FC Slovan Liberec | Report: Liberec - Slavia 0:0
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Championship group, Round 1: FC Slovan Liberec – SK Slavia Praha 0:0

Derek OBrien
A tough opponent faced Slovan in the first round of the championship group, as Slavia visited the U Nisa stadium. The Prague side wanted to confirm their position at the top of the table and win. On the other hand, Liberec wanted to score some points and try to earn a berth in the Europa Cup. They managed to get one point after scoring a 0-0 draw.
N1, Saturday 4.5.2019, 20:00, U Nisy
Liberec Liberec
Liberec: Nguyen - Fukala, Kačaraba, Mara, Hybš - Malinský (89. Nešický), Breite (C), Oscar, Pešek (72. Koscelník) - Potočný - Kozák.
Slavia: Kolář - Coufal, Ngadeu, Deli, Bořil - Král, Souček - Masopust (88. Baluta), Hušbauer (C), Olayinka (72. Stoch) - Buren (72. Škoda).
Yellow cards: 38. Malinský, 64. Oscar, 90+3. Nešický - 58. Olayinka. Referees: Marek - Kubr, Ratajová.


Before the start of the match, all fans and players honoured the memory of the former Slovan player Josef Šural, who died tragically this past week in a car accident in Turkey. The game started at a great pace, as both teams made strong and quick attacks. A couple of fans surely missed the Nguyen run, because the goal was unguarded for a while and the ball was controlled by Olayinka's boots, but Oscar eventually saved the whole situation.

A short time later, Kozak and Kolar crashed into each other and each player went down. After some time on the ground, both players eventually returned to their feet and stayed in the match. The offensive efforts of Slavia and Slovan were often interrupted by the referee’s whistle. Liberec’s first shot was fired by Potočný, but missed the target. At the other end, after hesitating with Buren, defender Kačaraba got free and ready to take a shot but lost his footing.

The first corner of the match was kicked by the visiting footballers in the 39th minute. After the kick, Souček went down in the area, and there was a discussion with the video referee but no penalty was given. At the end of the half, Buren had a chance but Hybš blocked his shot perfectly. To the astonishment of the Liberec players, the referee booked Oscar and Slavia had a direct kick from a very good spot, but his shot went into the wall. The scoreboard still read 0-0 after the first 45 minutes.

Early in the second half, Slavia began to attack and were the more the dominant team on the pitch, but Liberec continued to fight and threatened to counter. Olayinka had a huge chance in the 54th minute. About 10 meters away he shot into the cluster of players in front of the goal and, after a deflection, it seemed that Slavia would score, but Hybš kicked the ball away from the goal line at the last second. After one of the standard situations, Koloto tried to surprise Potoč with a quick shot, but it sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.

Emotions continued to escalate, and after a nasty foul on Oscar, a tiny scuffle was put down, with only a Liberec midfielder receiving a yellow card. With 69 minutes played, Buren almost put the home team one ahead on a cross coming in from the right, but the shot went just wide. Another dramatic moment came in the 76th minute, as Škoda went in on Nguyen and sent a shot towards the open goal, but Fukala managed to sweep it away. With the end of the match in sight, Slovan didn’t want to risk the point in the bank and sat back as Slavia tried to press.

Slavia kicked a corner at full time and after a few redirections the ball went to Balut, but his shot was blocked by the defence, and Stoch's attempt missed. In minute 90+4, Stoch’s chance was thwarted by the referee’s whistle for an offensive foul. Slovan managed to keep the scoreless draw and scored their first point in the championship group.

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