ŠK Slovan Bratislava (nicknamed Belasi) managed to beat the strong favourites AS Roma last night in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League play-offs thanks to a fantastic header by Martin Dobrotka 10 minutes from the end.
The jubilation came after Slovan got a corner, taken by captain Igor Žofčák, which Dobrotka attacked and met perfectly, heading the ball down under the experienced Roma goalkeeper. After the match Dobrotka classed the goal as one of his greatest goals ever.
Coach Vladimir Weiss, who also manages the national team, feels the team deserved the win because of the players’ determination and sacrifice, but even though neither he nor anyone in the team is over-confident about the return leg at the Stadio Olympico in Rome next Thursday, they will head there with the full intention of getting through to the next round.
Slovan were under pressure for the whole of the first half and didn’t even get a shot on the Roma goal, but thanks to solid defending, they managed to hold out. In the second half Slovan played better and more attacking football, while keeping the discipline at the back. Captain Žofčák feels that if Slovan play the same in Rome, they have a chance of advancing to the next stage.
Coach Weiss praised his team, saying it is a great win for them, while remaining quietly confident that they have what it takes for the return match. He is well aware of the huge task ahead, though, and knows it will be far from easy at the intimidating Stadio Olympico, but says they will fight like gladiators.
With the away goals rule, if Slovan manage to get in an early goal, it would mean the Italians would have to score 3 goals. Bigger shocks have happened in football, and nobody knows it better than coach Weiss, whose Slovak national team put the Italians out of the last World Cup.
Belasi do toho!
Dont get me wrong , I have a lot of respect for Weiss and his skills as a General . He has had some quite amazing results for Slovakia and when he was in charge at Artmedia . Ask Italy , Celtic, Porto and Belgrade .
Roma are an odd Italian side , and can always be beaten when away from home, if you get at them ….ask Man U , they got 7 goals pass them once .
Slovan won , and I guess that is all that matters in the end , but I just wonder how long their awful and quite comical defending can last out .
Small bet , min 4/0 in Roma .
I saw the last 10 mins and Roma were just passing the ball harmlessly back and forth in front of a massed Slovan back line. I expect them to be a much tougher proposition over there but, George, consider how few attempts Slovan had last night, yet they scored the only goal. If they score there, Roma need three and then it will be more interesting than you’re suggesting.
Weiss we’ve discussed before. If anyone can get lucky twice in a row it’s him. In fact, I still can’t decide if so much of it is luck with him, or whether he’s a genius. The Sk national team under him has been fairly limited ability wise, yet look what they’ve achieved – some of it playing very decent football (when you forget scrappy 1-0s against Andorra).
John, you’re right about last night’s goal. The keeper probably should have had it but a downward header (if it’s on target) is never easy for a ‘keeper. Dobrotka did everything right. And there’s another thing. I take George’s word for it that Sebo was crap – but then a defender wanders forward for a set-piece and comes up with the goods.
Don’t reckon you play too much football (sorry, soccer) George. It was a lovely header and difficult for the goalkeeper because it was right at the ground when it met him. Sebo should have done better, especially running alone on goal, but at least he is a good cheerleader.
Mmmm , saw this game last night , whilst at friends house for a beer . Napolean once said , yes I know this man is good General, but is he lucky . Weiss was the lucky General last night . The Slovan performance was sadly lacking any real vive, or effort on goal and it was only thanks to a luckluster performance from Roma, more akin to a pre season friendly game, that they did not score 3 or 4 goals .
Sebo gets worse, everytime I see him play and is more suited to joining the stands with the yobs , who he was cheerleading at the end like some hero. He had two chances the entire game , one he took too long to get his shot in , when clean through and the defender blocked his effort , two he scuffed his shot when 6 yards out , with the goal at his mercy . The actual goal 10 mins from time , suprised everyone, even the guy that scored it , as seemed to hit him in the face, rather than he made any contact with his forehead. The Keeper then made a total hash of what should have been an easy save by letting the ball squeeze under his body .
I expect Roma to run out easy winners in the 2nd leg 3 or 4 to nil. No one can be that luck twice in row and Slovan have no one who looks like scoring .