Apr 18 2012

Cup Semi Update

Published by at 12:18 pm under Domestic and tagged:


MŠK Žilina 1 Dukla Banská Bystrica 0

Vion Zlaté Moravce 1 FK Senica 1


I hope you can contain your excitement, but Tuesday was Slovak Cup semi-final first-leg day.MŠK Žilina have a 1-0 lead to take into their away leg against Banská Bystrica next week, while Vion Zlaté Moravce drew 1-1 at home to Senica.


The build-up to the Žilina-Bystrica game was dominated by the incomprehensible news that Žilina had fired coach Ľuboš Nosický and appointed Dutchman Frans Adelaar in his place. It appears that a deal had long before been struck for Adelaar to take over in the summer, but his installment was brought forward following the side’s 2-2 draw at home to Trenčín on Saturday.


On a purely human level, it is impossible not to feel sympathy with Nosický, even a certain amount of righteous anger on his behalf at his employers’ apparent underhandedness. Clearly, the agreements with Adelaar were made behind his back. Even in a pure sporting context,Žilina’s action makes little sense. Nosický had steered his side through the chaos surrounding his own appointment, just two days before the start of the season, taken them to the top of the league, successfully integrated three important winter signings, and overseen a memorable 3-0 win over Slovan Bratislava. The team were on a 13-match unbeaten run and a league and cup double was looking possible.


How do the club explain themselves? We respect the fact that we were top of the league,says director of football Karol Belaník, ‘but we weren’t playing attractive enough football and our crowds were low.’ Crowds are indeed low, Belaník is right there. But he knows very well that most people who call themselves football fans in Slovakia are fickle types, unable to appreciate the game when played by teams other than Barcelona or Manchester United. Hemight also have mentioned, but didn’t, the negative reaction of some of those who did turn upto the performance against Trenčín. But idiots in the crowd are also a sad fact of footballing life these days. The signing of Lionel Messi wouldn’t appease some of those who go to Žilina matches to vent their fury, and the firing of a perfectly decent coach is only going to encourage them.


Or perhaps Mr Adelaar will win them over. Certainly, his mere nationality appears to have seduced the Žilina board. That he has coached clubs like Utrecht, ADO Den Haag and Sparta Rotterdam only adds to his appeal. ‘When it comes to attractive football, the Dutch are among the best in Europe. We want some of this influence at our club,’ says Belaník. If his wide-eyed expectations are fulfilled, we can look forward to Žilina playing total football in the style of the 1974 Holland team, and the likes of Trenčín being effortlessly swept aside in front of adoring full-houses.


The Bystrica game represented a rather low-key beginning to this transformation. In front of 1,800 and on a cold day for mid-April (there was fresh snow in the Fatra mountains and a sharp easterly wind), Žilina‘s passing game functioned only intermittently. The only goal, coming as it did from a set-piece, was one the total football practioners would have disdained. Ricardo Nunes sent over an inswinging free-kick and Serge Akakpo outmuscled a couple of Bystrica defenders to head it in. 47 minutes were on the clock ; Bystrica’s start to the second-half had been as dozy as Slovan’s two weeks ago. Home goalkeeper Martin Krnáč made a couple of fine saves to preserve the lead and Viktor Pečovský became possibly the shortest player ever to fill the centre-back position following the withdrawl of a limping Akakpo. On a bright note, the debut performance of 17 year-old striker Jaroslav Mihalík is evidence that Žilina’s academy is one aspect of their operation that continues to work well.


Vion coach Juraj Jarábek and Senica’s Stanislav Griga might well have looked at what happened to Nosický and felt thankful that they have rather more understanding employers. In their turn, they have justified the faith shown in them by leading smallish clubs to relative success. Senica have been on the fringes of the title-race all season, though defeat to Trnava last Friday

might have convinced them that the cup is now their most realistic hope of an honour. Jarábek, meanwhile, openly admitted last week that his team have started to struggle with injuries and that, certain of a mid-table league finish, his priority has been to keep as many players as possible fit for this semi-final.


It was perhaps predictable that it would end all-square. Senica, it seems had the better of the chances, and should have scored long before Andrej Hodek’s 57th minute opener for the hosts. Substitute Tomáš Strnad equalised after 85 minutes. Griga was disappointed with his team’s profligacy but says he is quite happy to be going into the home leg on level terms.


Feverish anticipation is not felt by many ahead of Slovak Cup matches, but we do at least have two evenly-poised second-legs involving four motivated sides ahead of usŽilina will be expected to progress to the final but, provided their players haven’t morphed into Cryuff and Neeskens clones by next Tuesday, Bystrica will feel a single-goal deficit isn’t irretrievable.As for Senica, Strnad’s goal looks important and they should now have just a bit too much for Vion.  


James Baxter

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Cup Semi Update”

  1.   StaryJazvecon 18 Apr 2012 at 1:27 pm

    If his wide-eyed expectations are fulfilled, we can look forward to Žilina playing total football in the style of the 1974 Holland team, and the likes of Trenčín being effortlessly swept aside in front of adoring full-houses.


    As if the turnover of coaches in SVK wasn’t ludicrously high enough already. Did they really bring his appointment forward just to appease the boo-boys in the stands? Will the boo boys be happy if they now screw up the league and cup double playing total voetball?

    Sport fact – On 7. Jan 2010 a court in Utrecht fined Frans Adelaar EUR 1000 for assaulting and kicking the female boss of a Greek restaurant. He told the court that the kick was an accident but the judge ruled it couldn’t have been an accident as someone who had been kicking a ball all his life should be an expert in kicking.

  2.   Jameson 18 Apr 2012 at 2:04 pm

    ‘Did they really bring his appointment forward just to appease the boo-boys in the stands?’

    Sadly, I think so. I also wonder if some on the board didn’t like the prospect of winning the league under Nosicky. Sacking sb because he’s drawn 4 out of 5 games or plays ‘unattractive’ football sounds (on the surface) better than sacking him even though he’s just won the league. Alternatively, there are simply agendas there – perhaps personal things(?) – that we’d never get to know about.

    Sounds a nice chap then, this Mr Adelaar. I was wondering who he reminded me of yesterday, with his nicely coiffured hair, then I realised it was that blond right-wing nutjob politician, also from Holland. Forget his name now…

  3.   Rustyon 24 Apr 2012 at 1:37 am

    You have to be describing Wilders, James? That’s twice today I’ve had the misfortune of having to remember that moron. Maybe there’s something toxic in dutch hairspray? I suppose I can add Adelaar to the long list of dutch managers who are on speed-dial for clubs in crises.

    Wish my club only had a 13 match unbeaten run crisis to worry about.

  4.   Jameson 24 Apr 2012 at 5:49 am

    Wilders it is. Thanks for reminding me! As you imply, it was truly a crisis of mega-proportions at Zilina. Mr Adelaar has now overseen two successive wins, though, so guess they’re speaking of him in reverential tones in the boardroom. But both 1-0, with headers from set-pieces – obviously total football takes time to instill.

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