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Season review: San Marino

Published: Sunday 8 June 2014, 10.34CET
SP La Fiorita secured their first league title in 24 years while AC Libertas lifted the Coppa Titano, in a season that also drew impressive displays from SS Folgore/Falciano and SC Faetano.
by Elia Gorini
Season review: San Marino
La Fiorita secured the league title this term ©Filippo Pruccoli
Published: Sunday 8 June 2014, 10.34CET

Season review: San Marino

SP La Fiorita secured their first league title in 24 years while AC Libertas lifted the Coppa Titano, in a season that also drew impressive displays from SS Folgore/Falciano and SC Faetano.

SP La Fiorita and AC Libertas were the major winners in San Marino this term, with the club from Montegiardino clinching the league for the first time in 24 years and the side from Borgo Maggiore lifting the Coppa Titano. They will compete in Europe next season along with SS Folgore/Falciano, 14 years after they became the first team from the country to compete in a UEFA club competition by taking on FC Basel 1893 in the UEFA Cup.

Champions: SP La Fiorita
After winning the Coppa Titano in 2012 and 2013, La Fiorita clinched the San Marinese title for the third time in their history – and the first since 1989/90 – with a 2-0 final victory against SS Folgore/Falciano. The decider was a tense affair with neither side giving anything away until the 71st minute, when Filippo Pensalfini broke the deadlock after Folgore goalkeeper Luca Lelli had failed to hold onto Tiziano Mottola's free-kick from the left.

Giacomo Gualtieri then sealed the win in added time, dribbling past the goalkeeper and placing the ball in the empty net after a fine counterattack. "It was very hard, but everybody is eager to contribute in this group and you could see that clearly tonight," said victorious coach Alberto Manca, who also won the Duilio Felici fair play award after the game.

Cup final: AC Libertas 2-0 SC Faetano
Libertas defeated SC Faetano 2-0 to lift the oldest trophy in San Marino for the 11th time and first since 2006. After an evenly balanced first half, Ezio Fortunato's Libertas broke the deadlock 18 minutes from time, Mirco Facondini blasting his shot from the edge of the area in off the crossbar. Eleven minutes later, Enrico Golinucci sealed the result with a fine finish after good work from Gian Luca Morelli on the left.

European places*
SP La Fiorita – UEFA Champions League first qualifying round
SS Folgore/Falciano – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
AC Libertas – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Andy Selva (SP La Fiorita)
With five goals in the regular season and two more in the play-offs, San Marino's captain and all-time leading scorer was the inspirational force driving La Fiorita's run to the title. Exuding quality and determination, the 38-year-old was the leader on the pitch, confirming his eye for goals and assists but also helping the team to defend when needed. Selva's experience proved crucial, especially during the most delicate phase of the season, when his side lost to SP Tre Fiori and could afford no more mistakes in the play-offs. His goal against SS Cosmos kick-started La Fiorita's final surge to glory.

One to watch: Enrico Golinucci (AC Libertas)
A versatile midfielder who combines good technique and hard work, Golinucci is widely considered one of the most promising players in San Marino. He crowned his excellent campaign by notching Libertas's second goal in their 2-0 Coppa Titano showpiece triumph against Faetano.

Surprise package: SC Faetano
Despite starting the 2013/2014 campaign as underdogs, Maurizio Gasperoni's Faetano went close to lifting a trophy by reaching the Coppa Titano final. Indeed, the Gialloblù also shone in the league, pipping last season's runners-up Libertas in the tussle for a play-off spot by defeating them in their last outing of the regular season. Faetano continued to surprise in the play-offs, seeing off reigning champions SP Tre Penne before bowing out to Cosmos.

Leading scorer: Giacomo Gualtieri, SP La Fiorita (21)

Number: 3
The number of titles won by La Fiorita following this season's success. During the trophy ceremony, Julian Aliaj – the only player still playing who contested the club's most recent final in 1997 – slipped on a No3 shirt to commemorate his former team-mate Igor Crescentini, who died tragically in 1996.

Quote
"We were already satisfied to have reached the final but we have now completed our masterpiece."
La Fiorita captain Simone Montanari did not hide his joy after his side wrapped up the title.

Last updated: 08/06/14 20.45CET

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