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Estonia round-up: Record crowd sees Flora crowned champions

Published: Sunday 3 November 2002, 22.54CET
FC Flora claimed their sixth Estonian title after holding FC Levadia Maardu in a tense decider.

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Published: Sunday 3 November 2002, 22.54CET

Estonia round-up: Record crowd sees Flora crowned champions

FC Flora claimed their sixth Estonian title after holding FC Levadia Maardu in a tense decider.

FC Flora claimed their sixth Estonian first division title after holding second-placed FC Levadia Maardu in a tense championship decider watched by a league record 3,200 crowd.

Entertaining game
With Levadia two points behind going into the game against the reigning champions, they needed a home win. However, in an entertaining game with chances at both ends, Flora held on for the point they needed. Indeed, the visitors were on top in the first half, home goalkeeper Artur Kotenko having to be alert on several occasions.

Late saves
However, after the break it was his opposite number Martin Kaalma who had to make crucial saves, making vital stops in the last five minutes from Maksim Rõtskov and Igor Prins to ensure Flora were celebrating on the final whistle, Levadia coach Pasi Rautiainen having been sent off in added time for intervening in an on-pitch stand-off between the visitors' Teet Allas and the home team's Vladimir Tselnokov

'The best way to win'
After the game, Flora's Dutch coach Arno Pijpers said of his second straight title: "It tastes a little bit better than last season, as then we were champions before the last rounds. But to win it like this - in the final match of the season, this really is the best way to win a league title.

'A nightmare for the nerves'
He did admit, though: "It also was a nightmare for the nerves and it was really killing me to wait and hope it all comes to a successful end. But now it is over and we are champions." He also praised Martin Reim and Marko Kristal - who have secured their sixth championships as Flora players since 1994.

Krõlov equals record
Andrei Krõlov equalled Maksim Gruznov 2001 record of 37 goals in the season, as he was on target for third-placed TVMK Tallinn, who won 3-0 at JK Trans Narva, while JK Tulevik Viljandi beat FC Levadia Tallinn 2-0 at home and FC Lootus Kohtla-Järve clinched a 1-0 win over relegated FC Levadia Pärnu with a goal from Sergei Popov. Lootus will now take ont FC Kuressaare in the promotion-relegation play-off.

Last updated: 04/11/02 15.42CET

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