May 14 2011

Slovan a step closer: Matchday 31

Published by at 10:52 pm under Domestic and tagged:

Ahead of this match away in the East of Slovakia, Slovan’s players offered a gesture of thanks to the fans for their support over recent weeks by paying for their coach travel to the match.  I’m not sure how many made the trip, but those who did will be surely enjoying the long journey home.   Slovan struggled for an hour, but a red card penalty incident, which I haven’t yet seen, ultimately broke Presov, Igor Zofcak converting from the spot.  Shortly after, Bozic scored the cup winners’ second goal and Slovan eased home as Presov had another man sent off.

James Baxter will no doubt have plenty [or perhaps not much] to say about Dubnica 1-0 Zilina played out in front of just 985 fans.  Dubnica really needed a favour from DAC at home to Kosice although with an inferior goal difference, their chances of survival are not really affected by whether the current gap is 1 or, the actual 2 points.  Regardless of other results, this was a big win for Dubnica, but with Slovan potentially in a position to win the title when Dubnica travel to the capital next week, they will be very lucky if they’re still in with a shout of survival on the final day at home gainst Dukla.

A point against Kosice was actually enough for DAC who have confirmed Corgon Liga status for next season, a big relief for the well supported club given their atrocious spring-season form.  With 4 consecutive defeats, Presov are still not safe, but as mentioned, with Dubnica travelling to Slovan, you feel they are the definite favourites for the drop with Kosice nervously looking over their shoulder.  Maybe James will predict a Dubnica upset at Slovan next week, but somehow I can’t see it happening.

Senica kept their title hopes alive with a 3-2 home win against Nitra, but unfortunately for them it does seem as though the home match against Slovan was the decider in this season’s title race.  If Slovan win their game in hand on Tuesday against a Trnava side who’s fans are currently boycotting all fixtures, they will move 4 points clear of Senica, which does indeed mean that the title could be secured a game early at home against Dubnica.  In another gesture of renewed solidarity between Slovan Bratislava the club and it’s fans, it has been agreed that all ticket revenue from sales to the ultras section for the match against Trnava will be put towards the purchase of new flags and banners ahead of next season’s European [one hopes] campaign.

A week after winning the Cup in a dramatic final against Zilina, culminating in a penalty shoot-out, the good times do seem to be slowly coming back at Slovan, even if the club must soldier on playing home games at Pasienky.

With all due respect to the 1,195 spectators and the players and officials from MFK Ruzomberok and Vion Zlate Moravce,  it seems hardly worth mentioning their 0-0 draw this afternoon.  In front of what must have been their lowest crowd for years [982] Trnava succumbed to a 0-2 home defeat to a Dukla Banska Bystrica side whose inconsistency may ultimately cost them the European place they achieved last season.  I also can’t understand the timing of the Trnava fans’ boycott.  Given Zilina’s awful run of form, it would have been more than feasible for Trnava to capitalise and sneak into 3rd place and a guaranteed European place.

Perhaps someone can clarify the rules here, but with Slovakia having 1 CL qualifying place and 3 EL qualifying places, it seems as though 4th place will secure a European place as the cup final featured Zilina & Slovan.  So the race is still on, with just 3 points between Trnava and Dukla, one of these teams will presumably sneak through the back-door into the early rounds of the Europa League, already just a few weeks away!  Given Dukla’s dismal performance against Georgian opposition last season, part of me does hope it is Trnava although this is a story for another day ..

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One Response to “Slovan a step closer: Matchday 31”

  1.   James Baxteron 15 May 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Good write-up and I’m happy to be able to add that the Slovan penalty at Presov was as blatant as you’ll get. Sebo was just about to tap the ball into an empty net from about two yards out when the defender grabbed him round the waist and wrestled him to the ground. There were earlier claims for a pen too when Sebo went down in the box but I only saw one clip of that incident and it was hard to tell whether there’d been a foul or not.

    You’ll think I’m kidding but both coaches seemed excited by the 0-0 between Ruzomberok and Vion, each praising the other’s team as ‘high quality’ opponents.

    The Trnava boycott struck me when it started as both principled and a nice gesture of loyalty to Radolsky. I don’t know what all the issues are but one was obviously the constant coach merry-go-round. Now, though, you begin to wonder if they’re not cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

    Will save Dubnica-Za for later – it didn’t exactly pulse with excitement, as I’m sure you can imagine…

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