Image property of Erchim FC
The 2018 Mazala National League ended today with Erchim FC being crowned champion for the fourth consecutive season and sixth time in the last seven, taking home the 50.000.000T prize.
For most of the season, Erchim had stiff competition for the top spot as FC Ulaanbaatar and a rejuvenated (and rebranded) Anduud City Club kept it close. However, after a late-season run of success and a few missteps by Erchim's competitors, FC Ulaanbaatar and Anduud City finished in second and third place, respectively.
Erchim FC will once again be Mongolia's representative in continental competition as they face Ryromyong Sports Club in Preliminary Round qualification for the 2018 AFC Cup in February 2019. These home-and-away matches will mark the third straight year that the Mongolian club will face North Korean opposition.
The bottom of the table was much more predictable as newly-promoted Arvis FC and Gepro FC will be sent straight back to the First League for 2019. Gepro managed only one draw for one point out of 18 matches with a remarkable goal differential of -65.
With the First league wrapping up already also, we now know that Ulaanbaataryi Unaganuud should be returning to the Premier League next season after capturing the championship and 2014 Premier League champions Khoromkhon returning as runners-up of the second division.
Despite earlier predictions and huge amounts of money spent on high-profile signings during the off-season, Ulaanbaatar City FC earned a highly disappointing sixth place finish.
After the final match of the season, individual award winners were also named. Each winner was awarded 3.000.000T.
Serbian Milos Rnich of Deren FC was named the league's best goalkeeper. He appeared in all 18 of Deren FC's matches.
Battur Davaajav of Erchim FC received the award for the league's best defender. He scored six goals in 16 matches as he was also a major contributor in the club's offense.
There was another Erchim awardee as perennial offensive powerhouse Mönkh-Erdengiin Tögöldör was named the league's best midfielder. He bagged 11 of the club's 52 goals for the season.
Deren FC also had a second winner with Tatsuya Nishio of Japan named the league's top scorer. Nishio was the league's top scorer with 16 goals in 17 appearances. Nishio joined Deren FC last March after playing for Khoromkhon FC for the 2017 season.