American Mikaela Shiffrin, winner of the World Cup slalom in Jasna

Jasná (Slovakia) (AFP) - American Mikaela Shiffrin kept her nerve to bag a record-extending 95th career World Cup win as she snuck to victory in the women’s slalom in Jasna on Sunday.

Shiffrin clocked 52.91 seconds and 55.30sec in the two legs down the icy Lukova slope in the Slovakian resort for a winning combined total of 1min 48.21sec.

It was her fifth slalom victory of the season and the 58th of her World Cup career.

She also became just the second alpine skier to reach 150 World Cup podiums, five short of Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 155. The win also saw her surpass Stenmark with her record-setting 82nd slalom podium.

Croatian teenager Zrinka Ljutic bagged her second career podium finish in finishing second, at 0.14sec, while Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson rounded out the podium (+0.81).

“Today it was definitely a big push to keep all my energy going all the way through the second run,” said Shiffrin, whose lead shrunk to 0.02sec on the last intermediate split before she skied the fastest final sector of anyone in the field to ensure victory.

“I knew she (Ljutic) put down an amazing run and I had to push.”

Shiffrin added: “It was not easy on the second run. I could hear the crowd going crazy for a couple of athletes and I’m like, ‘No, this race is very far away from over and I need to push.’

“I didn’t feel perfect but I felt good, so I’m super happy with it.”

The second leg, in which the top 30 finishers from the first leg race in reverse order, was an exciting affair.

Heading into the final 10 racers, Germany’s world slalom bronze medallist Lena Duerr duly took the lead, with nine racers to follow.

Austrian Katharina Truppe and France’s Marie Lamure both made mistakes to fall out of the reckoning.

Camille Rast then took the race by the scruff of its neck, laying down an electric run to finish more than one second ahead of Duerr’s time to set up a nail-biting climax.

Her Swiss teammate Michelle Gisin couldn’t cope with that pace, but Swenn Larsson could, grabbing the lead before watching Swedish teammate Sara Hector, the comfortable winner of Saturday’s giant slalom ahead of Shiffrin, make a mistake.

- ‘Managed the pressure’ -

American Mikaela Shiffrin (C) celebrates with second placed Croatia's Zrinka Ljutic (L) and third placed Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson

Switzerland’s Melanie Meillard temporarily grabbed the final podium spot, leaving just Ljutic and Shiffrin to come down.

Ljutic, 19, made no mistake with a clean descent, taking the lead to pile the pressure on Shiffrin.

Setting out of the start hut with a 0.52sec lead, the American saw that advantage quickly cut back but she kept her nerve to deliver the seventh fastest second leg.

It was enough for the 28-year-old to edge the Croat and claim yet another victory on the circuit.

“I’m really happy that I skied even better in the second run than the first,” Ljutic said. “I’m proud of myself for managing this pressure in the second run.

“I took a glimpse of what it’s like to be so close to the win,” she added. “It was really tight and it’s definitely worth it, it’s worth every DNF (four) that I’ve had this season.”

Home favourite and reigning Olympic slalom champion Petra Vlhova was not among the starters, her season having come to a premature end after she sustained a torn knee ligament in a crash in Saturday’s giant slalom.

Shiffrin sits atop the slalom standings on 630 points, 125pts ahead of Vlhova.

The five-time big crystal globe winner has now amassed 1,209pts to further consolidate her place atop the overall standings as she seeks a sixth title.

She stands 407pts ahead of second-placed Vlhova, with Swiss racer Lara Gut-Behrami in third on 789pts.