Aug 04 2011

Slovan 0-2 APOEL; too many questions, not enough answers

Published by at 3:35 am under Uncategorized and tagged:

I am gutted.  Tonight I am going to express my feelings immediately after the match.  APOEL thoroughly deserved to win but there were some things that really need explanation.  Normally I would wait until the next day before posting but this is wrangling too hard to simply ‘sleep on it for a night’.

There were 2 different headlines today in the Sports columns; yes, a big focus on the Slovan-APOEL match, but also the story of Slovan’s coach Karel Jarolim leaving Slovan for Saudi Arabia. WHY THESE TWO STORIES ON THE SAME BLOODY DAY???   A friend asked on twitter if there was any truth in the Jarolim rumour.  Naively I  said I thought it would depend largely on the outcome of tonight’s match.  RUBBISH!  Of course not, Jarolim’s head was already counting the dollars way before kick off tonight.

I am so disappointed.  We built ourselves up for this and we had no chance of ever winning. Tactically Slovan were totally inept.  We gifted this to APOEL, who, it must be said were totally in control at all times.  I have no real problem with the selected starting line-up for Slovan, although I would never play Stepanovsky in a more advanced role than Bagayoko down the same flank.  Anyway, play like they did in the first half; no problem, it worked, we were 3/4 of the way there, but what the hell were we doing in the 2nd half???

How on earth can you continue to play Sebo as a lone striker when you’re obviously creating no chances?  I wrote in my preview piece how Halenar has found some form recently, but why was he not brought on tonight?  There is no way you’re ever going to win a match like that playing a lone striker [Sebo] upfront, it was so blindingly obvious.  I have no real criticism of any individual players, just the coach and the tactics.  Milinkovic came on too late, Guede started playing an advanced role, WHY????  Play a proper player in a proper position.It all went wrong within the space of 5 minutes.  The goal, I remember being a mistake from Stepanovsky [again] and moments later, Erik Grendel sent off for a 2nd yellow.  No complaints about that, it was rash, naive, actually downright stupid from Grendel to make such a challenge, but he’s young and he will learn.  BUT after the sending off, Jarolim changed NOTHING!!! This was ridiculous, we were 0-1 down, playing with 10 men and still Filip Sebo was chasing defenders arses from left to right, back and forth.

I wrote in my preview that I had no doubt Slovan would get their chances.  RUBBISH!  Slovan didn’t have one significant chance in the whole match, this was really awful.  Karim Guede had a feeble shot on goal from 30 yards which I honestly remember as being Slovan’s first attempt on target.   That was well into the second half. Jiri Kladrubsky, what was going on?

The atmosphere was good.  Credit to APOEL. Credit to Slovan; the fans didn’t stop singing all night.  The official attendance was over 9,000.  This was a proper European night.  Unfortunately though, tactically, Slovan looked like complete amateurs, Karel Jarolim, enjoy the money in Saudi, but you really should have a lot to answer for.  WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING???

Quote: Filip Sebo, forward Slovan: “First I want to thank the fantastic audience. At the same time, I have to say that [in] Europe [you] simply can not play only one striker. There is no point in deluding ourselves as APOEL confirmed that their class is better.

Good luck to APOEL fans

Slovan did well too...

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “Slovan 0-2 APOEL; too many questions, not enough answers”

  1.   Michaelon 04 Aug 2011 at 5:13 am

    Hi, I am an APOEL fan and i know my team well. we are a good attacking team and i believe with the players we have the last 2-3 years we are a strong team. Slovan for me played the best strategic game it could against us (defensing (at a very good level)) . You have a very good team!!!!!! Remember that APOEL didnt loose from Chelsea in Stamford Bridge , were APOEL scored 2 goal (2-2) in a season when NO OTHER TEAM scored even a goal from the beginning of season 2010-2011) and also didnt loose from athletico Madrid (all this in champions league). I simply wright this to give credit to your wonderful team you have which i believe in. Slovan Bratislava!!!!!!

  2.   Akison 04 Aug 2011 at 6:35 am

    Hi i am an Apoel fan aswell and i would like to say that i agree with what u said and i hope you guys win the championship again next year so you can have another chance for CL. Respect from Cyprus and look up for Apoel in times to

  3.   Apoelon 04 Aug 2011 at 10:05 am

    Well, have in mind that part of APOEL success is that the coach and the president of the club are fully focused and honest with the team and the fans. Most stories you hear nowdays in Europe is of moneyhunting coaches and presidents using their teams..

    Apoel CYPRUS

  4.   britskibelasion 04 Aug 2011 at 10:08 am

    Michael / Akis, thanks for your comments. Maybe you are right, APOEL were simply too strong so Slovan had no choice but to play defensively, but what I was so upset about was that our coach did nothing to try to get back in the game. I know the sending off came at exactly the wrong time, but he still could have changed the formation to at least have 2 strikers for the last 30 minutes. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but at least we could have seen that he cared about the match.

    I must admit; based on the first half I agree with your comments. Defensively Slovan did look quite comfortable, but that was never going to win us the tie. You have some very good players and obviously you have a much better track record and experience in Europe than Slovan.

    I am now worried what is going to happen to Slovan. Coach is leaving, transfer window is still open. Filip Sebo was arguing with someone in the crowd at the end, the whole feeling was not good.

    Anyway, good luck to APOEL, I really hope you guys make it to the group stages again. Well done to your fans too …

  5.   George Mon 04 Aug 2011 at 11:44 am

    I saved my money, watched it on TV and had a small bet at a 0-2 win …and that last second goal, earned me a few quid , so thank you APOEL !

    This team looked a class above Slovan in the first leg and I wonder how they did not win by 5 or 6 goals . Slovan’s defending was at times comical in that game …

    Slovan were dire last night, and stats dont normally lie , as after 80 mins, 24 fouls by Slovan , TWO shots on goal from Slovan, 2 corners ( to 7 from APOEL ) and 70% of the play possession in APOEL’s hands! BTW Filip Sebo, just seemed to get fatter as the game when on …no wonder he has been a failure ever since he left Artmedia , Mr plain lazy .

    The club need players with actual brains, not a coach !

  6.   britskibelasion 04 Aug 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Yes George, the stats definitely tell the story. Sebo huffed and puffed, I don’t think he’s fat, in fact I think he’s the fittest player in the squad, rather he couldn’t fulfil that lone-striker role in a match against high quality opponents. He is a lot of things, lazy is not one of them.

    You are right though, kind of sums up why he’s never made it abroad. Of course I am happy when Sebo is banging in the goals, but I have always said Slovan have other goalscoring options, unfortunately last night they decided not to use them. I actually noticed that Halenar wasn’t even on the bench, so even the reserve selection was defensive from Jarolim, that is what I don’t understand.

    The UEFA site claimed Slovan “piled players foward in search of an equaliser” .. did I miss that part?

  7.   George Mon 04 Aug 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Sebo is still quick, but a huge pudding when it comes to creating any sniffer chances as he once did for a season at Artmedia. He just does not now have the knack of getting his frame in front of the last defender or seeing a move creating and moving into position…rather like guy who scored the first APOEL goal .

    The Greeks came and do what all Greek teams do in Europe, if you let them, push the ball around well, break with skill and creativity. Slovan needed to unsettle them and needed an early goal to make them nervous and start getting on each others backs. But Slovan failed, they always gave the ball away far too much ( as normal ) and the passing in the last third of the field was awful .

    As for the UEFA site, I would never believe all what they say and I actually think they copy work from other reporters :-)

  8.   James Baxteron 04 Aug 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Didn’t see the game at all but one thing that does seem clear is that ‘resting’ players against Zilina didn’t pay off. Even at the time, that struck me as showing disrespect for the side who are still likely to be your biggest domestic rivals.

    Sebo is a class above in the domestic league, with or without a co-striker but has still not answered the question of whether he can do it against better sides – as APOEL clearly were. A footballing version of cricket’s flat-track bully, I’m beginning to fear.

  9.   James Baxteron 04 Aug 2011 at 1:11 pm

    BTW Any chance Halenar was still suspended?

  10.   George Mon 04 Aug 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Well there is not much class in this league at all . That is why I gave up watching .Sebo has yet to prove anything …..and has failed overseas and has not really even made the national team in front of the big nosed, sticky out ears, jugging lone striker idiot ….Yes Sebo huffs & puffs a few times in the game , but he lacks the eye of the tiger of a goal scorer, say of a Gerd Mullar, Dennis Law, or Ian Wright .

    I do also feel you have been harsh of Coach Karel Jarolim. I mean why stay at rubbish team like Slovan?? Rusty stadium, often comic, brainless players and no cash to improve the team, with some real quality .

  11.   Stary Jazvecon 04 Aug 2011 at 3:12 pm

  12.   George Mon 09 Aug 2011 at 12:01 pm

    So a drawn in a k.o round with Roma for the Europa league, Weiss becomes manager , a win over hapless Trnava and other major news like a penalty win for Trn …….and the Blogger chooses to take a holiday ?

    I guess you know what it is like to be the news reporter that took a Buddhest meditation holiday in Tibet , when 9/11 was all happening ?

  13.   Christoforos Pon 09 Aug 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I am an APOEL fan, and went to the stadium in the home leg. I was very disappointed in my team for not creating enough chances on goal which was hindered by a very good defensive strategy from Slovan and in general it is a known fact that APOEL struggles when the other teams plays massive defences. however i was confident for the away match as the difference in class was obvious.
    On the other hand in Cyprus we all heard that Slovan had high caliper midfield attackers and was extremely dangerous in attack so that got me a bit worried as I expected Slovan to play more openly and try and attack. I was most worried about fast counter-attacks.
    When I saw the match from the TV I could not believe that Slovan was still defending like that and when the first half ended I told my buddies: Ok now I am very worried because we gave away far to much energy trying to score a goal on the first half and we would be vulnerable to those counter-attacks we have been expecting but nothing happened which puzzled me. They left us the ball play our game as we wished until eventually we scored and when the red card came I knew the game was over. Still I though to myself is it possible they will keep playing like that or will they decide to attack? (By then I was not worried anymore) but it was interesting to see tactics because I know my team very well and I know for sure that if our opponents try to attack the will be exposed on the back and they will concede goals (there have been cases in the Cypriot league where teams decided to attack and in a matter of a quarter they conceded 3 goals and this did not happen we lowly league teams but big rivals).
    So yes maybe defense was the best option for Slovan but they took it to extreme and didn’t even try to counter-attack.
    Yes Apoel is a better team but I think if Slovan played correctly the counter-attack football then we would be in serious trouble. This is your coach fault he just sat on the bench like nothing was going on and was happy to loose the game by a small margin. If you want to progress against bigger teams (and APOEL is not so big if you compare with other European teams) you must take some calculated risks. Defending massively will just ensure you loose by a small margin. In the past when we were still trying to overcome 2nd rounds (going to the 3rd round was quite an achievement then) we took baby steps from massive defending to counterattacks and now we are trying to level the play with passing game.
    These take time to achieve but it is a matter of mentality.
    One last thing. Slovan is a good team overall with very fast players who play between them very well. However they approached the game with a completely wrong mentality. Even fans took a wrong turn in mentality putting unnecessarily pressure on the team to succeed without really knowing their opponent and the team got scared and went out scared. On that note I would like to say. Keep a level head and your nose down, concentrate on how to outsmart the other team and keep your expectations to their proper proportions and just raise the bar bit by bit. I think you still have another match in Europe and wish you all the best since you have a pretty decent team that works well but you need to take calculated risks in order to advance.
    When attacking is not an option then neither is massive defense.

  14.   George Mon 10 Aug 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I always try to allow ‘something in the translation’ when I read comments from a non English speaking person …But Christo , did you read a book of English metaphor and of stating the bleeding obvious, before you wrote your post ?

    Fact is , Slovan are a crap footballing side , full of half witted, slow, lazy and unfit footballers , most of whom have the tactical IQ of a goldfish and could not even trap a bag of cement .

    With Weiss now in charge, the quality of the play and the quality of the team squad may improve ……but to expect then to take calculated risks in order to advance and when attacking is not an option, then neither is massive defense , during the whole 90 minute thought progress, is a bit like asking Wayne Rooney to take elocution lessons, whilst having his pipe blown .

  15.   britskibelasion 10 Aug 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Don’t worry about George; he likes to be provocative with his comments! Slovan’s players may be lacking a bit of European nouse and experience, and weren’t prepared properly or good enough to win the home match against APOEL. They are certainly not unfit and lazy, in my opinion, but George is entitled to his!

    Thanks for taking the time to read & comment on the blog. You obviously agreed with some of my points on Slovan’s tactics, and that was good to hear from an APOEL fan.
    Good luck in the next match!

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