STA, 23 May – Maribor defeated the defending champion Muro 3: 1 on Sunday in Murska Sobota and won the 16th title of national champion. They turned the matter around in the last round and skipped Koper, who played a draw with Bravo in Ljubljana. The conclusion of the first league did not go without controversy.
Maribor finished the first league competition in the 36th round with 70 points, which is three more than Koper, who were looking forward to the second title of national champion so far.
The eternal champions from another Slovenian city had a turbulent season. The selector was replaced in September last year by Radovan Karanović, who was trying to make some separation from Koper, who had been with Maribor all along.
Koper was at the top of the table two rounds before the end, but after winning the National Cup in the penultimate round they slipped towards Radomlje and Maribor opened the way to a record 16th title of Slovenian champions.
Maribor defeated the defending champion Muro on the road yesterday. “I always believed that we could be champions, because I believed in what we do,” head coach Karanović told Šport TV after the victory.
He noted that the players showed a will to succeed. “I congratulate all the boys and the whole of Maribor for returning to where it belongs,” he said, admitting that he was not satisfied with the league’s parity as a fan.
“The season was really even until the end, that’s fine for the fans, but not especially for us, to be honest,” the coach said. which is signed until 2024 and whose goal is to take Maribor to one of the European club competitions.
Maribor will now play in the first round of qualifications for the UEFA Champions League, and will face their opponent on 14 June.
Koper will play in the second qualifying round of the third league conference league, Olimpija, which failed to break through to the top even after the arrival of Croatian coach Robert Prosinečki, and Mura in the first round.
“Maribor must take a step forward, as other teams are catching up. I congratulate Koper on everything they have done, but we will really have to take a step forward,” said Karanović.
Koper, on the other hand, is disappointed with the outcome, as club president Ante Guberac has sparked controversy and called for an investigation into the Slovenian Football Association (NHS).
There are allegations that Maribor offered a financial incentive to Radomlje and that before the last round they offered a contract to the suspended Mura goalkeeper Marko Zalokar.
“We are the champions! What Maribor has done in recent weeks has tarnished the league, I have lost respect for Maribor,” Guberac told the MMC portal, adding that the club will challenge the final outcome of the championship. .
The striker Ognjen Mudrinski (Maribor), who scored 17 goals, was named the best player of the season, and Zoran Zeljković from Koper was named the best coach.
I am grateful to my teammates, because without their assists I would not have scored all these goals, “said Mudrinski, whose future career in Maribor is in question, as he plays on loan at Polish Jagiellonia Bialystok.