Ljubljana clinch national football title after 20-year drought
A 1:0 win in the stoppage time in Velenje preserved a three-point lead for the Ljubljana team ahead of Maribor, which already gives them the title due to a better head-to-head record with the eternal rivals.
Maribor had won the last five titles and a total of 13 in independent Slovenia after replacing Olimpija as the dominant team in the mid 90s. Olimpija won in the first four seasons.
The comeback for the team from the capital comes after a total financial collapse in 2004, when it was relegated from the premier league and had to be rebuilt from scratch.
This year was turbulent for Olimpija as well, as its head coach Marijan Pušnik was forced to leave for unclear reasons in the middle of the season despite the team's top position in the league rankings.
What is more, Pušnik's replacement Marko Nikolić was suspended by the league for the rest of the season with seven games to go due a racism scandal.
Olimpija's president Milan Mandarić told public broadcaster POP TV after the game that the title was the reward for the hard work this year by everyone, including the fans, around 1,000 of which made a trip to Velenje today.
"This is their title, they deserved this," he said, inviting everyone to the championship party that will probably be held at Ljubljana's Stožice arena next Saturday.
Olimpija will now turn to European competitions and will look to secure a berth in the UEFA Champions League or in the second-tier Europa League.
List of Slovenian football champions:
2009/10 Luka Koper