Footballing logic being what it is, it is almost inevitable that when the team at the top of the league plays at home to the one at the bottom, the result will be an away win. So it was on Friday evening as Trnava defeated Slovan Bratislava 1-0 at Pasienky. Michal Gašparík’s decisive goal, a fine left-shot from just outside the area after 48 minutes, would have graced any game. Trnava were, naturally, delighted. ‘We would have been happy with a draw,’ said Miroslav Karhan, ‘so to win is fantastic.’ Slovan had no complaints. ‘Trnava played really well and never let us into the game,’ said coach Samuel Slovák. ‘They were more aggressive than us,’ added captain Igor Žofčák.
There was, of course, an off-field talking-point in the form of an 18-minute hold-up in the second-half, caused by Slovan fans throwing smoke-bombs onto the pitch. With no wind in the stadium, referee Vladimír Vnuk appeared to despair of the smoke ever clearing and sent the players towards the dressing-rooms. As they reached the edge of the pitch, however, visibility improved just enough for the game to restart. Players from both teams sensibly agreed that the delay neither benefited nor disadvantaged either side, though Karhan felt the game ‘lost its fluency’.
A characteristic of this Corgoň Liga season has been the failure of teams in second or third places to take advantage of a slip by the league leaders. Thus Saturday‘s 0-0 draw between Senica and Žilina, either of whom could have drawn level on points with Slovan had they won, was another predictable result. Žilina struggled in the first-half, ‘because of the wind,’ according to coach Frans Adelaar, but had the better of the second period. With Serge Akakpo missing from the centre of their defence, they will be happy with the clean sheet, if a little frustrated by a record of nine draws from their fifteen fixtures so far. Senica were affected by an injury to key midfielder Tomáš Kóňa, but their coach, Zdeněk Psotka, was satisfied with their all-round performance.
Vion Zlaté Moravce’s Juraj Jarábek must be the happiest coach this weekend, after a 2-0 home win over Banská Bystrica saw his team leapfrog Žilina and Senica into second place. And it was Jarábek’s decision to send on Lukáš Janic as a 65th minute substitute for Ľubomír Bernáth that proved decisive. Within seconds of coming on, Janic smashed home the opening goal from well outside the penalty-area. Six minutes later, another long-range effort from the sub put the outcome beyond doubt. Bystrica coach Norbert Hrnčár took no consolation from Jarábek’s words of praise for his team’s football. ‘The game’s about goals, not beauty,’ he said. ‘Vion scored two, so they won.’
Goals were expected at Trenčín on Saturday, as the league’s most productive strikers, the home side’s David Depetris and Košice’s Dávid Škutka, faced up to each other. Of course, neither scored and the game finished 0-0. Košice coach Ján Kozák felt that Škutka was denied by an incorrect offside decision in the first-half. As for Depetris, he went close with a header in the second period as Trenčín gained the upper-hand. Košice will be happy enough with the result, even though they are still without an away win this season, while Trenčín may be concerned that visiting teams seem to be working out how to play on their plastic pitch. They have now won just one of their last five home fixtures.
Ružomberok seem to be getting over their mid-autumn struggles, a 2-0 home win over Prešov giving them their latest success. Mulumba Mukendi headed the first goal after 33 minutes, with Filip Serečin wrapping things up midway through the second period. The only concern for Ruža was a late injury to Mukendi which meant they had to play out the game with ten men, having already used their three substitutes. Prešov coach Angel Červenkov felt his side contributed to a good game, but he could be forgiven for wondering when (or if) they will finally start earning points away from home.
Nitra look to be in dire straits following their latest defeat, 2-0 at home to Myjava on Saturday. Peter Kuračka scored both goals within the opening quarter of an hour. The visitors were barely troubled after that, at least until the 78th minute when Nitra were awarded a penalty following a foul on Brazilian winger Cléber. Cléber took the kick himself – and missed. There were only392 inattendance, another discouraging sign ahead of the shareholders’ meeting on Monday, which, as coach Ladislav Jurkemík acknowledges, ‘could decide (Nitra’s) future’.
Slovan 0 Trnava 1
Senica 0 Žilina 0
Zlaté Moravce 2 Banská Bystrica 0
Trenčín 0 Košice 0
Ružomberok 2 Prešov 0
Nitra 0 Myjava 2