Nov 05 2011

Corgon Liga Round 15 Preview

Published by at 3:10 pm under Domestic and tagged:

There was no Corgoň Liga preview from me last week but the Round 14 matches were interesting enough, if not always for the right reasons. The highlights included bottom club Prešov’s  2-0 win over leaders Trnava, Ružomberok recording their fourth win in five games,   despite playing 72 minutes of their match at Nitra with ten men, Košice scoring more than one goal in a game for the first time since April and Slovan Bratislava overcoming Žilina with a late goal to move closer to the league’s summit and suggest that their domestic ‘crisis’ really is behind them. Rather less positively, seven red cards were flourished, including three at the Trenčín-Senica game and two at Slovan-Žilina. The SFZ disciplinary committee is going to have a busy week. I would prefer to let them get on with their deliberations in peace and concentrate my attention on this weekend’s fixtures, most of which have an intriguing look about them.

Nitra’s home game with Trenčín is a clash of two sides needing to pick up points to keep them clear of the bottom end of the table. Nitra will sense an opportunity to put their failings against ‘Ruža’ behind them and end a worrying run of eight matches without a win. Trenčín saw their unbeaten home record ended by Senica last Saturday and have not travelled well all season, though they did earn an unexpected point at Ružomberok two weeks ago. It should be close but I think Nitra will edge it.   

Ružomberok must have been delighted with their last result, especially since they were 1-0 down at the time of Ján Kostelný’s sending-off and had started the game without their top scorer Pavol Masaryk. They now face a home fixture against DAC Dunajská Streda, who returned to the bottom of the league last Saturday courtesy of a 2-0 home defeat by Vion Zlaté Moravce. DAC are not a lost cause just yet and are capable of inflicting shock defeats on teams from the top end of the table but Ruža seem to be in too good a run to allow such a thing to happen to them.

Zlaté Moravce ought to fancy their chances of following up their win at DAC with another three points at home to Košice. Their visitors from the east will be in good spirits themselves, having come from behind to beat Banská Bystrica 3-1 last weekend. After failing to register more than a single goal in any of their previous 17 league outings, Košice scored three in the last 35 minutes of that game. It’s difficult to see them managing more than one at the most this time round, though, and the solid-looking Vion side should have enough about them to claim the three points.

Bystrica, who must be the most frustrating team in the league (not that there isn’t stiff competition for that title), now find themselves at home to another eastern side in the shape of Prešov. Having just defeated Trnava, decisively by all accounts, to move off the bottom of the league, Prešov should be in a good frame of mind going into this match. Still, I would expect Bystrica to show themselves in a better light, their strikers, Martin Jakubko and Dušan Uškovič, to reveal their capabilities and the points to stay in central Slovakia.

Saturday’s later game sees Žilina take on Senica. Stanislav Griga’s second-placed visitors are currently the league’s most consistent side and haven’t lost since a 2-1 home defeat in the reverse fixture back in August. Žilina lost 2-1 away to Slovan last weekend and home coach Vladimír Weiss offered an interesting insight on them after that match, suggesting that they’d tried to adopt defensive tactics despite the fact that their players are far more suited to a pass-and-move style. I would say they miss the aggression and presence of the likes of Mario Pečalka or Ľubomír Guldan in games against the league’s stronger sides and Senica are certainly one of those. One thing that might bother Griga is that his side were recipients of two of the red cards at Trenčín but, even given the resulting suspensions, I can’t see their unbeaten run ending at Žilina .

The Sunday match is the big derby ; Trnava v Slovan. With the home side still top of the league and Slovan improving fast, it’s a fascinating fixture. The main questions would seem to concern Trnava’s ability to get the Prešov defeat out of their system quickly and Slovan’s to recover from what will certainly have been a tiring midweek Europa League game. Considering that the home side have responded well to earlier defeats this season and Weiss’s team seem to be learning to balance domestic and European demands, I think the answers will be positive and neither side will give the other an inch. Like Žilina-Senica, it will be a draw and thus it will be ‘as you were’ at the top of the Corgoň Liga.

Even though my predictions weren’t too good last time, I’m having another go as follows : 

Nitra 2 Trenčín 1

Ružomberok 2 DAC 0

Zlaté Moravce 1 Košice 0

Banská Bystrica 3 Prešov 1

Žilina 1 Senica 1

Trnava 1 Slovan 1

James Baxter

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Corgon Liga Round 15 Preview”

  1.   britskibelasion 05 Nov 2011 at 8:10 pm

    You called Ruza, ZM & BB right James, needed more confidence in Zilina perhaps?! Seemed a comprehensive victory?

    Good to be seeing a few more goals being scored in the league these days, and no shortage of red cards either. Certainly seems as though the league is more competitive. Can you remember seeing so many teams so close to each other at the top?

    Just when do we start taking Ruzomberok seriously as title contenders I wonder? They’re on a great run and have Kosice & Presov in their next 2 games ..

    Tomorrow’s match is an interesting one. Trnava inconsistent but top of the league, Slovan returning from Europe but with an improvement in domestic form, very difficult game to call, and if it is a draw we’ll have 6 teams within 2 points at the top…

  2.   James Baxteron 06 Nov 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Will be a game worth seeing today. Slovan usually seem to get the better of Trnava, though, and if they win this, they’ll have real momentum and Trnava will be in need of a quick pick-me-up.

    I guess there have been times when it’s been close at the top. Only three points covered the top four in Autumn 2005, for example, but what usually happens is that sb comes through very strongly in spring, as Ruza did in 2006. It’s hard to predict who that’s going to be this time but what happens over the winter is very important.

    Ruza are going very well indeed. When I saw them play Zilina, I was struck by what a good striker Masaryk still is at this level but they won with 10 men and without him last week and a chap called Skalak is now scoring goals. But remember DAC about this time last year? They were in storming form but then had an equally dramatic slump.

    I can’t see ZM still being serious contenders come May but they’re obviously a solid, well-coached team and could be top four.

  3.   James Baxteron 06 Nov 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Just been watching the feed of Trnava-Slovan. Slovan better in the 1st half but overrun in the 2nd. Marian Had a bit unlucky with the first goal, clearance rebounded off Koro-Kone who finished well. Second goal was brilliantly created on the right and Koro-Kone headed in the cross.

    Sebo subbed for Slovan – I’d forgotten he was out there to be honest. Halenar was again their most likely player but he was wearing his Paris rather than Zilina shoes, thus his shots went everywhere but on target.

    All kicked off at the end. Kladrubsky booted someone on the ground, enraging the home bench but earning no censure from the ref. Then Carnota went in high on Hrosso and was grabbed round the throat and given a bit of a shove by Dobrotka. Down went Carnota and off went Dobrotka. Carnota was lucky not to see red too but did see yellow. Silly boys. Not bad for the neutral though. Very rare that a Slovak league game on the (very) small screen keeps my attention but this one did.

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