May 6, 2018 / 7:34 PM / in 6 months

Salzburg win Austrian Bundesliga for fifth time in a row

VIENNA (Reuters) - Salzburg won the Austrian Bundesliga for the fifth season in a row on Sunday, clinching the title with three games to spare by beating second-placed Sturm Graz 4-1.

Salzburg bounced back from their Europe League semi-final exit at the hands of Olympique de Marseille on Thursday by taking an unassailable 14-point lead over Graz, although only 14,000 people were there to see it.

Peter Zulj gave the visitors a shock lead in the 41st minute but Hee-Chan Hwang levelled on the stroke of halftime before Salzburg ran away with the match with second-half goals from Duje Caleta-Ca, Jerome Onguene and Munas Dabbur.

Salzburg have dominated the Bundesliga since Red Bull took over the club in 2005, winning the title in nine of the last 12 seasons.

However, many supporters abandoned the club in protest when they changed their traditional purple kit with Red Bull’s corporate colours. The fans founded a breakaway club, named Austria Salzburg, and re-entered the league in the seventh tier.

Red Bull says that it no longer has a controlling stake in Salzburg and merely sponsors the club.

Despite their domestic dominance, Salzburg have not qualified for the Champions League group stage since Red Bull became involved and will enter the competition in the second qualifying round next season.

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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