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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 3, 2006

Red Star Belgrade seal 24th title victory

BELGRADE, May 3 (Reuters) - Serbia and Montenegro champions Red Star Belgrade celebrated their 24th league title in style on Wednesday after beating Vojvodina Novi Sad 3-1 in their last home game of the season.

Their 40,000 fans lit dozens of torches before and after the match while the players, their faces and hair painted in the club's red-and-white colours, paraded with the trophy along with a special motorcade that drove around the pitch.

'It was a magnificent party and I am glad to have become a part of this great club's history,' manager and former Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga told reporters.

'This exceptional group of players have matured, they have learned to work and think as a team. I am very proud of them and of the things we have achieved this season.'

Red Star, who won the title last month with three matches to spare and meet OFK Belgarde in the Cup final next week, rewarded their faithful with an inspired performance that kept their perfect league record at home intact.

Headers from strikers Nikola Zigic and Dusan Djokic sent the champions on their way and Milan Dudic drilled in a low shot in injury time to put the icing on the cake after Gojko Kacar had pulled one back.

'It feels very good to win all 15 home games and we now want to end the season in grand style by lifting the domestic double,' Zenga said.

At the other end of the table, a bitter relegation dogfight continued after Buducnost Banatski Dvor and Borac Cacak failed to secure wins that would have ensured survival in top flight before the final day of the season.

Buducnost drew 1-1 at home with relegated Javor Ivanjica and Borac were also held to a 1-1 tie by OFK, allowing 10th-placed Zemun Belgrade to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop with a 2-1 win at city rivals Vozdovac.

Six of seven teams going down at the end of the season have already been relegated and only three will be promoted to cut the 16-team first divsion to 12 clubs.

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