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Soccer: Pyunik Deny Ararat To Make It Eight Straight

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  • Soccer: Pyunik Deny Ararat To Make It Eight Straight

    Khachik Chakhoyan
    Nov 20 2008

    FC Pyunik have won their eighth consecutive Armenian title after
    defeating FC Ararat Yerevan 2-1 following extra time in the
    championship play-off match.

    One-off decider Ararat had beaten Pyunik on the last day of the regular
    season to force the one-off title decider but could not repeat the
    feat to pick up the crown. While it was the holders' eleventh gold
    medal success overall, Ararat finished in the top three for the first
    time in eight years.

    Champions on top Pyunik dominated the first half, creating several
    great chances and Edgar Malakyan came closest to breaking the deadlock
    when he hit the post. Ararat could only muster a couple of Markos
    Pizzelli long-range efforts in the first 45 minutes, but were a
    different team after the break with Sargis Hovsepyan nearly putting
    through his own net just before the hour mark.

    Tadevosyan intervention It was the champions, though, that took the
    lead when 18-year-old substitute striker Albert Tadevosyan headed in
    Norayr Sahakyan's cross midway through the second period. Ararat's
    response was almost immediate, Vahagn Minasyan meeting Pizzeli's
    corner to nod in. With eight minutes of normal time remaining,
    Pyunik squandered a golden opportunity to wrap up the game and the
    title. Tadevosyan was fouled in the area, but Hovsepyan hit the
    crossbar from the penalty spot.

    "Toughest title" Ararat were reduced to ten men shortly after
    the missed penalty and, as the match entered extra time, Pyunik's
    unrelenting pressure eventually told as Tadevosyan scored another
    header in the 109th minute. There was still time, however, for
    the match-winner and Ararat defender Juliano Gimenez to collect
    red cards. "We were deserved winners," said victorious captain
    Hovsepyan. "We have a very young team and that is why this triumph is
    even more important for us. It was my toughest title." Pyunik defender
    Karen Dokhoyan, 32, added: "Ararat proved to be decent rivals. It
    has been a long time since winning the Armenian league was that tough."