Mar 25 2012

Corgon Liga Round 22: Zilina 3 Points Clear

Published by at 11:18 am under Uncategorized

There was a certain symmetry about the latest round of Corgoň Liga fixtures. The top two sides both placed host to teams looking increasingly safe from relegation, those in third and fourth places were at home to the bottom two, there was a game between two clubs who have lost touch with the upper reaches of the table since the spring programme started, and another between two inconsistent mid-table outfits.

Going into Saturday’s game, leaders Žilina would have been well aware that visitors Košice had enjoyed 1-0 wins in their last two away fixtures. A drowsy first 38 minutes or so proved that the easterners are well-organised defensively and quite happy to get behind the ball and let opposing sides pass the ball from side to side in front of them. Then, Žilina’s three winter signings injected some life into proceedings. Serge Akakpo played a quick ball out to the left, full-back Ricardo Nunez sent over a pacy cross and Ján Novák deflected the ball into the net via the right-hand post. As a former Košice player, Novák refused to celebrate what turned out to be the game’s only goal, but he will be as aware as anyone of its potential importance.

The sight of the AS Trenčín team-bus pulling into an away venue has not been one to inspire great terror anywhere this season, so Slovan Bratislava will have felt confident of maintaining their title challenge ahead of the promoted side’s visit to Pasienky. But, things did not go according to Vladimír Weiss’s plans. Twice Slovan led, through Karol Mészáros and Ondřej Smetana, but twice Trenčín pulled them back, thanks to goals from Filip Hlohovský and David Depetris. It could have been worse for Slovan ; Matúš Putnocký pulled off a fantastic save from Depetris as Trenčín went for an injury-time winner. Weiss, who was critical of his side in victory over Prešov last week, declared himself satisfied with everything except the result.

Trnava have replaced Senica in third place, courtesy of an easy 3-0 home win over a hapless Dunajská Streda side in Friday’s televised match. It was all over after 18 minutes, following goals from Roman Procházka, Ladislav Tomaček (a penalty) and Martin Vyskočil. Stanislav Griga’s Senica, meanwhile, failed to score for the second home match in succession, drawing 0-0 against DAC’s relegation rivals Prešov. Both sides hit the woodwork twice, but the result will be seen by Prešov as a welcome bonus ahead of their midweek trip to southern Slovakia for the big survival battle. If DAC fail to win that one, you feel, they’ll be clear favourites to take the drop.

Few would have expected Vion Zlaté Moravce and Ružomberok to serve up a thriller, given that both had had disappointing starts to the spring. In fact, they treated the paying public to eight goals, including two hat-tricks. It was Ruža who came out on top ; strikes from Tomáš Ďubek and Richard Lásik, added to Pavol Masaryk’s three goals, had them 5-1 up by the 65th minute. Andrej Hodek, who had equalised Ďubek’s opener, gave Vion hope with further goals in the 73rd and 80th minutes but, despite continuing to create chances, they were unable to complete their comeback.

The 1-1 draw between Banská Bystrica and Nitra was a rather more predictable outcome. Karel Kroupa headed Nitra in front after 48 minutes but, with just eight minutes left, a powerful angled shot from Lukáš Laksík earned the home side a point. Coaches Štefan Zat´ko and Ladislav Jurkemík agreed that it was a decent game which produced a fair outcome. The players are due some credit for that, since the playing surface at Štadión SNP appeared to be in appalling condition.

The programme over the next two weeks or so is very intense. At the top of the league, Žilina, glad as they will be to have seen off Košice, have two tricky away fixtures before they face Slovan at home on April 3rd. Weiss’s team, for their part, are away to Nitra in midweek, then play a televised game against Senica next Friday.

Another thought that strikes me is that, if either Žilina or Slovan do win the league this season, they will do so despite, rather than because of, their home fans. Weiss has found it necessary to answer criticism of his tactics at Pasienky, claiming that he has adopted a long-ball game because the poor playing surface there isn’t conducive to a passing style. Meanwhile, each of Žilina’s spring home games has been notable for the lack of patience shown by ‘supporters’, some of whom appear to believe the team should be running up double-figure scores. Against Košice, the 60th minute replacement of Novák by Roman Gergel was greeted by howls of disapproval from the stands. Of all the factors which will decide the title race, it is beginning to seem that ability to block out negativity will be among the most important.

Žilina 1 Košice 0
Slovan 2 Trenčín 2
Trnava 3 DAC 0
Senica 0 Prešov 0
Zlaté Moravce 3 Ružomberok 5
Banská Bystrica 1 Nitra 1
James Baxter

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Corgon Liga Round 22: Zilina 3 Points Clear”

  1.   Brian Owenon 25 Mar 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Have to admit this round up has passed me by in the past. Will be keeping a look out for it on future weekends and expecting more eight goal thrillers from Ruza!

  2.   Jameson 26 Mar 2012 at 8:11 am

    Probably passed you by because it’s only been here VERY sporadically! I suspect I’m not going to manage it for all the rounds coming up over the next couple of weeks but will do what I can…

    Ruza outplayed Zilina for 45 mins the other week and shouldn’t have lost. Masaryk is one of the best strikers in the league so a hat-trick from him shouldn’t have been that surprising.

  3.   britskibelasion 26 Mar 2012 at 9:29 am

    Unfortunately Brian, I couldn’t find the youtube highlights of the Ruza match ..

    How’s Brezovan getting on by the way? Heard he had a shocker at Anfield but has he recovered since then?

  4.   Jameson 26 Mar 2012 at 9:59 am

    Perhaps try this – not sure if it works outside SK, though :

  5.   StaryJazvecon 01 Apr 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Sport seem to be implying that the Slovan second leg cup tie v Senica was an envelope to the ref job, but somehow it went wrong. Stand by for more interesting reffing decisions in the weeks to come, maybe.

  6.   britskibelasion 02 Apr 2012 at 6:15 am

    there was also the 90th minute winner at Nitra .. seems to happen quite often, I must admit. The Man Utd effect perhaps more than just a conspiracy? Let’s see what happens this week ..

  7.   Jameson 02 Apr 2012 at 7:30 am

    I only saw brief highlights of the Senica cup game but it seems both sides got bad decisions against them. Dosoudil should be facing a lengthy ban for his challenge, mind. Absolute thuggishness. Bit unfair on Griga to be sent to the stands after that one.

    Didn’t see the ‘foul’ that led to the free-kick at Nitra, but anyway you’ve still got to score them and the idea of Grendel standing right in front of Hrosso worked a treat.

    Last season’s late winner at Nitra, on the other hand, was decidedly dodgy.

  8.   StaryJazvecon 03 Apr 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Dousoudil banned until further notice.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply