Žilina’s draw with Trnava on Tuesday left Slovan Bratislava a point clear at the top of the Corgoň Liga going into the weekend’s matches. Slovan’s lead is now two points, but they will probably be irritated by their failure to win an entertaining contest away to Trenčín. The game really came to life in the couple of minutes just before half-time. David Depetris scored his eighth goal of the season for the hosts, following excellent build-up play by Ivan Diaz and Jakub Holúbek. Seconds later, teenager Stanislav Lobotka was shown a red card for dragging down Marko Milinković inside the penalty-area and Filip Šebo equalised from the spot.
Mid-way through the second-half, another foul on Milinković led to Slovan taking the lead. This time the offence occurred just outside the box and it was the Serbian midfielder himself who curled the ball past ‘keeper Miloš Volešák. Trenčín’s ten men kept going and Depetris earned them a point with a penalty after Filip Hlohovský had hauled down Peter Čögley. To his credit, Slovan coach Samuel Slovák did not question the award of Trenčín’s penalty, even though contact appeared, at least from the TV pictures, to be made outside the box rather than inside.
The sides just below Slovan also failed to win. Žilina produced an apathetic-looking performance away to Vion Zlaté Moravce and were beaten 1-0. The only goal was scored by Michal Škvarka, a player Vion signed on loan from their visitors during the close-season. Afterwards, both coaches talked about preparation ; Vion’s Juraj Jarábek was happy with the way his team was ‘100% prepared’, while opposite number Frans Adelaar noted that ‘although we always talk about the importance of being properly prepared, 70% of my players were unfocused and seemed to think the game was going to be easy’.
Ružomberok would have drawn level on points with Slovan if they’d been able to overcome visitors Trnava. In fact, a 2-2 draw is not a bad result, considering that Ruža played 70 minutes with ten men and finished with only nine. All the goals arrived in the first-half. Patrik Gross diverted Filip Serečin’s cross into his own net to put the hosts ahead, only for Miroslav Karhan to equalise with a direct free-kick, awarded for a foul by Peter Maslo on Vlastimil Stožický for which the Ruža defender was sent off. On 27 minutes, Jiří Koubský brought down Mulumba Mukendi and Tomáš Ďubek’s penalty put the ten men ahead again. Back came Trnava, and Stevo Nikolič seized on a rebound, after his own header had been blocked, to complete the scoring. That wasn’t the end of the action, though ; both sides had chances to win the game in an up-and-down second period. In the final minute, Mukendi was shown a straight red card for a clumsy high challenge on Patrik Čarnota.
Passions were still running high in the post-match interviews. ‘I’m still emotional so it’s best if I don’t comment on the referee,’ said Ďubek. His coach, Ladislav Šimčo, was less circumspect when, referring to the fouls by Maslo and Koubský, he claimed that ‘our player was sent-off and theirs wasn’t, even though the offences were similar’. Trnava are now bottom of the league and are the only side without a win. ‘We need to improve,’ said Karhan.
Banská Bystrica, another side who could have joined Slovan on 14 points, were involved in a frustrating 0-0 draw with a Prešov team which is beginning to earn a reputation as a bunch of spoilers. There were few real chances. Bystrica’s Jozef Rejdovian hit the post with a header and there were a couple of frantic scrambles in the visitors’ penalty-area but, as home coach Norbert Hrnčár pointed out, ‘it’s hard to create chances when they put ten players in their own box and there’s no space’. Prešov aren’t apologising to anyone. This is their first away point of the season and, together with their 100% home record, the result sees them occupying a comfortable mid-table position.
Košice need to rediscover some resiliance following a 4-1 hammering at Nitra. Curiously, all the goals in this game came when Nitrawere down to ten men following the 35th minute sending-off of Miloš Šimončič. Seydouba Soumah put Nitra ahead on the stroke of half-time, and David Škutka’s 53rd minute equaliser was merely the prelude to a period of dominance which saw Martin Boszorád and Cléber Silva Nasciemento (twice) add further goals.Nitra coach Ladislav Jurkemík said this was the first time a team of his had ever won after going a man down. He also noted that Košice were ‘more dangerous when we had eleven players’. His visiting counterpart, Ján Kozák, is no doubt saving long speeches for the training-ground. ‘It was chaotic and we deserved to lose,’ was all he would say to the press.
But perhaps the real story of the weekend is Myjava’s first ever Corgoň Liga victory, achieved on Friday night away to local rivals Senica. The game was almost the mirror-image of the newly-promoted team’s defeat by Banská Bystrica last week, where they had most of the play and chances only to lose to a late goal. Here, Roland Blackburn missed three good opportunities for Senica and his team paid the price when, in the 79th minute, Martin Černáček converted Peter Sládek’s right-wing cross.
Černáček, as one of Myjava’s part-time players, trains three times a week. He is also a manager of a firm which produces home fittings, and typically works ten-hour days, often travelling away on business. ‘It’s not easy to prepare for games,’ he says, ‘but I’m managing all right so far.’ Myjava remain second from bottom of the league but their performances have mostly been quite creditable so far. If results also continue to improve, their way of doing things may well be of some appeal to other smallish clubs. Meanwhile their fans, 700 of whom made the journey to Senica, are keeping up their encouragement.
Trenčín 2 Slovan 2
Zlaté Moravce 1 Žilina 0
Ružomberok 2 Trnava 2
Banská Bystrica 0 Prešov 0
Nitra 4 Košice 1
Senica 0 Myjava 1
I think Slovak clubs do really good things with their youth set-ups. In my part of the country, you’ve got four clubs within about 50 miles of each other – Zilina, Puchov, Dubnica and Trencin – who all run at least ten age-group teams with proper professional coaching.
But obviously running youth football’s a bit like panning for gold. You’ll get the odd gem (if the rich foreign clubs haven’t got to him already) and you can polish up some of the slightly less promising material, but most of what goes through your hands isn’t going to make you a million. Still, the kids are getting their chance and that’s the main thing.
Obviously Sk football is affected by the game’s internationalisation. It means the likes of Hamsik, Weiss Jr et al were whisked off to the big league academies in their early teens, long before local fans got the chance to see them play. On the other hand, you get some interesting foreign players passing through – Zilina have the current captain of Togo, the only player to be injured in that terrorist attack in Angola in 2010. I’m no professional but he looks like quality to me – in all respects.
I have little interest in SK football, two visits to watch FC Tatran has put me off for life. On a brighter note, Presov runs an annual international childrens football competition and I went to watch a couple of games. There is some real up and coming talent, I hope the scouts were here and some of these youngsters get the coaching and the opportunities they deserve.
‘no Slovak forward has the finishing prowess of Messi or Lineker’
No’one like you for setting exacting standards George – possibly the best player the world’s ever seen (plenty argue that’s what Messi is) and one of the best ever pure goalscorers.
Sebo’s finishing was lethal in the cup on Tuesday, mind. Saw highlights on TV. He must have been AT LEAST a yard out, but he still hit the back of the net….
Well the trip fouls were stupid, because you know you are going to be sent off if the guy has gone passed you…perhaps better that, than have your coach scream that YOU gave a goal away .Although in my experience no Slovak forward has the finishing prowess of Messi or Lineker and better to let him go on, and scuff the chance ( if it was Filip Sebo all more chance of a fluff ) rather than make the missed tackle and be sent off …mind you, the goal keepers here are a total joke as well and they hardly give you confidence, as a last line of your defence. I`ve never seem such lot a flat footed, out of position goalkeepers, that could plain miss punch a shot or cross . Most of the goals I saw score were often down to their handling pr positional mistakes, rather than and forwards scoring skills of making a goal from nothing … …Who was the P`zlka goalie that they found had the brain tumor a few years back ? God he lost it two, three time every game .. tall, big guy looked like Captain Ahab from Tin Tin, you only had to brush into him from a cross or make a challenge and he wanted to fight .
Haven’t seen the Nitra player’s red card, but the Trencin player and the first Ruza one went for ‘denying a scoring opportunity’ – they were trying to get the ball but fouled the man and gave the ref no option. Does that rule actually exist in Sunday football?
The second Ruza man was sent off for a pretty horrible high tackle – his studs planted in his opponents chest – but since he’s from DR Congo, you can’t draw conclusions about Slovaks based on that.
A truly stupid red card was the one Zilina’s Majtan got last Tuesday – that really did show a complete lack of a functioning brain.
The teams who had men sent off at the w/e actually did pretty well, giving new life to the old ’10 men are harder to play against than 11′ cliche.
Why all the sudden sending`s off I wonder ?? Too much beer the day before or the heat ?
Having watched Slovak football for a number of years, the approach of the Slovak players always reminded me of English Sunday morning soccer …..where players always seem to have their minds somewhere else other than on the game, or recovering from a hangover, thus a short temper ….and the quality of the game really depended on how many players had recovered enough after the night on the town ( or not ) and the nights sleep they got .
The other thing was, how many `totally thick` Slovak players each team had doing dumb things ( the way some goals were scored were a joke ) ….and how many were sent off , for doing the most obviously stupid things on the pitch, or to an opponent . The Sunday morning team I kind of expected it …but these Slovak players are paid professionals !