The Slovenia Times

Olimpija clinches seventh championship title

Olimpija logo. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Olimpija of Ljubljana have won the national football championship five rounds before the end of the season after defeating arch-rival Maribor 2:0 on 17 April.

"Proud is probably the word for this group of players. I could not have asked for more before the season," coach Albert Riera said.

"This was a special game, the first opportunity to win the title. And against whom? Our perennial rivals," he said.

Portuguese striker David Sualehe opened the scoring a minute before half time in what was his first goal for the Ljubljana club.

Admir Bristrić sealed the deal in the 76th minute, just two minutes after entering the game as a replacement.

Maribor stood their ground for the first half hour of the game but when the first goal came they opted for a more offensive play, opening themselves up to Olimpija attacks.

The game was interrupted several times in the second half by rowdy fans who threw torches onto the pitch.

With five games to go, Olimpija have a 15-point lead on Maribor, topping the league table with 69 points in 31 rounds of play.

Of the four mutual encounters played this year, Olimpija won three and Maribor one.

"Three victories against them this year - I think there is no longer any doubt who the master is in Slovenia this year," said captain Timi Max Elšnik.

Elšnik said said the fixture was the kind of game that one lives for. "It is probably once in a lifetime that you get the opportunity to win the championship at home against your biggest rival. We simply could not let is slip through."

This is the seventh championship title for Olimpija and the first after 2018.

Having 16 championship titles, Maribor had long been the dominant club in the country but have struggled of late despite winning the title last season.


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