Feb 27 2011

Pernis v Kello : Slovaks keeping Scotland honest ..

Published by at 7:10 pm under Guest and tagged: , ,

I am pretty sure that fans of Slovak football will agree that this kind of article is what makes our blog tick; Andy Hudson, friend of the site, football traveller and all-round good bloke, travelled to Hearts v Dundee United and offered  to check out the Marian Kello v Dusan Pernis Slovak goalkeeping rivalry exclusively for Britski Belasi:

It was the battle of the Slovak number ones; two players who have been vital for their teams this season and who are now battling it out to heap pressure on the national team’s incumbent of the goalkeeping jersey, Jan Mucha. This battle wasn’t being played out in Slovakia though. It wasn’t even being played out in Eastern Europe. The battlefield was on the Gorgy Road in Edinburgh; the location was Tynecastle Stadium and Dusan Pernis’ Dundee United had travelled to the Scottish capital to take on Marian Kello’s Heart of Midlothian.

Kello, who won his first cap in the recent international against Luxembourg, has been in fantastic form over the last few months and has been one of the reasons why Hearts find themselves comfortably in third place; until consecutive defeats against the two teams above them, Celtic and Rangers, they even held hopes of gatecrashing the Old Firm’s grip on the table. The national team head coach Vladimir Weiss has been due to watch Kello, who at the time had kept six clean sheets out of the previous seven games, in December but the big freeze in the UK scuppered that plan.

Pernis was omitted from Weiss’ squad for the foggy game in Luxembourg, having previously been a member of the World Cup party and capped 3 times. During his first year in Scotland he was instrumental in Dundee United winning the Scottish FA Cup, consistently delivering top notch performances.

It was Kello who started as the busier Slovak on a cold Tynecastle day. Within five minutes he was picking the ball out of the net following a right wing United corner. Hesitating amongst a stuttering defence, Kello was beaten at his near post by a deft flick only for the referee to disallow the ‘goal’ due to some minor pushing. It wasn’t long before Kello was beaten again and this time there was no referee turning saviour. A right wing cross was met with a looping header from 9 yards out and Kello, caught in no-man’s land between his line and the forward, could only throw himself backwards as the ball casually arced over him and into the top corner of the goal.

Hearts came back into the game after falling behind but found Pernis in great form saving from Skacel when the forward was one-on-one and making a good save low down from an edge-of-the-box shot. Both ‘keepers noticeably instructed their defence to keep shape, especially Pernis who saw his captain, and United’s only fit centre back, limp off injured during the first half.

Throughout the match Pernis displayed great kicking and United launched a number of attacks as a result of their keeper hitting it long and accurate. Kello, after the poor start, proved to be quick off his line and confident with crosses.

The two Slovaks were crucial to the final score of 2-1 to Hearts. On the stroke of half-time Pernis spilled a tame shot straight to Skacel who stroked in the equaliser. The original shot had come from the right edge of the United box and Pernis, although down comfortably to collect the ball, allowed it to slip from his grasp; surprisingly considering the lack of pace on the shot. Hearts scored the winner with two minutes remaining when a Zaliukas header gave Pernis not chance.

However, the real drama was still to come. Deep in injury time the referee awarded a penalty to United. There were seconds remaining; the away side needed to convert to have a real chance of using their games in hand to catch up with Hearts in the table. But Hearts have Marian Kello. The penalty was hit firm; Kello’s palm, stretching upwards, proved firmer and won the points for his side.

At the final whistle it was Pernis who reached Kello first; little was said over a brief handshake. Kello believes he can improve as a player and be recognised further by his country and Pernis won’t give up his place in the national team without a fight. It was the Hearts man who came out on top this time but with both ‘keepers amongst the top three in Scotland it’s a fight that has plenty of running time left.

Andy Hudson is on Twitter, oh yes; follow him!  RIGHT HERE

Andy is also an inspirational groundhopper; he does grounds, he does them hard, and he ALWAYS  writes them up:  check out his blog, GANNIN’ AWAY

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Pernis v Kello : Slovaks keeping Scotland honest ..”

  1.   James Baxteron 27 Feb 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks for this, it’s a great write-up. Unusual for Pernis to make a mistake like that – certainly didn’t happen often when he was with Zilina. Good that the two of them are playing regularly anyway, especially given Mucha’s total lack of action at Everton. Anyone know why that it is?

  2.   Heart of Midlothian « Gannin' Awayon 22 Jul 2011 at 1:26 am

    [...] battle, a feast, a potential orgasm of a clash to cast eyes upon; the SFA computer had given me the battle of the Slovak goalkeepers. To Hell with the Old Firm. Of course, there’s more to the story than that. The Old Firm game [...]

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