With all teams having played each other once, the Corgoň Liga season is now a third of the way through. Yet, Slovan Bratislava’s three-point lead at the top apart, no discernible pattern has developed yet. Just six points divide second-placed Žilina from Nitra in 11th. And Trnava, who last week looked to be launching a recovery from their terrible start, are once again in sole occupancy of the league’s relegation spot.
Slovan drew 1-1 at Banská Bystrica on Saturday in a game both coaches described as of ‘very high quality’. Certainly the goals, which arrived within five minutes of each other mid-way through the second half, were superbly taken. Erik Grendel spotted a gap between two Bystrica defenders, ran into it, and finished with the outside of his right foot to give Slovan the lead. Ukrainian striker Viktor Sachňuk then gave Matús Putnocký no chance after running onto a nicely-waited through ball. That goal gave particular satisfaction to Bystrica coach Norbert Hrnčár, who had selected Sachňuk following concerns over his team’s failure to convert chances. His opposite number Samuel Slovák felt Slovan had had the better of the game, but acknowledged the talents of the Bystrica youngsters. ‘I know a lot of them from the Slovakia Under-21s. I know what they can do,’ he said.
Košice’s Ján Kozák and Žilina’s Frans Adelaar were two more coaches in agreement following their sides’ 1-1 draw on Saturday. ‘I don’t think we’ve seen a game as good as that in Košice for two or three years,’ said Kozák. ‘Both sides were excellent,’ agreed Adelaar. Uroš Matič gave Košice an early lead after being allowed to run unchallenged to the edge of the Žilina penalty-area. Serge Akakpo equalised after 70 minutes with a diving header from Róbert Pich’s cross. Žilina will be the more disappointed of the two sides, having hit the woodwork twice. And, while they are the first team to earn a point at Košice this season, they will also be conscious that the hosts had been weakened by injuries, most significantly to playmaker Kamil Kuzma.
Vion Zlaté Moravce won for the fourth time in five games, thrashing Trenčín 4-1. Visiting defender Rodriguez Da Silva helped them on their way with a 13th minute own goal, after which Michal Škvarka assumed the leading role. On 33 minutes, the on-loan youngster turned brilliantly in the area before shooting home to make it 2-0. With an hour gone, his chip to the far post left Andrej Hodek with the easy task of heading into an empty net. Ľubomír Bernáth added a fourth, before Peter Mazan put Trenčín on the scoresheet. ‘All this game was missing was a 10,000 crowd,’ said Vion coach Juraj Jarábek. ‘Congratulations to Vion on their performance,’ replied Trenčín’s Adrián Guľa. ‘We were respectable sparring-partners in the first-half. In the second, they were able to play as they wanted.’
Spartak Myjava are starting to enjoy themselves at the top level. On Saturday, it was 0-0 after an even 65 minutes in Ružomberok. Then, the newly-promoted side produced a four-goal blitz. Goals from Peter Sládek (two, including a penalty), Roman Častulín and Pavol Kosík did the damage. Referring to Kosík and Michal Dian, Myjava coach Ladislav Hudec felt it was the experience of the substitutes he sent on in the second-half that made the difference. Ruža’s Ladislav Šimčo, meanwhile, described the result as ‘cruel’. He now needs to find a way to reverse his team’s fortunes ; they have gone six games without a win and are slipping down the table.
Prešov v Trnava made for an unlikely bottom-of-the-table clash, given that Prešov had not even conceded a goal in their previous home games, while Trnava came into the fixture on the back of two successive wins. It was the easterners who prevailed, thanks to two goals from Andrij Ševčuk, another Ukrainian striker. In between his two strikes, Trnava did become the first visiting side to breach Prešov’s defence this season, through Erik Sabo’s penalty. Home defender Michal Krajník was sent-off for the foul that led to the spot-kick, but, as Trnava coach Pavel Hoftych acknowledged, Prešov still looked the stronger side as the game wore on. Perhaps Trnava were feeling the absence of Miroslav Karhan, missing from their line-up for the first time since his return to the club last summer.
Nitra have had a rotten two weeks since what we might reasonably call the ‘Seydouba Soumah affair’. Their two main shareholders resigned last week, apparently in protest at the club’s treatment at the hands of the SFZ disciplinary committee following the fateful Trnava game. A home fixture with improving Senica on Sunday failed to bring respite, as a 70th minute goal from Jaroslav Diviš earned the visitors a 1-0 win. The game also defied tentative signs of improvements in Corgoň Liga attendances, as just 880 turned up to watch it.
Banská Bystrica 1 Slovan 1
Košice 1 Žilina 1
Zlaté Moravce 4 Trenčín 1
Ružomberok 0 Myjava 4
Prešov 2 Trnava 1
Nitra 0 Senica 1