Published: Thursday 31 May 2012, 19.09CET

Season review: San Marino

SP Tre Penne won their first San Marinese title at the third time of asking, defeating AC Libertas 1-0 in the final, while SP La Fiorita won their second Coppa Titano and first since 1986.

SP Tre Penne conquered the San Marinese league for the first time in their history, Stefano Ceci's side beating AC Libertas 1-0 in the final and earning themselves a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds. Alongside the club from the Borgo Maggiore Castle, SP La Fiorita also had reasons to celebrate after winning their second Coppa Titano and first since 1986.

Champions: SP Tre Penne
After losing in the last two finals, Tre Penne finally managed to go all the way courtesy of a late goal by Matteo Valli in the decider against Libertas. The showpiece was a tense, tight affair lacking many clear-cut chances. Libertas had the best opportunities in the first half through Simone Polidori and Gianluca Morelli but Valli decided the contest, controlling a shot by a team-mate inside the penalty box and firing past Aldo Simoncini with his left foot eleven minutes from time.

Cup final: SP La Fiorita 3-2 S.S. Pennarossa
Twenty-six years after their first and only cup success, Nicola Berardi's side defeated S.S. Pennarossa 3-2 in the final of the oldest competition in the country. The side from the Montegiardino Castle took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Gianluca Bollini's header and quickly made it two through Simon Parma. Marco Rosti halved the deficit for Pennarossa but with two minutes left Mario Fucili's precise lob restored the two-goal cushion. Pennarossa scored again deep into added time through Daniele Conti's free-kick but it was too late.

European places:*
SP Tre Penne – UEFA Champions League first qualifying round
AC Libertas – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
SP La Fiorita – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Gianluca Morelli (SP Libertas)
Scorer of nine goals in the league and five in the Coppa Titano, Morelli is considered one of the best players to have joined the league in recent years. The 27-year-old striker confirmed all his qualities during his first season in San Marino after spells in Italy with AC Rimini, Riccione 1929 and Mezzolara Calcio. Not least with his trademark free-kicks, he was instrumental in Libertas' great season.

One to watch: Maximiliano Baizan (Tre Fiori FC)
Born in Argentina but with a Sammarinese passport, the 19-year-old midfielder made a huge impact at Tre Fiori with his technique, personality and knack of scoring important goals – his wonderful free-kick in the semi-final against Tre Penne, for instance. He has already played twice in the Under-19 national side and once in the UEFA Champions League.

Surprise package: SC Faetano
Sereno Uraldi's Faetano surprised many, especially by finishing ahead of teams like Pennarossa and S.S. Murata in the regular season courtesy of a strong finish. They also beat La Fiorita on penalties in the first round of the play-offs before losing against eventual champions Tre Penne, conceding a goal in the last minute of extra time, and then 2-1 against S.S. Cosmos.

Top-scorer: Cristian Ruben Menin, Cosmos (12)

Number: 3
As in third time lucky. Tre Penne finally won their first title in their third consecutive final. They had lost 1-0 against Tre Fiori in 2011 and 2-1 in extra time against the same opponents in 2010.

Quote:
"We reached the final for three consecutive seasons but we won the one we played worst in. We can say our success is the culmination of three years of work and finally our name is in the list of champions."
Tre Penne president Fabrizio Selva on his team's triumph after the play-off final.

Last updated: 31/05/12 19.58CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=smr/news/newsid=1804492.html#season+review+san+marino

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