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BELGRADE, April 29 (Reuters) - Former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade clinched a record 28th Serbian league title with three games to spare after a 2-0 win at Napredak Krusevac on Sunday gave them a 12-point lead over city rivals and last season’s champions Partizan.
Nenad Krsticic gave Red Star, who won Europe’s elite club competition in 1991, an 80th-minute lead and Aleksandar Pesic sealed the win with a 90th-minute penalty after Comoros striker El Fardou Ben was fouled in the box.
Jubilant Red Star fans invaded the pitch after the final whistle and mobbed the players, who once again nosed ahead of Partizan in the perennial battle for domestic supremacy between Serbia’s big two.
“I am very proud of the players, the fans and my staff, now is the time to enjoy our accomplishment,” Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic told Arenasport television.
“We’ve been through a lot this season and we’ll try to put the icing on the cake in the final three games.”
Partizan, who have won 27 league titles, lost any hope of staying in contention after a 2-1 defeat at Vojvodina Novi Sad, with the home team’s Dusan Jovancic and Aleksandar Radovanovic cancelling out Marko Jankovic’s goal for the visitors.
The outcome left Partizan in danger of enduring a trophyless season as they face a difficult task of overturning a 4-2 Cup semi-final deficit against Cukaricki when they host their city rivals in the return leg on May 9.
“We played in fits and starts against Vojvodina, like we’ve done all season,” said Partizan’s under-pressure manager Miroslav Djukic.
“It’s difficult to win a match when you concede the kind of unfortunate goals that we did today. We are just inconsistent.” (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic, editing by Ed Osmond)