It was another indecisive weekend in the Corgoň Liga. Four of the five matches played ended in draws, with a sixth being postponed. Žilina and Slovan Bratislava, last season’s champions and the current league leaders respectively, failed to trouble the scorers at Štadión pod Dubňom on Sunday. It was a watchable enough game, with both sides looking well-organised and producing spells of constructive football. Although the result maintains Slovan’s three-point advantage over their rivals, they will be the ones feeling they should have won. After 88 minutes, they had the evening’s only clear-cut chance, but Juraj Halenár, after running half the length of the pitch unchallenged, produced the feeblest of finishes. Besides that, Žilina ‘keeper Martin Dúbravka had more serious work to do than opposite number Matúš Putnocký. Two saves from Marko Milinković – the game’s outstanding player – especially caught the eye. The hosts continued their policy of putting their trust in teenagers. Milan Škriniar and Peter Lupčo both started, with Jaroslav Mihalík coming on as a second-half substitute. Škriniar in particular gave a sound performance, and all three should benefit from the experience a game like this brings.
The build-up to Saturday’s attractive-looking Košice v Senica fixture was unfairly overshadowed by the attention given to Žilina v Slovan. When it was played, though, it didn’t lack excitement. Senica took a 9th minute lead through Juraj Piroška’s penalty but goals from Dávid Škutka and Ján Novák had the hosts ahead by half-time. Adam Varadi’s second-half strike gave Senica a point. Their coach, Zdeněk Psotka, was happy enough afterwards, even though the result brought to an end a run of five succesive league wins. His opposite number, the ever-quotable Ján Kozák, believes Senica have an even better squad than Žilina or Slovan. He was still disappointed his team couldn’t hold onto their half-time lead, but will take comfort in the fact that they remain unbeaten at home. From a neutral perspective, the only disappointing aspect of this match was that the adverse weather, combined with a largely uncovered stadium, kept the fans away. Only 1,050 turned up. Given kinder conditions, Košice would reasonably have hoped for 3,000+.
Prešov, Košice’s eastern neighbours, also went into the weekend undefeated at home. But they failed to emerge unscathed from the visit of unpredictable Trenčín. Andrij Ševčuk gave Prešov a 12th minute lead, but Karol Mondek and Samuel Štefaník scored second-half goals for the visitors. The post-match comments from the two coaches were entirely predictable. ‘We started well, but lost the midfield battle in the second-half. I’m not happy,’ said Prešov’s Angel Červenkov. ‘We started slowly, but managed to turn it around with a very good performance,’ replied Adrián Guľa.
The Nitra public are not exactly rallying round their crisis-hit club. In admittedly dismal weather, only 310 fans paid to see Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Vion Zlaté Moravce. After falling behind to Andrej Hodek’s goal, Nitra at least rewarded the faithful few by battling away to earn a point, thanks to a 70th minute goal from Matúš Mikuš.. Afterwards, Nitra coach Ladislav Jurkemík didn’t contest Juraj Jarábek’s view that Vion were the better side. However, he did allow himself to hope that the result, which follows a run of five defeats in a row, will herald a much-needed upturn in his club’s fortunes.
The two Spartaks, Myjava and Trnava, produced an action packed second-half which resulted in a 2-2 draw. Peter Sládek twice put the promoted side ahead, but Trnava showed their fighting spirit hasn’t deserted them by twice coming back. Michal Gašparík and Marek Janečka scored their goals. Later, Myjava coach Ladislav Hudec was responsible for the two best quotes of the weekend. Referring to his players‘ passive first-half performance, he revealed that he had asked them at half-time whether they would prefer to be playing Jaslovské Bohunice (‘no disrespect to them’) as opposed to sharing a pitch with the likes of Trnava, Žilina or Slovan. Hudec also seems to feel Trnava are beginning to make rather a drama out of their perceived misfortunes. ‘I wish (they) were second or third in the table,’ he said, ‘then the rest of the league wouldn’t be made to suffer from the fact that they’re at the bottom.’
The central Slovakia derby between Banská Bystrica and Ružomberok was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. No’one disagreed with referee Miroslav Fajčík’s decision not to allow the match to start, but there was sympathy for Ruža’s fans, who had already arrived at Štadión SNP when the inevitable announcement was made. The clubs have agreed to try again on Tuesday November 20th.
Žilina 0 Slovan 0
Košice 2 Senica 2
Prešov 1 Trenčín 2
Nitra1 Zlaté Moravce 1
Myjava 2 Trnava 2
Banská Bystrica v Ružomberok – Postponed