At least Saturday’s Trnava v Žilina game was all about the football. At the corresponding fixture last season, Žilina’s ‘support’ was augmented by a number of Polish hooligans and there was trouble before, during and after the match. The Poles didn’t carry out their threat to make their presence felt again, so all was quiet off the field. On the pitch, Miroslav Karhan gave Trnava a 16th minute lead with a fantastic shot direct from a free-kick. But Žilina turned things round before half-time, as Róbert Pich and Momodou Ceesay finished off moves initiated by captain Miroslav Barčík. Žilina then saw out the second period for a timely win ahead of next week’s top-of-the-table clash with Slovan Bratislava. As for Trnava, this was their third successive defeat and they remain rooted to the bottom of the league.
Senica’s excellent form shows no sign of letting up. They found visiting Prešov tough to break down in the first-half on Saturday, but the creative talents of Juraj Piroška, who set up Peter Pavlík for the all-important first goal after 56 minutes, ultimately proved crucial. Further chances came and went, until Lamine Diarrassouba made it 2-0 inthe closing stages. But it is surely no co’incidence that Senica’s remarkable recovery from a poor start to the season – they are on a run of five successive wins – was launched after Piroška’s return to the club from Slovan.
Vion Zlaté Moravce are another side in fine form. A 3-1 win over Myjava on Saturday keeps them just one point behind Žilina and Senica. Goals from Ľubomír Bernáth and Lukáš Kováč saw Vion go 2-0 up within the first-half hour. Matej Siva pulled one back before half-time to set up an interesting second period but, after spells of Myjava pressure, Adrián Candrák put the result beyond doubt. ‘This was a good game for the spectators but not for me as a coach,’ said Myjava’s Ladislav Hudec afterwards. ‘We conceded goals we should have prevented.’
Trenčín have only sporadically been at their best this season and they had to settle for another home draw on Saturday – 1-1 against Banská Bystrica. Argentinian midfielder Ivan Santiago Diaz put the hosts ahead with a header that compatriot and team-mate David Depetris would have been proud of. But Bystrica earned a point through Milan Ferenčík’s goal twenty minutes from full-time. ‘We weren’t short of ideas but we lacked concentration at times,’ said Trenčín coach Adrián Guľa. ‘And you also have to say that Bystrica did a good job.’
Ružomberok were on a run of seven winless games going into the weekend fixtures, so they might have been happy that their Saturday opponents were crisis-hitNitra. It wasNitrawho took an early lead, however, as Andrej Ivančík’s low shot beat keeper Lukáš Zich at his near post. Zich will have been happy to watch from the other end as Mulumba Mukendi turned things round in the second-half, courtesy of two fine headed goals. Later, both coaches agreed that the game had been a battle rather than an exhibition of attractive football. Ladislav Jurkemík also concurred with Ladislav Šimčo’s assertion that Ruža had deserved the points. ‘We were caught sleeping twice and got punished twice,’ said Jurkemík.
Slovan rounded the weekend off with a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Košice. The game was effectively decided inside the first half-hour, thanks to goals from Nicolas Gorosito, Lester Peltier and Marko Milinković. Dávid Škutka pulled one back for the visitors after 76 minutes, but they had given themselves far too much to do. Just like neighbours Prešov, Košice are formidable at home but struggle badly away. As for Slovan, the result is just what they needed after an awkward week off the field. They have been involved in a dispute with Digi Šport and some of their fellow Corgoň Liga clubs over attempts to rearrange their home game with Trnava, which fans had threatened to boycott when the TV company announced plans to screen it live on Friday 2nd November. It was also reported on Friday that Filip Šebo has played his last game for the club after refusing to sign a new contract. Clearly, however, there are still goals in the Slovan team, and they go into next week’s game at Žilina with a three-point lead at the top of the league.
Trnava 1 Žilina 2
Senica 2 Prešov 0
Zlaté Moravce 3 Myjava 1
Trenčín 1 Banská Bystrica 1
Ružomberok 2 Nitra 1
Slovan 3 Košice 1