Archive for the 'Domestic' Category

Jul 11 2012

Slovak pre-season Preview

Published by under Domestic


I wouldn’t want anyone to gamble away their savings, but I wonder whether a little flutter on six home wins in the Corgoň Liga’s opening round of fixtures this weekend wouldn’t be a bad idea. Last season’s top five all play at home, and it’s possible to imagine Ružomberok, who seem to be pulling together following their crisis earlier in the summer, getting the better of Vion Zlaté Moravce.


Champions Žilina face league newcomers Spartak Myjava in Friday’s fixture. Certain factors do seem to be to Myjava’s advantage ahead of this game. They have nothing to lose, they will be backed by 400-500 travelling fans and their hosts will have half an eye on the start of their Champions League qualification campaign the following midweek. It will be a close game and Žilina will probably suffer frustration along the way. But the habit they got into last season, of winning when not performing at their best, should stand them in good stead again.


Trnava took last season’s championship race into the final day and will have high hopes of finally ending their 40-year wait for a title in the new campaign. Their start, at home to Košice on Saturday, looks gentle enough. As captain Miroslav Karhan commented recently, Pavel Hoftych now has a year behind him as head coach, and all the players know exactly what is expected of them, something which wasn’t quite true last July. Trnava are still in search of a quality striker, and Ján Kozák did make Košice difficult to beat towards the end of last season, but the odds on anything but a home win here will be fairly lengthy.


Slovan Bratislava should also get off to a good start at home to Tatran Prešov, the league’s crisis club. The off-field news surrounding Slovan has mostly been positive over the last few weeks. Coach Vladimír Weiss has signed a new one-year contract, dispelling rumours that he might be off to try his luck in Russia, last season’s top-scorer Juraj Halenár has just committed himself to three more years, and there are several interesting new signings at the club. Prešov, meanwhile, seem to go from crisis to chaos and back, via panic. In Bulgarian Angel Červenkov, they have a new head coach, but club president Miroslav Remeta has not been available to talk to the media about the appointment. He also neglected to tell the playersthey were getting a new boss ; the bewildered reactions of those interviewed for Monday evening’s TV news spoke volumes. Červenkov’s experience of working for the unpredictableVladimír Romanov at Hearts – he survived seven months as coach of the Edinburgh club in2008/2009 – might be good preparation for life in Slovakia’s wild east. But his team won’t get any points at Pasienky.


Senica play the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie against MTK Budapest on Thursday (at 1-1, it is interestingly poised), so their opening league game, at home to Banská Bystrica, has been put back to Sunday. Again, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a home win. Their earlier return to competitive action should help Senica, as should the fact that new signings Pavol Masaryk and Matej Krajčík will be eligible to play. I would expect Bystrica to do better than last seasons eighth place, but their improvement won’t start until this game is out of the way.


Trenčín had an excellent 2011/2012, their first season back in the Corgoň Liga after a three-year absence, and they should start 2012/2013 with victory at home to Nitra, who will miss three key players through suspension. Nitra will have mixed memories of the last time they set foot on their hosts plastic pitch ; they went 1-0 up early on and were the better side throughout the first-half, yet eventually lost 5-2. Trenčín may not be quite as ruthlessly effective on Saturday, especially since two of their best attacking players, Filip Hlohovský and Lester Peltier, have moved to Slovan. But they should still be a little too strong.

Ružomberok, with their skeleton squad, are likely to find this season difficult, but Vion Zlaté Moravce at home is the kind of fixture they really need to win. Vion’s 3-1 win over Hungary’s BFC Siófok last weekend gave them the distinction of being the only Corgoň Liga side to win their final pre-season friendly. They were helped by Michal Škvarka and Adam Žilák, two players on loan from Žilina, who should continue to add youthful energy to what is a small but solid squad. This is the game which raises most doubts over a prediction of six home wins, but something tells me Ruža will just about prevail.


There’ll be nothing from me on these pages for the next three weeks or so, as I’m going away. I’ll conclude with my correct score predictions.


Žilina 1 Myjava 0

Trnava 2 Košice 0

Slovan 3 Prešov 0

Senica 2 Bystrica 0

Trenčín 2 Nitra 1

Ružomberok 2 Zlaté Moravce 1

James Baxter

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Jul 07 2012

Start of Slovak league approaching

Published by under Domestic


When a big summer tournament such as Euro 2012 ends, you know that the start of the Slovak league season is not far away. And so it is this year. On Friday 13th July, 12 short days after Spain’s thrashing of Italy, Žilina and Spartak Myjava will meet in the Corgoň Liga’s first game of 2012/2013.


In fact, one Slovak club have already tasted competitive action ; on a tropical Thursday night in the Hungarian capital, cup runners-up FK Senica drew 1-1 with MTK Budapest in the first leg of their Europa League first qualifying round tie. All things considered, this is a decent result for Senica. Two of last season’s key players, defender Nicolas Gorosito and midfield enforcer Tomáš Strnad, have left the club, and important new signing Pavol Masaryk was ineligible to play. MTK took a 30th minute lead through János Lázok but Roland Blackburn equalised in the 58th minute, shortly after the sending-off of the hosts’ Dávid Kálnoki-Kis. A later penalty miss by MTK increases Senica’s hopes of progressing to a meeting with APOEL Nicosia, last season’s Champions League quarter-finallists.  


MŠK Žilina look like they will go into the new season relying on the players who won the double last season, plus some who are returning from loans and a couple of youngsters promoted from the youth sections. Defender Ali Ceesay and Jakub Paur, a midfielder who impressed for Vion Zlaté Moravce in 2011/2012, look the most interesting of the returnees, while Milan Škriniar and Miroslav Kačer will hope to bridge the gap between the youth and reserve teams and the full side. Retaining the services of the likes of Jozef Piaček, Ricardo Nunes, Viktor Pečovský and Róbert Pich is at least as important as any new signings, though, with Tomáš Majtán currently recovering from an operation, the side looks a little light in the striking department. Time for Momodou Ceesay, Ali’s older brother, to find some consistency at last, one feels.


As coach Pavel Hoftych has admitted, Spartak Trnava are another side who could use a striker or two, though they have signed the Algerian-born Samy Derras from Spanish second-tier club Lorca Atléticoand are trying him up-front in some friendly games. Defender Marek Janečka, formerly of Zlaté Moravce, should be a good addition to the squad but Roman Procházka, who has signed for Levski Sofia, will be missed in midfield. Just like last season, Miroslav Karhan is sure to be a key player for Trnava ; he scored the first goal in Wednesday’s 4-1 friendly win over Dubnica.


Slovan Bratislava’s approach to the new campaign is the opposite to Žilina’s, in that they are signing players left, right and centre. Gorosito looks a good addition, as does Lester Peltier, who, together with Filip Hlohovský (Slovan’s first summer signing), helped form Trenčín’s exciting attack last season. Vladimír Weiss will certainly be hoping that those he’s bringing in now will do rather better than his winter acquisitions. Two of those, Ondřej Smetana (who started the spring well before fading) and the permanently injured Mario Pečalka, have come to the end of loan spells. Juraj Piroška, another who’s suffered with injury, and the under-achieving Kamil Kopúnek are still at the club. They need to start showing what they are capable of.


As for the rest of the league, some clubs look to be in a decent state, while others are lurching dangerously through crises. Trenčín, Zlaté Moravce and Nitra are probably in the former category, though, following the departures of Peltier and Hlohovský, Trenčín will need to find new ways to both score goals and supply striker David Depetris with chances. Vion faded badly towards the end of last season, a consequence of the smallness of their squad, but they still seem to be the most ‘together’ top-flight outfit in Slovakia and have, so far, retained most of their key players. Nitra have just sold defender Martin Tóth to Czech champions Slovan Liberec but their friendly results have been encouraging, not least the most recent, a 1-0 victory over Sigma Olomouc.


Ružomberok and Prešov are the league’s crisis clubs, though Ruža have at least seen sense and allowed players such as Tomáš Ďubek to rejoin the team’s preparations, having informed them in early June that they were to train individually. The side have played some interesting friendlies against sides such as First Vienna and Honvéd, though with mixed results. Certainly, given the summer upheavals at the club (covered in an article in May), new coach Ladislav Šimčo will need all his man-management skills to emulate the mid-table finish Ruža achieved last season. His admission that he barely slept in the days following his appointment certainly shows that he cares.


Prešov are, if anything, in an even more uncertain state. Following the departure of their majority shareholders in May, they have reached an in principle’ agreement with a Ukrainian sponsor. But this depends on a firm commitment from the Prešov local authority to continue to fund the club’s youth development programme and this – at the time of writing – has not been given. The players started their pre-season preparations later than those at other Corgoň Liga clubs, and without coach Sergej Kovalec, who was waiting for news of whether his contract would be renewed. No training camps were planned and the organisation of friendly games was, let’s say, somewhat hasty. The three played so far have all been won, though, so perhaps there’s hope after all.


Banská Bystrica have become the first club from outside Bohemia and Moravia to win Czech football’s oldest tournament, the 79 year-old Perleťový Pohár. They defeated Dukla Praha and Viktoria Žižkov, who had also been invited to take part by hosts and founders FC Slavoj Žirovnice. Meanwhile, Bystrica defender Norbert Gyömbér is having an extended trial with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, having apparently impressed coach Felix Magath.


Things are fairly quiet on the transfer front at MFK Košice, who faced decent opposition (including Rapid Bucharest and APOEL Nicosia) during a recent training-camp in Austria. As with Žilina, it seems that coach Ján Kozák is putting his faith partly in youngsters. Kozák’s own presence in the dug-out should ensure Košice do rather better in 2012/2013 than they did last season, when only the comical ineptitude of DAC Dunajská Streda kept them at a safe distance from a relegation scrap.


Myjava will be an interesting addition to the Corgoň Liga this season, partly because they have never played at this level before and partly because they will not be operating on a fully professional basis ; some players will have day jobs and train just twice a week. However, their stadium reconstruction is coming along nicely, modest in scale though it is, and their squad does contain some highly experienced players, such as ex-Žilina captain Zdeno Štrba (who played for Slovakia in the World Cup just two years ago) and Peter Kuračka, formerly of Vion and Trnava. It would be unrealistic to expect Myjava to do what Trenčín did last season, but they should have enough about them to survive.


Having mentioned DAC, it is only right to say that, in defiance of an earlier prediction of mine, they will take their place in the II liga after all. Their coach will once again be Mikuláš Radványi, who left in 2011 to take over at Senec before moving on to Komarno. Their first fixture, on July 21st (the II liga kicks off a week later than the Corgoň Liga), is against Šamorín, a side coming up from the third tier. Finally, as if to prove that there was more to DAC last season than pure hopelessness, Dzon Delarge, their top goalscorer, is another who’s joining Liberec.

James Baxter

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Jun 11 2012

Slovak Close-Season Update Number 1!

Published by under Domestic

I’m under no illusions that anyone’s actually going to read this. We’re in June, Euro 2012 is in full-swing and the last Corgoň Liga season has barely finished. In fact, we are still in 2011/2012 in the III Liga and below.

But the close-season, at less than two thirds the length of the winter break, is short in Slovakia. Most top-flight clubs are back in training this week and some are already beginning the process of strengthening their squads ahead of July’s opening fixtures.

Most prominent among them, hardly surprisingly, is Slovan Bratislava. Disappointed with last season’s third-placed finish, Vladimír Weiss, who probably has his friendship with owner Ivan Kmotrík to thank for still being in a job, has been promising that seven or eight new players would be arriving over the summer.

Two are already signed up. The first is Filip Hlohovský, an attacking left-sided midfielder, who has arrived from Trenčín. With his accurate crossing, he provided several of his former club’s goals last season and should be a good addition, especially if Weiss also fields a striker with aerial prowess. Then there is Czech defensive midfielder Michal Švec, a product of Slavia Prague’s academy, signed from Dutch side Heerenveen. He made close to 100 Dutch top-flight appearances between 2008 and this year, and has represented the Czech Republic at Under 19, Under 21 and senior level.

Slovan are also thought to be close to capturing two centre-backs. One is Banská Bystrica youngster Norbert Gyömbér, the other is Argentine Nicolas Gorosito, who spent last season with Senica. On the other hand, Martin Dobrotka, who has spent his entire career to date with Slovan, could be on his way out. He has had talks with Slavia Prague about a move to the Czech capital and has promised to make a decision about his future this week. The fact that over 300 Slovan fans have signed a petition asking him to stay might just play a part in his thinking. There is little doubt that his injury, which kept him out of the side’s entire spring programme, was a factor in Slovan’s failure to retain their title last season.

Things are relatively quiet at Trnava and Žilina, though the latter’s former captain, Róbert Jež, seems to feel his time is up at Polonia Warsaw. Polonia’s owner has expressed his disappointment at the club’s failure to qualify for European competition and wants to see some of the older players depart. Jež, now aged 30, would appear to be in that category. He has played down talk of a return to Žilina, however, and may attract the interest of one of his former coaches, Pavel Hapal, at Zaglebie Lubin.

Onto administrative matters, and it has been confirmed that II Liga champions Spartak Myjava will definitely take their place in the Corgoň Liga next season. Their plans for ground redevelopment fulfil the grading criteria, and should make for a pleasant away trip. Interestingly, however, Myjava will not be employing a fully professional squad. The fact that several first-team players will be keeping their day jobs is perhaps a sign of the times in Slovak club football, even at the top level. Meanwhile, it was actually MFK Košice who became the final club to be granted their Corgoň Liga licence, following a process described by SFZ representatives as ‘not painless’. Košice have been in disputes with their local authority over the hiring of the ground, Štadión Lokomotivý v Čermeli, are poorly supported and have various financial difficulties. Still, with the licence granted, and Ján Kozák in charge of the team, they will now hope to improve on last season’s 11th placed finish.

Finally, some good news for Inter Bratislava, who have earned promotion to the Regional Championships (fourth tier). For a club which once won the Czechoslovak league and has two Corgoň Liga titles to its name, this might not seem a huge success. But it is a tribute to the way certain people have worked to keep the club alive as an independent entity following its effective ‘takeover’ by Senica four years ago. Not the least of these is Jozef Barmoš, who spent almost his entire playing career with the club and is now in his second spell as coach. Good luck to him and his team next season.

James Baxter

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Jun 02 2012

Happier times for Slovan .. 20 years ago

Published by under Domestic

This season, MŠK Žilina won their sixth Slovak league title. In the process, they drew level with Slovan Bratislava as the most successful club of Slovakia’s independent era. What they cannot match, however, is Slovan’s record of eight federal Czechoslovak titles. The first of these was won as Sokol NV Bratislava in 1949. The last was sealed on 3rd June 1992, twenty years ago almost to the day.

There were periods after World War II when Slovak clubs dominated the Czechoslovak league. Sokol NV’s 1949 triumph, for example, was followed by two more in quicksuccession. Later, the eight titles between 1968 and 1975 were shared between Spartak Trnava (five) and Slovan (three). But Slovan’s 1975 success – they finished just two points ahead of city rivals Inter – was the last a Slovak side would enjoy for 17 years. Baník Ostrava were just entering their own golden age, winning the championship in 1976, and again in 1980 and 1981. Dukla Prague (1977, 1979 and 1982) also lifted three titles during this period. Even Zbrojovka Brno got in on the act, in 1978, as did Bohemians (1983). Then Sparta Prague won the league in seven of the next eight seasons, the only exception being 1985/1986, when Vítkovice (another Ostrava club) were surprise champions.


By 1991, though, Sparta knew they were facing a renewed challenge from the Slovak capital. This had all but disappeared during the mid-80s. Slovan finished bottom of the league in 1985 and didn’t return for another three years. Inter followed them into second-tier football in 1986. Indeed, in 1985/1986, no Slovak club finished in the top eight of the 16-team league. But, on their return to the top flight, Slovan improved steadily, finishing ninth in 1989 and seventh a year later. In 1990/1991, following some off-field reforms and the appointment of Dušan Galis as head coach, they came agonisingly close to winning the league. A surprise late-season home defeat by strugglers Hradec Králové ultimately cost them, as they finished just a single point behind Sparta.


Among the early highlights of 1991/1992 was a September UEFA Cup tie against Real Madrid, which Slovan lost just 3-2 on aggregate. In the league, despite not losing after the season’s second game, they hadn’t completely shaken off Sparta’s challenge by the time the final match, at home to Vítkovice, came round. A disappointing 0-0 draw at Cheb in the penultimate fixture, coupled with Sparta’s handsome 4-1 win at Prešov, had left Slovan with plenty of last-day nerves going into the Vítkovice game. In fact, they needn’t have worried, as the 90 minutes quickly turned into a party. In front of 34,687 at Tehelné pole, a ninth minute free-kick from Peter Dubovský opened the scoring. The same player would later score his team’s third goal, and his own 27th of the season, to add to Jaroslav Timko’s header. By the 80th minute, champagne bottles were being opened on the substitutes’ bench. Within seconds of the final whistle, the pitch was a sea of blue and white as the Belasi fans invaded.


As with any historical success, there’s a sense of poignancy in the recounting of these events. The Czechoslovak league continued for just one more season, and Sparta won its final edition, finishing five points clear of city rivals Slavia. Slovan were a further point behind, in third place. Despite some serious talk over the last couple of years of reviving the federalcompetition, it now seems certain that it will remain only a part of history. Slovan fans, meanwhile, will be far less bothered by their team’s (admittedly disappointing) third-placed finish in this season’s Corgoň Liga than by the continued sorry state of Tehelné pole. If you can look at pictures of the ground (there’s a lovely one in Saturday’s Športwith full stands and joy on the faces of the fans without feeling sentimental, you’re either a hardened cynic ornot a football fan. Then, of course, there is the tragic story of Dubovský, arguably Slovak football’s greatest ever talent, beautifully related by Ralph Davies for Britski Belasi last year.

Dubovský was one of several members of that Slovan squad to represent Czechoslovakia at international level. Vladimír Kinder, Ľudovít Lancz, Miloš Glonek and Ondrej Krištofík were among the others. Some players continued their involvement with the game after retirement. Indeed, some continued, or later renewed, their association with Slovan. Ladislav Pecko was coach as the club won the 2008/2009 Corgoň Liga title, while Boris Kitka is the current assistant to Vladimír Weiss. Galis, of course, coached Slovakia from 2003-2006 and then went into politics, spending four years as a member of parliament for SMER.


As for captain Tomáš Stúpala, his story is a nice illustration of both club loyalty and the transient nature of football. He played for Slovan until 1998, making a total of 257 first-team appearances. He also had a short spell as coach of the club‘s reserve team, in 2008, but left when Ivan Kmotrík became the owner. He now works in the suburbs of Bratislava, for a firm which produces gaming machines. He insists, however, that he and the rest of the 1992 teamcould still find their way around a football pitch. ‘We’d probably struggle at the top level,’ he admits, ‘but if we played in the fourth league we wouldn’t disgrace ourselves.’ While we will probably never learn the truth of that intriguing prediction, we do know that what Stúpala and his colleagues achieved twenty years ago will never be in doubt.

James Baxter

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May 26 2012

Clubs in Crisis

Published by under Domestic


MŠK Žilina are celebrating their sixth Corgoň Liga title of the millenium and Spartak Myjava are delighted with a first-ever promotion to Slovak football‘s top tier. But, as the season draws to its end, there are other clubs who have little to be happy about. Over the last week, more details have emerged of the crisis at MFK Ružomberok. Meanwhile, the players at second-tier MFK Dubnica have adopted a rather novel form of protest at the ongoing non-payment of their salaries.


It has been clear for a while that something was wrong at Ruža. Captain Pavel Masaryk voiced some of the players’ concerns after a 2-0 defeat at Senica earlier this month. In the following days, Peter Hoferica and Miroslav Markovič, both of whom had been substituted in the first-half of that game, left the club. Then it was announced that Aleš Křejček, who took over as coach last September, would also be on his way once the season had ended. The departure of a further three players was announced after the defeat at Trnava in the penultimate round of league fixtures.


Basically, what is happening is a brutal round of cost-cutting, undertaken on the orders of Milan Fiľo, Ruža’s majority shareholder (he also continues to own 49% of Mondi SCP, the town’s biggest employer). Most significant in this is the scrapping of the club’s reserve team, Ružomberok B, who were the only second-string to compete in the II Liga this season. They have done quite well too, and will ensure a top-six finish if they win this Sunday‘s final match. But Milan Baraník, the club’s managing director explains that the budget cuts are a direct result of the first team’s failure to qualify for next season’s European competitions. They finished sixth in the Corgoň Liga, a position midfielder Tomáš Ďubek refuses to see as a disaster‘It’s neither here nor there,’ he says. ‘You can’t say it’s a big disappointment. But the board wanted a European place and we couldn’t fulfil their wishes.’ Unsurprisingly, Ďubek and Masaryk have now made clear that they too will be leaving the club.


This is rather sad news for a club that won a league and cup double as recently as 2006. But itis not a great surprise, given that there seems to have been a fair degree of mismanagement over the last two seasons. For a start, the players’ salaries were often delayed in 2010/2011. Then there was the reappointment of Ladislav Jurkemík as head coach last March, followed, six months later, by his sacking. Disgusted at his treatment, Jurkemík now says he would never consider working for Ruža again. Finally, there was the charade of making the players fund spectators’ entry to matches, as punishment for their cup exit at the hands of lower division opposition last autumn. As for the future, it appears that current B-team coachVladimír Rusnák will now make the step up to the post of head coach. He will need all the good luck going.


Oddly enough, Ruža B were the visitors – and onlookers - when the players of MFK Dubnica staged their on-field protest earlier this week. On their way onto the pitch to start the match, the home players placed stickers over the club badges on their shirts. They then kicked offand immediately put the ball out of the play. Then the entire XI bent down to untie and retie their bootlaces, thus delaying the restart of the game. Captain Matej Ižvolt explains that he and his team-mates wanted to protest in a way which would be original and would not expose them to the risk of punishment by the game’s authorities. ‘We covered our badges to show we were playing for ourselves,’ Ižvolt says. ‘The club hasn’t paid us for three months, so we’ve been playing for free.’


Club director Milan Nemečkay says he felt ‘offended’ by the players’ actions and claims he had already pledged to sit down with them at the end of the season to resolve the salary problem. But Ižvolt claimthat there have been enough promises already. He also points out that the protest had the full support of the Ruža team, though not of Rusnák, who was apparently angry with his side for waiting for their opponents to finish with their laces. The Dubnica fans also showed their backing for the protest, in the form of a prolonged round of applause after the ball had been kicked out of play.


Again, this is a sad situation. Dubnica’s 10-year stay in the Corgoň Liga finally ended in relegation last season. They were always one of the top-flight’s smaller clubs and never likely to challenge for the title, though they did play an Inter-Toto Cup tie against Newcastle United in 2005/2006. Their great strength has been in nurturing young talents – Slovan Bratislava’s Erik Grendel and Žilina’s Peter Šulek both came through their youth system – and have long had a reputation for attractive passing football. But they may now be paying the price for throwing money at last season’s failed survival bid. As for the immediate future, Ižvolt insists that he and his colleagues will fulfil the club’s final II Liga fixture of the season, away to champions Myjava on Sunday. But he is even more firm on the point that action, rather than more words, are needed from the board.  


The problems at Ruža and Dubnica are doubtless just the tip of an iceberg. We know, for example, that DAC Dunajská Streda were not paying salaries last autumn and almost didn’t fulfil their spring fixtures. What will happen to them following relegation from the Corgoň Liga remains to be seen. FK Púchov, winners of the Slovak Cup in 2003, resigned from III Liga západ in March. Then, of course, there is Petržalka. Champions League group stage participants in 2005/2006, they will finish bottom of II Liga this season. Their cash-flow problems must mean that the chances of them fielding a senior team in 2012/2013 can be no better than 50-50. Clearly, a lot of hard work will be needed over the coming months just to keep some clubs in existence.


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May 23 2012

James Baxter’s End of Season Awards

Published by under Domestic

Corgoň Liga 2011/2012 – the Britski Belasi Awards

I’m a Žilina supporter so apologies in advance for any subjectivity or lack of wider perspective in my nominations. Alternative nominations are most welcome.

Best Team

‘The best team always wins,’ said the legendary former Notts County manager Jimmy Sirrel, ‘the rest is only gossip.’ That’s very true, and means that Žilina’s double-winners  have been the best team in Slovakia in 2011/2012. Still, it’s fair to acknowledge some of the ‘gossip’ first. With better finishing, Ružomberok and Zlaté Moravce could both have taken 3-0 half-time leads in matches at Žilina this spring. Both paid for their profligacy as the home players ultimately asserted themselves. Also, Trnava and Ružomberok (again) both had reasonable penalty appeals turned down in games they lost 1-0 to Žilina. Undeniably then, lady luck has been favouring yellow and green this year.

But Žilina have also been disciplined, resourceful and versatile. Their defence has been solid, even though Jozef Piaček (its main pillar) has had five different centre-back partners during the course of the season. Behind him, Martin Krnáč has deputised superbly in goal for the injured Martin Dúbravka. The midfielders have switched positions and been consistently creative. No one striker has rivalled Filip Šebo’s scoring exploits for Slovan Bratislava last season, but Tomáš Majtán and Róbert Pich have shared 19 strikes between them. When the forwards’ finishing has been off-colour, midfielders and defenders have chipped in with goals. Perhaps most important, Žilina have a strong squad. Like Slovan, they have suffered with injuries this season, but have coped better with them than the Bratislava team have.

Best Player

Honourable mentions here must go to Senica midfielder Tomáš Kóňa, Paraguayan playmaker Jorge Salinas and Trinidadian striker Lester Peltier (both of Trenčín) and Ruža captain Pavol Masaryk, the league’s top goalscorer.

But there are two truly outstanding candidates and I am unable to choose between them. The first is Žilina’s Viktor Pečovský. He generally plays as a deep-lying midfielder, heading opposition attacks off at the pass, and distributing the ball with simplicity and accuracy to get his own team moving forward. Despite being one of the league’s shortest players, he has even filled in at centre-back. The mistakes he has made this season could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Then there is Trnava’s Miroslav Karhan. With 107 international caps and a wealth of European club experience behind him, he is a player the whole Corgoň Liga, never mind Trnava, is lucky to have. Versatile, and a leader both on the pitch and in the dressing-room, he has been central to his club’s emergence as genuine title-contenders, as opposed to respectable top-half finishers, this season.

Best Young Player

This category presents a couple of difficulties. First, any definition of ‘young’ is always going to be arbitrary. For the purposes of this feature, only players still under 22 when the season ended will qualify. Then there is the fact that young players tend to be inconsistent. Do we look for those whose performances have become reasonably reliable over a period of time, those who’ve produced something particularly special, or a combination of the two? Without being entirely certain of what I’m looking for, I’ve come up with a shortlist of four.

Jean Deza, Žilina’s 18 year-old Peruvian winger, has outstanding potential and has done some extraordinary things this season. One example was his goal at Dunajská Streda last Sunday. His club don’t yet count on him to produce 90-minute performances and have tended to use him as a late substitute, to run at tiring defenders. You can be sure, though, that they will be keen to hang onto him for next season.

Slovan forward Karol Mészáros, also 18, has emerged since the winter break. He has a creditable spring return of four goals and looks a bright, tricky player. Hopefully, the experience of playing in a team that hasn’t lived up to its own expectations won’t have dented his confidence.

Trnava full-back Michal Habánek turned a few heads when, as a 17 year-old, he brilliantly set up a goal for his side against Slovan last autumn. With a total of 17 league appearances behind him this season, he is already beginning to mature and is both solid in defence and dangerous going forward.

One of the finest goals at Žilina this season was scored by Trenčín’s Samuel Štefaník. At 21, he is slightly older than my other candidates, and his greater experience is reflected in the pivotal role he plays alongside Salinas in his team’s midfield. Like Habánek, he has already represented Slovakia at various age-group levels.

If pressed to choose just one player for this award, I would go for Štefaník, but it will be interesting to monitor the progress of all four nominees next season.

Best Coach

Frans Adelaar has won two trophies in his nine games in charge of Žilina. However, most of the important work on the team was not done by him, but by his predecessor Ľuboš Nosický and the club’s backroom staff. Adelaar’s disqualification leaves us with two outstanding candidates. The first is Trnava’s Czech coach, Pavel Hoftych. He took over the reins last summer, in the midst of a boycott by fans, but led his side to the final Europa League qualification round and to a second-placed finish in the league. He has instilled discipline and spirit in his players, and talks a lot of good sense. Points against him are that his tactics sometimes seem over-cautious and that he appears distrustful of players with flair. There is also a sense that Karhan’s on-field presence has been as much of a factor in Trnava’s season as the coach.

So the best coach is Adrián Guľa of Trenčín. Leading a newly-promoted side to fifth place in the league is a decent achievement in itself. Even more impressively, Guľa has overseen some of the most skillful, exciting football played in Slovakia this season. His team have benefitted from their own artificial pitch but their away record, which was fairly abject in the autumn, has improved dramatically this spring, to the extent that they have earned 2-2 draws at Žilina, Trnava and Slovan. Like Hoftych, Guľa is calm and level-headed. He is clearly a keen student of the game and will doubtless come to the attention of bigger clubs before much longer.

Best Fans

There is no contest in this category and one statistic should tell you why. A total of 7,509 people watched last Sunday’s six Corgoň Liga matches. Over 3,000 of them were Trnava fans who’d travelled to see their team play at Nitra. Here are more reasons ; 2,000 or so Trnava fans came to Žilina for a Friday night game in April. Not only did they create as good a footballing atmosphere as you’ll ever get in Slovakia, their conduct was later commended in a letter from Žilina officials to their visiting counterparts. Perhaps we are seeing now what a well-organised boycott can lead to. Last spring, Trnava followers stayed away from their club in protest at the way it was being run. Now, things are being done properly in the boardroom and the support from the stands is excellent. Such togetherness is yet another reason Trnava have had such a fine campaign on the field. It would be good for Slovak football as a whole if this continued next season.

Best Moment
It might not have happened in the Corgoň Liga, but it featured a member club and was almost certainly the moment which gained more international attention for Slovak football this season than any other. It is Peter Štepanovský’s 82nd minute goal, which earned Slovan a 1-1 draw (and 2-1 aggregate win) away to AS Roma in the final Europa League qualifying round last August. Like a lot of great moments, its significance has proved, in time, to be rather transitory. Slovan’s resulting group stage campaign brought credit, but no further glory. They have been third-best in their domestic league over the season, to the great displeasure of their supporters. Coach Vladimír Weiss has seen his own star fade in the months following the Rome game. Karim Guédé, a talismanic player, left the club over the winter. So, indeed, did Štepanovský himself. Yet his goal ensured victory over one of European football’s greatest names. As such, it deserves to be remembered. Hopefully, there’ll be more moments like it in 2012/2013.


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May 21 2012

MSK Zilina Champions 2012

Published by under Domestic

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





32. kolo, 16.5.2012




2:0 (2:0)



1:1 (0:0)



5:1 (3:1)

Dunajská Streda


2:0 (2:0)



3:0 (2:0)


Banská Bystrica


Zlaté Moravce

33. kolo, 20.5.2012



Zlaté Moravce

2:3 (2:0)



2:0 (1:0)

Banská Bystrica


0:2 (0:1)


Dunajská Streda

0:2 (0:0)






2:1 (0:1)




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May 13 2012

Corgon Liga Round 31

Published by under Domestic

Saturday’s game at Ružomberok looked a tough assignment for Žilina. They‘d played extra-time in the cup-final in midweek and were up against a side who’d had eight days to stew over an inept defeat in their previous league game. Add an appalling playing surface, strong wind and heavy rain, and the fixture really did begin to look like one where the title could be lost. Ruža started strongly, winning a succession of corners and having a plausible penalty appeal turned down inside the first quarter of an hour. Žilina slowly came into it and, after 41 minutes, Vladimír Leitner thrashed home a loose ball following a Ricardo Nunes corner. Last week’s winner at home to Vion Zlaté Moravce was Leitner’s first Corgoň Liga goal for eight years. Now he has two in two games.

The second-half, with the wind and rain driving straight down the pitch, was unwatchably dire. The only real action of note surrounded an ongoing feud between Leitner and Pavol Masaryk following an alleged elbow by the Ruža captain. Otherwise, by winning free-kicks, playing the ball into the corners, and slowing the game down, Žilina held on reasonably comfortably. It is ironic that Frans Adelaar, appointed to introduce attractive football in the Dutch style, seems to be guiding his new team to the title by means of a series of scrappy 1-0 wins.


Trnava too showed their resolve, winning 2-0 at Zlaté Moravce. After having the better first-half chances, the visitors lost Roman Procházka, sent-off for two bookable offences. But a neat Martin Vyskočil header gave them the lead ten minutes into the second period, and Ladislav Tomaček added a last-minute second after home ‘keeper Martin Kuciak had strayed miles out of his area. Once again, Trnava had formidable support behind them. Citing the atmosphere created by the visiting contingent, Vion coach Juraj Jarábek says he hopes they will be rewarded by their team claiming the title. But, still two points behind Žilina with just two games remaining, the odds remain against Trnava


Slovan Bratislava, one point behind Trnava, were expected to have little difficulty disposing of already-relegated DAC Dunajská Streda. But Vladimír Weiss’s team seem determined these days to create problems for themselves. After a goalless first-half, DAC established a 2-0 lead within ten minutes of the restart, with goals from Dzon Delarge and Arsene Coba. After the second goal, disgruntled visiting fans began to file out of the ground. Those who heeded appeals to stay, led by striker Filip Šebo, were rewarded by a ten-minute hat-trick from Juraj Halenár. His goals, a curling free-kick, a header and a penalty, were his first of the spring. They also mean that Slovan aren’t quite out of the title race yet.


Senica, by contrast, are out of the race following their 1-0 defeat at Nitra. Like Žilina, Stanislav Griga’s team may still have felt Tuesday’s cup-final in their muscles. They did contribute to an entertaining-looking game, but lost to a superbly-taken goal by Ľuboš Kolár.


Trenčín are now in fifth place, courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Banská Bystrica. It was level going into the last ten minutes, after goals from Bystrica’s Tomáš Hučko and the visitors’ Boris Godál. Then, home defender Patrik Vajda was sent-off, and Trenčín secured the points through Peter Mazan’s tremendous long-range effort.


The eastern Slovak derby between Košice and Prešov ended, fairly predictably, in a 0-0 draw. Going into the fixture, Prešov’s run of 11 points from five matches had already made a mockery of their earlier relegation worries. As for Košice, with Ján Kozák back in charge, they were always going to provide durable opposition. As Kozák and Prešov coach Sergij Kovalec both acknowledged afterwards, the match was badly affected by the wind, there wasn’t much quality on display and a draw was the right result.


With only 850 turning up, there wasn‘t much of a derby atmosphere at Košice. Two other games – DAC v Slovan and Nitra v Senica – also attracted crowds of less than 1,000. Other than at Trnava and, to a lesser extent, Žilina, there seems to be little interest in the league’s end of season issues. But those who do care will know the identity of this season’s champions by this time next week…




Ružomberok 0 Žilina 1

Zlaté Moravce 0 Trnava 2

DAC 2 Slovan 3

Nitra 1 Senica 0

Banská Bystrica 1 Trenčín 2

Košice 0 Prešov 0


James Baxter




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May 09 2012

Zilina 3-2 Senica, Cup Final

Published by under Domestic,Pohar


I still tend to the view that the SFZ are hopeless rather than malicious. But if they truly are on a mission to reduce interest in the final of the Slovak Cup, perhaps they should tell the competing teams to stop producing exciting matches. It was an excellent contest at Partizan Bardejov’s stadium on Tuesday, with Žilina finally winning their first ever domestic knockout trophy, 3-2 over Senica after extra-time.


The game had everything a final should ; two well-matched sides with contrasting styles, goals (three of which were beauties), saves and fine individual performances. The result means that Žilina’s Frans Adelaar can celebrate an honour, less than a month after his appointment as coach. Presumably, he will acknowledge that, to a large extent, he is reaping the fruits of others’ work with the team. Senica’s Stanislav Griga, meanwhile, cannot possibly fault the efforts of his players, but will be disappointed he is not going to end his club coaching career with a trophy.


Before 10 minutes were up, it was already 1-1. Tomáš Majtán headed Žilina in front after Peter Šulek had robbed Pedro Leal and crossed from the right. Tomáš Kóňa quickly replied with a curling 25-yard free-kick. Even by this stage, the sides were living up to stereotype. Senica were strong and physical, with Tomáš Strnad imposing himself and Jaroslav Diviš causing problems with his pace. Žilina, for their part, were trying to pass and move, mostly through captain Miroslav Barčík.


Barčík it was who put Žilina back in front three minutes into the second-half. He took Šulek’s pass, shuffled past a defender and thrashed the ball home from just outside the area. The goal ushered in his team’s best spell of the game, and they had chances to increase their lead. But Senica proved their durability by coming back into it again. With 18 minutes left, another wonderful strike from Kóňa made it 2-2. The winning goal, 12 minutes into the extra half-hour, was cruel on Senica. Substitute Jean Deza raced down the inside-right channel and his attempted cross deflected off Leal and looped over Peter Bolek into the net. Amidst the celebrations, there would have been relief for Majtán who, just moments earlier, had missed an open goal after a Ricardo Nunes free-kick had hit the post and rebounded straight to his feet.


Well done to the teams then, but what about the occasion as a whole? First of all, at least the public of Bardejov responded, buying up (according to a Partizan source) all the tickets allocated to them. It’s undeniable too that work had been done at the ground and to the pitch, which, despite heavy rain, was in acceptable condition. Even so, the surroundings were barely adequate. After their respective long journeys, Žilina and Senica fans found themselves sitting out in the open, low down and miles behind the goals. I can’t imagine they got much a view of the action. On one side of the pitch, opposite the main stand, the running-track (if that is what it was) was covered in mud and puddles. If anything, this favoured Žilina, as it meant that Strnad couldn’t generate much momentum when running up to take his long throw-ins.


In essence, and this is not a criticism of Partizan, or of Bardejov itself, the final should have been played elsewhere – for now, I’m sticking to my nomination of Ružomberok as a venuethat would please most partiesI’m not sure such a suggestion would cut much ice with the SFZ, however. In fact, if a press-conference given a month or so ago by president Ján Kováčik is any guide, the association appears to need a reminder of the recent history of the competition it supposedly organises. ‘It’s a long time since we’ve held a match like this in the east of Slovakia,’ said Kováčik, seemingly unaware that an eastern town (Michalovce) staged the final just two years ago. That, I’d say, pretty much backs up the charge of incompetence against him and his ‘organisation’.


Still, let’s try to end positively and name one or two players who could be destined for better things. For Žilina, Deza once again reminded us of his talent. He has mainly been used in short spells this spring, and clearly has a lot to learn. But, aged just 18, he also has plenty of time to learn it. Róbert Pich was a little quieter than in some recent games, but still had some good moments and is really beginning to fulfil his potential. Senica’s Kóňa was probably the best player on the pitch, however. Not only for his goals but for an almost immaculate all-round performance. Griga’s involvement with the Slovakia set-up should, rightly, ensure that he will soon get the chance to revive his international career.

James Baxter

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May 07 2012

Corgon Liga Update: Lucky Zilina

Published by under Domestic

Here’s a tip in case you’re ever stuck with a Žilina fan who’s bleating on about how luck and referees are always against his team ; ask him to account for Friday’s 1-0 win over Vion Zlaté Moravce. Vion, so depleted by injury they couldn’t fill their substitutes’ bench, could easily have had the game won by half-time. Only three remarkable saves by Martin Krnáč, together with some wayward finishing, kept Žilina in it. With 70 minutes gone, right–back Ernest Mabouka committed a reckless challenge on Vion’s Martin Husár. A red card looked inevitable but, while Husár left the ground in an ambulance, Mabouka stayed on the pitch. Five minutes later, substitute Vladimír Leitner headed Žilina’s winner from a Ricardo Nunez corner. As if indignity needed adding to misfortune, Vion then had Michal Pintér (who’d replaced Husár) and Patrik Pavlenda sent off.


Leitner’s goal is proof of an old footballing truth ; that teams with trophy-winning ambitions sometimes need unlikely heroes. At 37, he is the Corgoň Liga’s oldest registered player and claims to be unable to remember his last league goal. ‘It must have been at least ten years ago,’ he smiled. ‘But what’s more important is that we didn’t drop points against a very difficult Vion team.’


Senica were also in action on Friday night and enjoyed a gentle warm-up for Tuesday’s cup-final. They beat Ružomberok 2-0, thanks to early goals from Nicolas Gorosito and Martin Ďurica. Ruža coach Aleš Křeček found his team’s start to the game unacceptable. ‘I had a lot to say at half-time,’ he told the post-match press-conference, ‘but it was too late by then.’ His captain and top-scorer, Pavol Masaryk, was more outspoken. ‘Some younger players got a chance today and did absolutely nothing,’ he said. ‘There was no fight, no effort. Players like that don’t belong in the top division.’ Masaryk did, however, admit that the ‘tense situation’ at the club – speculation is rife that the owners are threatening to pull out – has got to all the players.


Senica’s win put them in second place for 24 hours, but Trnava and Slovan overtook them again on Saturday. In front of crowd of 5,328, more than double that at any of the othermatches, Trnava’s  2-0 home win over Banská Bystrica was secured with goals from Martin Vyskočil and Ladislav Tomaček.


As for Slovan, they beat Nitra 2-1 at Pasienky. What caught the eye here were the assists for the home side’s goals. Marko Milinković supplied a slide-rule through pass from which Karol Mészáros scored the first, and Filip Šebo created the second for Juraj Piroška with a perfectly-weighted cross. Andrej Ivančík pulled one back for Nitra, and their all-round performancepleased coach Ladislav Jurkemík, who was back on the bench after missing last week’s defeat to Prešov through illness. His Slovan counterpart, Vladimír Weiss, was in familiar downbeat mode after the game, lamenting the ‘situation surrounding the club’. Presumably, he was referring to its ongoing tenancy at a ground the fans hate, as well as declining support. The attendance at Saturday’s match (just 1,453) suggests he has a point.


Life is about to become a bit more interesting at Košice, as Ján Kozák Senior has returned as head coach, replacing the sacked Ladislav Šimčo. Kozák’s previous spell in charge (2005-2010) was marked by several off-field incidents, including blazing rows with opposition coaches in press-conferences and an alleged assault on Nitra’s goalkeeping coach. His first game back, away to Trenčín, went as well as could be expected, given the two sides’ recent records. Miroslav Viazanko gave Košice the lead with an extraordinary long-range effort,before Boris Godál secured a point for the hosts. There were no post-match explosions from Kozák on this occasion, simply an acknowledgement that a draw was a fair result.


Kozák’s good humour will not last long if his team is unable to climb above eastern Slovak rivals Tatran Prešov in the league table. On Saturday, Prešov hammered DAC Dunajská Streda 4-0. Two goals from Peter Katona and one each from Lukáš Stetina and Ján Papaj did the damage. As well as continuing the hosts’ recent good run, the result confirms the visitors’ relegation.


Once DAC have seen out this season – and games against Slovan, Senica and Žilina hold out little hope of consolation points – it will be interesting to see how determined they will be to regroup in II liga. My suspicion is that they will not continue in their current form. In January, there were serious doubts over whether they would complete their spring programme, and they still appear to be a woefully mismanaged club, as demonstrated by the reappointment of Werner Lorant as head coach midway through the spring. This originally entailed Krisztián Németh’s demotion to assistant coach - but then it was discovered that Lorant had failed to renew his UEFA licences and so couldn’t be head coach after all. He was hastily made director of football, a position which, as Šport pointed out, appears to involve screaming at players and fourth officials from just inside the tunnel rather than from the bench. Meanwhile, there are rumours that a group of businessmen in Dunajská Streda have lost all confidence in DAC president Khashayar Mohseni and are in talks about establishing a completely new club.


Hopefully, we’ll be able to make some sort of sense of the off-field problems at DAC and Ruža over the coming days and weeks. Back on the pitch, meanwhile, Žilina and Senica are off to Bardejov on Tuesday for the final of the Slovak Cup. Next weekend, all the title contenders face away fixtures, Žilina at Ruža, Trnava at Zlaté Moravce, Slovan at DAC and Senica (whose chances are more mathematical than realistic) at Nitra.




Žilina 1 Zlaté Moravce 0

Senica 2 Ružomberok 0

Trnava 2 Banská Bystrica 0

Slovan 2 Nitra 1

Trenčín 1 Košice 1

Prešov 4 DAC 0

James Baxter

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