May 21 2012

MSK Zilina Champions 2012

Published by at 6:06 pm under Domestic and tagged:

I’m not sure many in Slovakia noticed, given the ice-hockey team’s fantastic efforts in reaching the world championship final, so I’d better tell you myself ; Žilina are the 2011/2012 Corgoň Liga champions. Congratulations to them, and credit too to the very gallant Spartak Trnava team who pushed them all the way and ensured that maximum points from the last four fixtures were necessary to seal the title.

On Wednesday, Žilina won 2-0 at home to Nitra. Jozef Piaček supplied the sort of crisp finish not usually associated with no-nonsense centre-backs to open the scoring after 11 minutes. After that, like most recent mid-table visitors to Žilina, Nitra caused their share of problems, notably through the very tricky Seydouba Soumah. Momodou Ceesay increased his side’s nerves by missing a penalty but Róbert Pich eased them again, with a fine strike right on the stroke of half-time.

 

On Sunday, away to relegated DAC Dunajská Streda, Žilina scored their goals in the second-half. Ján Marcin unluckily deflected Miroslav Barčík’s shot into his own net after 54 minutes. Then, in the 86th minute, just 60 seconds after coming on as a substitute, Jean Deza produced a goal that would have graced far better competitions than the Corgoň Liga. He turned Arsene Copa inside-out on a run down the right before chipping exquisitely over home goalkeeper Pavel Kučera. The goal was both a fitting conclusion to Žilina’s season and, considering that not every club in Europe is offering opportunities to 18 year-old Peruvian talents, a tribute to what must be a very fine scouting system.

 

As for Trnava, they too won their last two games without conceding a goal. On Wednesday, they sent packing a Ružomberok side who had taken four points from the season’s previous two encounters between the clubs. Martin Mikovič scored the first goal with a brilliant outside-of-the-foot effort. A double from Ladislav Tomaček, including a penalty, then sealed a comfortable 3-0 victory.

 

On Sunday, 3,000 Trnava fans put aside thoughts of ice-hockey in order to travel the short distance to Nitra. Again, their team didn’t let them down. Martin Vyskočil put them ahead after 32 minutes and Ivan Schranz wrapped things up eight minutes from the end.It was always too much to hope that Žilina might choke at the last, but Trnava have nothing to reproach themselves for this season. If, as they surely will, their fans stick with them, and if the core of the side holds together, they have a great chance of ending their 40-year wait for a league title next season.

 

While the top two were giving nothing away, third-placed Slovan Bratislava’s season rather petered out. First, a 1-1 draw at home to Košice on Wednesday ended any hopes they still had of retaining their title. Juraj Halenár seemed to have put them on their way to victory with a 54th minute goal, but Kamil Karaš hit a late equaliser for the visitors from the east. Afterwards, with reference to the appallingly low crowd at Pasienky (750 was the official figure), Slovan coach Vladimír Weiss expressed his fears for the future ofSlovak football.

 

Weiss might have been better advised to stay positive and rally his men for their final match of the season, away to improving Prešov, on Sunday. Again, Halenár gave Slovan the lead, with his fifth goal in three games, but again they were pegged back by an eastern team. Matúš Marcin and Peter Petráš scored second-half goals to give Prešov a 2-1 win.

 

Senica thrashed DAC 5-1 in their final home match of the season, largely thanks to a hat-trick from Roland Blackburn. It might have been closer if Dzon Delarge hadn’t missed a penalty for the visitors with the score at 3-1. Stanislav Griga’s team then followed up with a typically solid 0-0 draw at Košice on Sunday. Besides Tomáš Strnad’s late sending-off, there were two curiosities connected with this match. First, it was the fourth successive draw Ján Kozák has overseen since his reappointment as Košice coach. Second, the attendance (just 350) was the lowest anywhere in the Corgoň Liga this season. So, while the timing of Vladimír Weiss’s comments might have been questionable, their substance, and relevance to clubs other than his own, have to be recognised.

 

It’s difficult, however, to be all doom and gloom when Trenčín are around. Adrián Guľa’s entertainers won their last two games of the season to ensure a fifth-placed finish. On Wednesday, they inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Prešov, the latter’s first reverse in six games. Four days later, they found themselves trailing Vion Zlaté Moravce 2-0, courtesy of goals from Andrej Hodek, but hit back to win 3-2. Filip Hlohovský, David Depetrisand Peter Mazan were the scorers. With their excellent young coach, and plenty of eye-catching playing talents, Trenčín will be well worth watching next season.

 

Ružomberok finished their campaign with a 2-0 win over Banská Bystrica. Pavol Masaryk cemented his place at the top of the league’s goalscoring charts by hitting his 18th of the season. After the game, Masaryk admitted that he has been struggling to focus on his own performances in recent weeks. There are off-field issues surrounding Ruža and, as club captain, Masaryk has had the difficult role of attempting to reassure team-mates anxious for their futures. The game also rounded-off Bystrica’s rather downbeat run-in. They drew 0-0 at home to Vion last Wednesday, and are parting company with coach Štefan Zaťko.

 

Six of the season’s last twelve league games attracted attendances of less than 1,000. Bearing that in mind, I have to repeat (again) that Weiss does have a point ; Slovak domestic football is struggling badly to get an audience for itself. When the national ice-hockey team is earning success on the rink, that struggle becomes ever more painful. One wonders too how viable some clubs are as full-time outfits, and how long it will be before some backers start to think seriously about pulling their money out. The close-season may provide answers to some of these questions.

 

Meanwhile, at the risk of getting readers too excited, I hope to highlight some of the Slovak game’s positive aspects later in the week, in the form of a ‘best of 2011/2012’ feature….

 

James Baxter

 

 

Results

 

32. kolo, 16.5.2012

 

INFO

Trenčín

2:0 (2:0)

Prešov

Slovan

1:1 (0:0)

Košice

Senica

5:1 (3:1)

Dunajská Streda

Žilina

2:0 (2:0)

Nitra

Trnava

3:0 (2:0)

Ružomberok

Banská Bystrica

0:0

Zlaté Moravce

33. kolo, 20.5.2012

 

INFO

Zlaté Moravce

2:3 (2:0)

Trenčín

Ružomberok

2:0 (1:0)

Banská Bystrica

Nitra

0:2 (0:1)

Trnava

Dunajská Streda

0:2 (0:0)

Žilina

Košice

0:0

Senica

Prešov

2:1 (0:1)

Slovan

 

 

5 responses so far




5 Responses to “MSK Zilina Champions 2012”

  1.   Brian Owenon 21 May 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Amazing news about the hokej – I thought the demise was looking terminal.
    Any more info on the off-field issues at Ruza? Is it linked to the big SCP works, which pretty much underpins the whole town’s economy?

  2.   Jameson 21 May 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Re the hockey, when you wave goodbye to most of the old guard and expectations are low, you can be pleasantly surprised by what the younger players can do. Russia had too much for them in the final but, overall, they were fantastic.

    Intend to look into Ruza’s problems and perhaps write sth on it. Masaryk keeps coming out with these quotes ; there’s speculation that backers want to pull out, but nothing concrete’s happened yet.

    I was at Ruza to see Za a week ago and the pitch was shocking. As the guy next to me kept saying, worse than a 5th division pitch.

  3.   Brian Owenon 21 May 2012 at 7:43 pm

    first I heard of the hockey was this evening when I went into Brighton with my boy wearing his Slovensko cap and the bloke serving us at one shop turned out to be Russian and started talking about the final.
    I know from my father in law, who deals with them, that SCP were finding times harder.
    As for the pitch, I’ve seen it looking very brown in Spring when the snow comes off. I’m usually there at the start of the season though when it’s fine.

  4.   StaryJazvecon 23 May 2012 at 11:51 am

    Apropos attendances. I note that Slovan – Nitra on the Wednesday “officially” attracted 750, a record low I believe, altho Weiss estimated the attendance to be 300-400 in his post-match interview.

    Sport on DAC – Zilina on Sunday “The official attendance was 1077, which would not be anything to celebrate, but certainly does not correspond to reality”.

    Inquiring minds might ask WTF is going on with these “official” attendances. As far as I know, all Corgon Liga grounds now have turnstiles. Certainly, at Pasienky you have to swipe your ticket on the turnstile to get in. How can this bullshit still go on?

  5.   Jameson 23 May 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Zilina and Trnava also have proper turnstiles but Ruza and Bystrica don’t. You still show your ticket to a guy standing at a gate. Same at Dubnica and (though it’s a while since I was there) probably Trencin too.

    But I agree ; what are they up to? I’d have thought underestimating the crowd (as I’m sure has happened at Za a couple of times, despite the turnstiles) wd be better financially as it would reduce VAT payments.

    I heard DAC-Za was watched by the little handful of away fans – perhaps 80-100 – and virtually no’one else. At Presov-Slovan on Sunday, they said the ground was almost completely empty long before FT, ’cause everyone had buggered off to watch the hockey. Desperate stuff.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply