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Season review: Serbia

Published: Thursday 6 June 2013, 9.43CET
FK Partizan were again the team to beat in 2012/13 as they tied up a record sixth straight title, but there was a new name on the Serbian Cup as FK Jagodina triumphed for the first time.
by Aleksandar Bosković
from Serbia
Season review: Serbia
Saša Ilić enjoyed another outstanding season ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 6 June 2013, 9.43CET

Season review: Serbia

FK Partizan were again the team to beat in 2012/13 as they tied up a record sixth straight title, but there was a new name on the Serbian Cup as FK Jagodina triumphed for the first time.

FK Partizan completed an unprecedented run of six consecutive league title successes, equalling great rivals FK Crvena zvezda's haul of 25, Yugoslavia included. The Serbian Cup yielded a less predictable outcome with FK Jagodina coming out on top for the first time in their history.

Champions: FK Partizan
Belgrade's Crno-Beli (Black and Whites) may have ended up 11 points clear of second-placed Crvena zvezda, but they were tracked all the way in a gripping duel. The holders held sway for long periods of the season, though their lead had been trimmed to just two points by the time they met Crvena zvezda with four to play. Miloš Jojić's 90th-minute strike settled matters and effectively ended the title race. There was still time for Vuk Rašović to replace Vladimir Vermezović as coach, but they finished with a flourish.

Cup final: FK Jagodina 1-0 FK Vojvodina
Winger Milan Djurić scored the only goal in Belgrade, a 16th-minute penalty giving Jagodina the honours on their maiden cup final appearance. Conversely, defeat left Vojvodina, the 1969 and 1989 Yugoslav champions, without a cup success in six attempts, including three of the last four finals. The decisive moment came after Miloš Stojanović's shot struck the hand of Vojvodina defender Djordje Jokić, enabling Djurić to tuck away the resulting spot kick.

European places*
FK Partizan – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FK Crvena zvezda – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Jagodina – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Vojvodina – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

©FK Partizan

Player of the Year: Saša Ilić (FK Partizan)
The 35-year-old stalwart has made 626 appearances over two spells with the capital club, placing him second on the all-time list. Harnessing that know-how, Ilić rolled back the years to collect his eighth championship medal. It was just reward for another stirring season, in which he combined short, sharp passing with visionary through balls at the heart of Partizan's midfield.

One to watch: Aleksandar Mitrović (FK Partizan)
After years of Partizan yearning for a traditional No9, Mitrović stepped up to the mark. Immensely strong, good in the air and potent with both feet, the 18-year-old exhibits all the qualities of a complete centre-forward. With ten goals in 23 games, Mitrović caught the eye of Serbia boss Siniša Mihajlović and was called up in June.

Surprise package: FK Jagodina
Simo Krunić's team have come a long way since gaining promotion in 2008. After sealing fourth place and a UEFA Europa League berth last term, Jagodina not only repeated that feat but went one better by securing a maiden piece of silverware for their trophy cabinet. Krunić masterminded the success, producing a strong side with plenty of potential to compete for years to come.

Leading scorer: Miloš Stojanović, FK Jagodina (19)

Relegated: FK BSK Borča, FK Smederevo

Promoted: FK Napredak, FK Čukarički

Number: 364
Smederevo endured 364 days without a home win until they overcame FK BSK Borča 2-0 on 27 April.

"We played a 3-6-1 formation, which nobody uses in Serbia. It took our opponents by surprise." 
FK Sloboda Užice coach Ljubiša Stamenković reveals the key to beating Crvena zvezda after a 2-1 success in Belgrade.

Last updated: 06/06/13 9.44CET

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