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Joe Cullen claimed his maiden European Tour title with a sensational performance to defeat Michael van Gerwen 8-5 in the European Darts Matchplay final in Mannheim on Sunday night.

The Bradford ace claimed the third ranking title of his career in brilliant fashion as he overcame World Champion Van Gerwen with a clinical and confident showing.

Having never previously won past the semi-finals on the European Tour, Cullen saw off William O’Connor, Glen Durrant and James Wade on Sunday to book his spot in the decider at the Maimarkthalle.

“To beat Michael in the final is amazing,” said Cullen, who averaged over 101 in the final. “It’s the biggest moment in my career, it’s great.

“Michael is the consummate professional, he’s so gracious in defeat and victory. Me and Michael are good friends and he congratulated me wholeheartedly.

“It was just one of those weekends. For us mere mortals, we’re not Michael, the stage is where we all play really well or play really bad and Michael has set the standard.

“I’ve been threatening to win a tournament for a while and this weekend I believed I was going to win it. It genuinely believed it. I couldn’t see that anyone could beat me today.”