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Budućnost title credentials under threat

FK Budućnost Podgorica coach Mihailo Ivanović remains convinced his side "will be champions" despite resuming action after the winter break with a 2-0 defeat by struggling FK Mornar Bar.

Mornar Bar players celebrate during their 2-0 win against Budućnost
Mornar Bar players celebrate during their 2-0 win against Budućnost ©Vijesti

The race for the Montenegrin First League title has been a two-horse race for some time, and while FK Budućnost Podgorica coach Mihailo Ivanović is convinced his side "will be champions", FK Rudar Pljevlja counterpart Nebojša Vignjević is equally sure of his side's "title potential". Something has to give.

Budućnost entered the first round of fixtures since the winter break in pole position, ahead on goal difference, but are now three points adrift after FK Rudar pounced with a 1-0 win against OFK Grbalj. Marko Knežević's own goal proved sufficient for the new leaders to emerge, leaving Ivanović to rue his team's 2-0 defeat by struggling FK Mornar Bar.

"I don't need excuses," he said. "Budućnost are the biggest Montenegrin club and it is absolutely unacceptable to lose in such a way. Of course, the coach is responsible but for now some players will face the consequences. When the time comes, the club directors will decide if I did my job properly."

Vignjević, however, was buoyed by the portents of such a scrappy triumph. "It is much better to win 1-0 by accident than to lose 2-0, like Budućnost," he said after seeing his side record their ninth win in ten league games. "This kind of victory is always good for the team. We get three points and also realise we must fight very hard every match. Next time we will not be so lucky. I'm sure my players will learn a lesson. We still have to play 15 matches, but we have shown title potential and know how to convert it to final success."

Such confidence is misplaced according to Ivanović: "We played awfully against Mornar, but I am sure we will be champions. Our midfielders – Ivan Delić, Dragan Bošković and Petar Vukčević were out of the game and that was not the first time. From the beginning of the season we have had problems in midfield. Until now, we won a lot of games by individual quality, but teams win trophies, not players."