Dec 01 2010

AS Trencin v MFK Zemplin Michalovce

Here at Britski Belasi, we try our best to cover all aspects of Slovak football, and what better way to draw domestic on-the-field matters for 2010 to a close than with a report from the 1st Division from Brno-based Ralph Davies?  Ralph is a big fan of FC Zbrojovka Brno in the Czech Republic as well as the Welsh National team who he follows throughout Europe.  Last weekend Ralph braved the cold and headed over the border to Trencin to sample some genuine Slovak music & football.  I’m delighted to post his account from Trencin here on the blog, and Ralph mentions a couple of names worth looking out for in the future – including possibly yet another in the seemingly endless supply of talented Slovak goalkeepers!

I had already made up my mind to go and see Zilina’s finest indie rockers The Swan Bride at the legendary Klub Luc on the Friday, so when I was told that I could also spend the  early part of Saturday afternoon watching 2nd Division Slovak football, I didn’t have to think twice about about driving across the border  from Brno to Trencin.

The Friday evening passed without a single sighting of an AS Trencin fan and with no footballing interest from my hosts for the weekend .   So, I headed out  into the cold to the delightful Štadión na Sihoti for the clash against 5th placed MFK Zemplin Michalovce.  The  first thing you notice about the stadium are the classic Eastern European floodlights, the €2.50 ticket was worth the money just for a closer look at the lights to be perfectly honest.  They are best described by the undisputed masters of this kind of business European Football Weekends and The Ball is Round as being ‘giraffe-like’ or ‘lollipop floodlights’  .. they really are.

After  17 games,  AS Trencin are 10pts clear of FC Petrzalka in the 2nd Division and looking for a return to the top flight. Michalovce are in 5th place and now managed by Vlastimil Petrzela who is as famous for his time spent at the roulette wheel as he is for his talents as a football coach. I have to say that I had no previous knowledge of the Eastern Slovakian side and was surprised to see him take his place in the away dugout. Previously he had managed both Sparta and Slavia and led Zenit St Petersburg to 2nd place in the Russian league. His return to Czech Republic had seen him coach both Sigma Olomouc and Viktoria Zizkov to midtable mediocrity. I wish him all the luck at Michalovce.

The last time I watched a game in minus temperatures,  I remember for several reasons- that grog is no replacement for Bovril, that my mate Chris was so cold that he asked he could borrow one of my gloves and that Zbrojovka Brno scored 3 goals at home for the first time in 2 seasons.  As both teams took to the artificial pitch, I just hoped I would survive the artic weather conditions and maybe see a goal or two.

In the opening  10 minutes, Trencin could have been 2 nil up, both chances falling to Argentinian forward, Depetris.  However , the highly talented 16yr old Miloslav Breda in the Michalovce goal was equal to anything the Trencin forward line could fire in at him. Finally, in the 27th minute the pressure on Zemplin’s goal finally told. A freekick was awarded on the corner of the area after a foul on the irrepressible Adi. Hovarth hit a cross into the box, which completely missed everbody and ended up in the Michalovce goal. A much deserved 1-0 lead. And  5 minutes later it was 2-0,Slovak U21 Filip Hlohovsky played a ball towards the penalty spot, Adi headed the ball down into the path of Samuel Stefanik who sent an unstoppable half-volley into the roof on the net. If there had been any away fans there, they surely would have been fearing a repeat of the 5-1 drubbing they received at home in August.

Step forward Filip Sencerin, a forward on loan from Kosice , who clearly had other ideas. Within 7 minutes he had brought his team level.  In 34th minute, Michalovce were awarded a free-kick outside the area, the ball was touched to Sencerin who smacked it into the top corner of the Trencin net.  Minutes later he weaved his way into the penalty box and fired a ball into 6yrd box where Brazillian Jonathan Bernando Mariano was waiting to pounce. 2-2 and game on. Minutes later it could have been 3-2, once again Sencerin finding space to fire a shot just wide of the goal. Trencin needed the half-time whistle and I needed a hot drink and a half-time sausage. I am sure I heard the relief around the ground when the referee blew for half time.Some fans headed for the warmth of Pub Kozel,  I went for a closer inspection of the floodlights.

The best chances  at the beginning of the 2nd half fell to Michalovce, but it was Trencin who finally found the net again in 53rd minute.  Adi controlled and turned neatly on the edge of the box, before shooting low into the bottom corner -3-2.  As Michalovce bombed forward in search of an equaliser, gaps appeared in there defence and further chances were missed by the Trencin front 2.  Sencerin could have scored again for Michalovce, however he just lacked the composure needed in front of goal and quite possibly this is the reason why Kosice have sent him out on loan. Remember the name, as I am absolutely sure we will hear more about him in the future.  The home side had clear chances in the final minutes, but Adi’s goal proved to be the winner in an entertaining game.

Overall, I was impressed with the standard of the league. Having spent the season watching Brno languishing at the bottom of the Gambrinus liga, I wasn’t expecting to see an open game of football in the second tier of the Slovak league. Vlastimil Petrzela stated that it was the best his side had played all season and that it had been a „beautiful game“ for 729 fans that braved the cold. Who am I to argue?

Top stuff Ralph, look forward to travelling the other way over the border in the not too distant future, hopefully when it’s a tad warmer too!

You can follow Ralph on Twitter!

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “AS Trencin v MFK Zemplin Michalovce”

  1.   James Baxteron 01 Dec 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Nice one! I can’t normally get excited about Czech or Slovak bands that sing in English but Swan Bride have got something about them. Guess I’m showing a bit of age when I say that Jarek Nohavica was my best night out in Zilina for ages.

    Trencin look to have the I Liga all wrapped up now. The artificial pitch is the only thing that detracts from the character of that ground but I suppose the game would have been either unplayable or a total farce without it.

    I sympathise re the conditions and just hope it warms up before Zilina v Spartak Moscow next week. Having paid 25 Euros for the ticket, I have to be there but freezing your nuts off watching a meaningless fixture has limited appeal.

  2.   britskibelasion 01 Dec 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Can’t say I’ve ever heard of Swan Bride to be honest, maybe one day I’ll get the opportunity to enjoy a concert of theirs. As long as it’s combined with a football match I guess you can’t go wrong! Really interesting report and pleased to hear (not for the first time) that the standard in the 1st Division isn’t too bad.

    It does seem as though Depretis and Adi are a bit good for this league but I guess none of us have any objections to Trencin and their beautiful ground returning to the Corgon Liga (save perhaps for the artificial pitch ;-)

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