"We deserved this title," said FC Levadia Tallinn coach Marko Kristal after his team defeated JK Trans Narva 8-1 to retain the Estonian championship on the final day.
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FC Levadia Tallinn defeated JK Trans Narva 8-1 to clinch a ninth Estonian title on the final day.
Levadia started the day two points ahead of city rivals FC Flora Tallinn and soon made clear their intention of retaining the championship with three unanswered first-half goals, with five more following as Trans Narva ended with ten men. Four strikes came from Igor Subbotin, who finished as the second best scorer with 32 goals to his name.
"We felt some pressure before this match, but I believe in my boys," said Levadia coach Marko Kristal, who won seven titles as a Flora player in addition to two in a row in his current role. "If we look at the final score, we can say everything ran smoothly.
"We prepared thoroughly ahead of this game and knew what was at stake today. The season was not easy as many players left the team. We also had some downs, but today I have to thank my lads. We deserved this title and I am very happy with that."
Goalkeeper Roman Smishko, who kept his goal intact for 1,282 consecutive minutes during the season, added: "After a difficult start of the season we managed to raise our game. We became stronger both physically and mentally. I am satisfied with this season while the result is perfect.
"The Estonian league becomes more competitive from year to year. Now any team can take points from the leaders. That is good for Estonian football and the Estonian national team."
Indeed, Levadia supply seven players to the Estonia squad that now assemble for a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier with San Marino and a friendly versus Norway, among them Dmitri Kruglov. "
We were the better side throughout the whole season and, even if there was tension at the end, everything was in our hands," he said. "I guess we will have no time to celebrate as many of us will join the national team."
In the end, Levadia need not have won as Flora suffered a 3-2 defeat at JK Sillamäe Kalev, who snatched second place, though both will enter the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League. Among Sillamäe’s scorers was Evgeni Kabaev, who ended four clear of Subbotin on 36 goals.
"We managed to convert virtually all of our opportunities into goals," said Sillamäe’s Andrei Sidorenkov. "Of course everybody is happy now and we will have a big party now!"
JK Tallinna Kalev were relegated long before the end of the season, while second from bottom Jõhvi FC Lokomotiv will face JK Tulevik Viljandi in a promotion-relegation play-off.