April 22, 2008

LIEGE, Belgium (AP) -- Standard Liege won its first Belgian league championship in 25 years by beating two-time defending champion Anderlecht 2-0 on Sunday.

The win gave Standard an insurmountable 10-point lead over Anderlecht and FC Brugge with only three rounds to play. Standard Liege can become the first Belgian league team to go undefeated in 42 years.

Prime Minister Yves Leterme was among the 30,000 fans in the stands celebrating the title.

Congo's Dieumerci Mbokani scored both goals.

Standard took the title with a young team led by 20-year-old playmaker Steven Defour and anchored in defense by U.S. international Oguchi Onyewu.

"Over the whole season we have proved to be the best team," said Onyewu. "Hopefully we can win the rest of our games, stay unbeaten and go on to challenge in the Champions League next season."

Ahead of the kickoff, Zinedine Zidane presented Defour with the trophy for being the league's most valuable player.

"We were the best all through the season," Defour said. "Let's party now."

Standard Liege has the best defense in the league and the second-most prolific attack, led by Serb Milan Jovanovic.

One of the stars of the night was coach Michel Preud'homme, who was goalkeeper when the team last won the league in 1983.

"I just exude happiness. We were not the favorites at the start," he said. "We did it through suffering, willpower and talent."

It was Standard's ninth title in its history.

Anderlecht had won three of the four previous titles but had an awful start to the season and always trailed its rivals in the standings.

You May Like