HJK Helsinki retain Finnish title

HELSINKI, Oct 4 (Reuters) - HJK Helsinki retained the Finnish league title after FC Honka Espoo lost at home to FC Lahti on Monday. The defeat left Honka nine points behind Helsinki with two games left to play.

HJK beat JJK Jyvaskyla at home on Saturday to move seven points ahead of TPS Turku and KuPS Kuopio, leaving only Honka with a chance of catching them.

Needing to win their remaining three games and cancel out a goal difference of 13 Honka, started well by scoring after only four minutes.

But bottom club Lahti equalised before bringing on Jari Litmanen at half-time and with the veteran attacker pulling the strings they scored a winner through Drilon Shala in the 72nd minute.

With 23 titles HJK Helsinki are by far the most successful club in Finland and the country's only ever representatives in the Champions League group stages, which they qualified for in 1998-99.

They lost 5-1 on aggregate to Partizan Belgrade in the third qualifying round of this year's competition.