Maribor – The Murska Sobota side Mura have won their first ever title of national football champion after defeating Maribor 3:1 in the final round of the premiere league on Saturday.
Maribor had a three-point lead heading into the final round and only needed a draw to clinch their 16th national crown.
While both clubs ended the championship with 63 points, Mura has the better record in head-to-head matches.
Maribor had the upper hand heading into the final round, with a points edge and the advantage of home turf and the first game in 14 months at which fans were in the stands.
But Mura were on a roll with six consecutive wins in the previous rounds, carrying the momentum into the final encounter.
They opened the scoring in the 33rd minute through Klemen Šturm, only to see an equalizer just before halftime.
The second half started tersely and it took half an hour before Mihael Klepač gave Mura the edge with a shot from the penalty area in the 75th minute.
Just three minutes later, it was a done deal as Luka Bobičanec converted a penalty shot into an unassailable 3:1 lead.
The championship title marks an apex for the club, which is much smaller than Maribor but has a fan base that only Maribor can rival in Slovenia.
Mura have built their success around Ante Šimundža, a former star player who put in 170 appearances for Maribor and took over as head coach of Mura in 2017.
This is the third national title for the 49-year-old, who previously won two titles with Maribor as coach.