FC Steaua București made it three titles in a row as a final-day draw was enough to ensure they finished three points clear of dark horses ASA Târgu Mureş.
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FC Steaua București secured a 26th Romanian title as they ended three points clear of an ASA Târgu Mureş side only promoted last season thanks to a 0-0 draw against CSMS Iaşi coupled with a defeat for the chasers.
It is a third successive triumph for Steaua – the first time that has been achieved since 1997/98 – but things were in the balance as they headed into the final matchday just two points ahead of Târgu Mureş. When the whistle went at the end of the draw in Iaşi there was still time for the second-placed side to clinch the title in added time. However, they conceded late on and lost 2-1 at home to FC Oţelul Galaţi.
It was the end of a dramatic title race. Steaua were 13 points clear going into the winter break but sold three key players in January in the shape of Lucian Sănmărtean, Łukasz Szukała and Claudiu Keșerü. That allowed Târgu Mureş to claw back the deficit and even took over at the top of the table. However, they lost the last two games of the season – and three of the last four – to leave the door ajar and Steaua slipped through.
"I am happy, exhausted, proud – it is hard to describe what is in my soul," said forward Raul Rusescu. Coach Constantin Gâlcă added: "We suffered so much in the last month, but I was aware during the winter that in the second half the lower ranked teams would play better. That is what happened, but ASA's defeats in the last two rounds helped us enormously."
The trophy is Steaua's second of the season after winning the League Cup. They play FC Universitatea Cluj on Sunday in the Romanian Cup final hoping to clinch a domestic treble.