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Season review: Serbia

Published: Friday 3 July 2009, 15.30CET
A second successive domestic double – their 21st league title and an eleventh cup – represented a great season for FK Partizan, with arch-rivals FK Crvena Zvezda finishing third.
by Aleksandar Bošković
from Belgrade
Season review: Serbia
The 2008/09 domestic season was a complete success for Slaviša Jokanović's Partizan ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 3 July 2009, 15.30CET

Season review: Serbia

A second successive domestic double – their 21st league title and an eleventh cup – represented a great season for FK Partizan, with arch-rivals FK Crvena Zvezda finishing third.

A second successive domestic double – comprising their 21st league title and an eleventh cup – represented a great season for FK Partizan as arch-rivals FK Crvena Zvezda finished third. With the league being expanded from 12 teams to 16 next season, FK Banat Zrenjanin were the only team relegated, with FK Smederevo, FK Spartak Zlatibor Voda being promoted along with newcomers BSK Borča, FK Mladi Radnik and FK Metalac.

Champions: FK Partizan
Slaviša Jokanović's side did not falter, powering to the title with five rounds remaining, and finishing 19 points clear of runners-up FK Vojvodina plus a further two points ahead of Crvena Zvezda. The most prolific scorers in the league, with 63 goals, they also won more games (25), lost fewer (3) and conceded fewer goals (15) than any of their rivals. Jokanović said: "We deserve all the praise we are getting." Few in Serbia would disagree.

Cup final: FK Partizan 3–0 FK Sevojno
For the second season in succession, the Serbian Cup showpiece paired Partizan with second division opponents, and – just as they did against FK Zemun last season – Partizan did not disappoint against Sevojno, with goals from Nenad Djordjević, Ivan Stevanović and Radosav Petrović eventually breaking down the final debutants."Matches like this one can be most dangerous," said Jokanović. "Winning demonstrated all of our qualities."

European places
Partizan – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Vojvodina – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Sevojno – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Crvena Zvezda – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

Player of the Year: Almami Moreira (FK Partizan)
This 31-year-old Guinea-Bissau midfielder was the undoubted star of Partizan's show. An old-fashioned playmaker, his nine goals made 'Dr Mo' the club's second most prolific scorer, but his creativity was to lead to many more strikes. Partizan pulled off a significant coup at the end of the season by persuading Moreira to commit to the club until 2012.

One to watch: Darko Lazović (FK Borac)
Just 19, the Borac winger demonstrated his burgeoning talent with a raft of fine performances, scoring against both Partizan and Crvena Zvezda in the process. Already capped at Under-19 and U21 level, he made his senior international debut in December 2008 in a friendly against Poland. Quick, nimble and creative, Crvena Zvezda pounced to sign him as soon as the transfer window opened on a four-year contract.

Surprise package: FK Javor Ivanjica
Radovan Ćurčić was named as the best Serbian coach of the season for his superb work in leading Javor to a fourth-placed finish. They drew away against Partizan, beat Crvena Zvezda twice, and enjoyed plenty of other historic moments: midfielder Miljan Mutavdžić and right-back Miroslav Vulićević both made their international debuts before the former became the first player the club sold to a foreign team, joining Sweden's Malmö FF.

Leading scorer: Lamine Diarra, FK Partizan (19)

Number: 918
The new record for consecutive minutes unbeaten in the Serbian league set by Partizan goalkeeper Mladen Božović.

Quote
"I'm ashamed. This is the worst defeat in Crvena Zvezda's history. Unfortunately, everybody is going to remember this team for this defeat."
Crvena Zvezda coach Čedomir Janevski reflects on his side's 2-1 cup semi-final defeat by Sevojno.

Last updated: 03/07/09 12.08CET

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