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Flora win 15th Estonian Meistriliiga title as Kalev qualify for Europe

Flora Talliinn celebrate after winning last year's Meistriliiga title.
Flora Talliinn celebrate after winning last year's Meistriliiga title. Source: Katariina Peetson/jalgpall.ee

FC Flora Tallinn claimed their fifteenth Estonian Meistriliiga title despite being held to a goalless draw by Nõmme Kalju on the last day of the season. Elsewhere, Tallinna Kalev secured a place in next year's UEFA Conference League qualifiers, while Harju JK Laagri were confined to relegation following defeat to Tartu Tammeka.

There was plenty to play for going into the final weekend of this year's Estonian Meistriliiga season. After grabbing a late winner to beat defending champions FC Flora last week, FCI Levadia must have felt the momentum was in their favor ahead of their match away to Paide Linnameeskond on Saturday. Nevertheless, they knew that only a win would do, while they also needed Nõmme Kalju to give them a helping hand and get a result against Flora.

However, Levadia's hopes soon turned to despair when they found themselves a goal down after seven minutes thanks to a strike from Paide's Gambian forward Bubacarr Tambedou. 25 minutes later and things went from bad to worse for the Tallinn side, as left-winger Siim Luts, who has previously played for both Flora and Levadia, doubled the home side's advantage.

It took until the 82nd minute for Levadia to pull one back, through a spot-kick from 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder João Pedro. With Flora being held at 0-0 by Kalju, there was still a glimpse of hope.

Levadia kept pushing right until the end, finally forcing an equalizer in the sixth minute of tie added on from Mihkel Ainsalu, but it proved to be too little, too late. The game finished 2-2, and rivals Flora were confirmed as champions.

Kalev make Conference League

However, the title was not the only thing at stake during Saturday's end-of-season showdown. There was joy for Tallinna Kalev, who defeated Narva Trans 5-0 to secure third place, and a spot in the qualifying stages of next season's Europe Conference League.

Tammeka cling on as Harju go down

At the bottom of the table, there was relief for Tartu Tammeka, who lived to fight another day after winning 2-1 at home to JK Harju Laagri.

Cheered on by a 1,023-strong home crowd, Tammeka struck as early as the fourth minute in Friday evening's relegation battle. 23-year-old striker Devid Lehter could surely not have chosen a better moment to snatch his first top-flight goal.

The home side extended their lead in the second half, when Nigerian forward Ahmed Adebayo Basher converted a 63rd minute penalty. Four minutes later however, Harju pulled one back, thanks to a spot-kick of their own. Danyil Rudenko made no mistake and ensured the home fans' celebrations were put on hold for just a little longer.

Tammeka managed to hold on to the end. However, having finished ninth in the table, just four points ahead of Harju, they still have to face Viimsi JK, who finished second in the Estonian second division (Esiliiga), in a play-off, to determine which of the two sides will be playing top-flight football next season.

After just one season in the Meistriliiga, Harju JK Laagri will be replaced by newly promoted Nõmme United.

In the weekend's other Estonian top-flight fixture, Kuressaare beat Pärnu Vaprus 1-0.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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