After the brief respite provided by two successive victories, Trnava’s season is getting worse again. A 1-0 defeat to David Škutka’s 82nd minute header at Košice on Friday night was disappointing enough. Rather more disturbing was an incident in the early hours of Saturday morning when the team bus returned to Trnava. It was met by a group of 30 or so people shouting insults and threats, and the cars of two members of the travelling party were found to have been damaged. While police hunt the culprits, the club’s co-owner, Vladimír Poór, has found it necessary to issue another statement to the effect that coach Pavel Hoftych’s job is safe. Ján Kozák, Hoftych’s Košice counterpart, is in no need of votes of confidence. His side have a near-perfect home record and continue to attract increasing interest from their local public ; 3,460 watched Friday’s game.
Another Friday fixture saw Vion Zlaté Moravce fail to breach the resilient defence of visiting Ružomberok. Defender Oliver Práznovský was outstanding for Ruža, who might even have earned a first win in seven games if Tomáš Ďubek hadn’t missed a late chance. Vion midfielder Michal Škvarka suggested after the game that Ruža’s emphasis on containment had made them tougher opponents than other recent visitors, such as Slovan Bratislava and Trenčín, who ‘came to play football’.
Slovan retain their three-point lead at the top, despite becoming the latest side to fail to win at Prešov. In a game of few chances, Slovan had the better of the first-half, but were mostly restricted to long-range efforts, while Prešov improved after the break. The home side had the game’s best opportunity in this period but a stretching Štefan Žošák was unable to convert Ján Papaj’s cross.
There were at least a couple of goals in Žilina’s draw at Myjava. The home side took the lead halfway through the first-half, when Roman Častulín skillfully headed home from Peter Kuračka’s free-kick. Viktor Pečovský equalised 14 minutes later, after being allowed to run unchallenged down the middle of the field. Žilina had the better chances in the second period, and Myjava ‘keeper Michal Šulla did brilliantly to keep out headers from Momodou Ceesay and Serge Akakpo. Later, reflecting on a rejected penalty appeal following a tackle on Róbert Pich, Frans Adelaar, Žilina’s Dutch coach, wondered if the rules of football in Slovakia were different from those in Holland.
All of a sudden, Senica are the league’s form side. Their 2-1 win at Banská Bystrica on Saturday was their fourth in a row, and puts them level on points with Žilina. They had to come from behind to earn this latest victory, following Milan Ferenčík’s neatly-taken first-half goal for the hosts. Two close-range efforts from Roland Blackburn, the first of which followed some truly incompetent defending, turned things round for Zdeněk Psotka’s team.
Nitra’s misery continued with a home defeat to Trenčín. Things were looking up for the hosts when Cleber scored with a long-range shot following a free-kick. But then, in the 38th minute, Vratislav Gajdoš was sent-off for a second bookable offence and Nitra were further punished by Peter Kleščík’s equaliser five minutes later. The first 15 minutes of the second-half saw another red card forNitraand another goal for Trenčín. Karel Kroupa was the man heading for the early shower and David Depetris (who else?) was responsible for the visitors’ winner. Only 590 watched this game, another sign, perhaps, that the incidents at the Trnava game have tornNitra’s season apart.
Košice 1 Trnava 0
Zlaté Moravce 0 Ružomberok 0
Prešov 0 Slovan 0
Myjava 1 Žilina 1
Banská Bystrica 1 Senica 2
Nitra 1 Trenčín 2