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Jubilant HJK reclaim Finnish crown

HJK Helsinski reclaimed their Finnish title without kicking a ball after FC Honka Espoo lost to FC Lahti, ensuring Antti Muurinen's side cannot be caught with two games to go.

HJK have been crowned champions for the second year in a row
HJK have been crowned champions for the second year in a row ©Jussi Eskola

HJK Helsinki reclaimed their Finnish First Division title on Monday evening without kicking a ball after their only remaining challengers FC Honka Espoo were defeated 2-1 at home by FC Lahti.

That result left Honka nine points off the pace in fourth with only two games to play. FC TPS Turku, in second, and KuPS Kuopio, in third, are both seven points behind and can no longer catch HJK, who won 2-1 at JJK Jyväskylä on Saturday but had to wait until tonight to begin their celebrations.

"It makes no difference, a championship is always a championship," coach Antti Muurinen said. "In any league there is a long season and it requires good results throughout the season to be number one."

HJK are the most successful club in Finnish history and have now won a record 23 league titles, 14 more than their nearest rivals FC Haka and HPS Helsinki who have nine apiece. HJK won their first title 99 years ago in 1911.