FC Slovan Liberec | Report: Liberec - Apoel FC 1:0
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Europa League, play-off: Slovan Liberec – APOEL FC 1:0

Slovan faced probably their most important match of the autumn, a battle for a place in the group stage of the Europa League. The match against APOEL was played carefully from both sides with not many scoring chances. Two moments were decisive, namely Nguyen´s save and then a penalty against APOEL in time added. Kamso Mara scored on the penalty kick and sent Slovan to the Europa League group stage!
play-off, Thursday 1.10.2020, 19:00
Liberec Liberec
Apoel FCApoel FC
Liberec: Nguyen - Koscelník, Kačaraba, Tijani, Mikula (C) - Pešek (79. Matoušek), Mara, Hromada, Beran (55. Rabušic) - Mosquera, Júsuf.
Apoel FC: Silva - Nsue, Artur Jorge, Shelis - André Geraldes, De Vincenti (C), Tuhami (90+4. Merkis), Zahid, Suleiman (83. Klonaridis) - Ndongala (68. Atzili), Nuhiu.
Goal: 90+4. Mara (pen.). Yellow cards: 8. Kačaraba, 90. Hromada, 90+1. Čech (trenér brankářů), 90+6. Matoušek - 69. Nuhiu, 90+6. Da Vincenti. Referees: Ekberg - Culum, Hallberg.


The Cypriots started aggressively at the beginning, reaching Nguyen, who put his hand in the ground pass. However, the ball bounced off one of the attackers and he tried to shoot from an angle, our defenders blocked the attempt. Slovan "stuck the corners" for the first time in the seventh minute. Pešek did not reach the pass from Mosquery and the subsequent completion of the situation was stopped by Koscelník's hand. In the eleventh minute, Liberec played a corner, Mikula tried to head on the near post but did not hit the goal. At the other end, Nuhi got to a header, aiming just above the crossbar.

After 23 minutes, Beran made a speedy advance and dropped the ball to Eduardo Alonso, who shuffled it past the keeper. Very dangerously, after a pass for the defence, Ndongala got a chance, but Nguyen ran out in time and neutralized the danger. The game at the end of the half was very balanced, as neither team got to a direct threat to the goal. There was a certain nervousness and focus on defensive work on both teams.

APOEL had a magnificent opportunity in the 52nd minute as Nguyen hit the ball hard from the edge of the penalty area. However, the shot went wide. De Vincenti returned the pass to Nhuia, who tried to beat Nguyen from close range with a ground shot, but failed. With 59 minutes played, Mara had a fantastic opportunity but his shot flew harmlessly into the side-netting of the goal. The game looked the same most of the time, as Slovan tried to use the tall Júsuf to win ball possession for other players. APOEL tried a patient ground combination but did not generate a shot. This was also the case in the 71st minute, in which Mikula blocked Atzili's attempt.

Slovan held back a lot in the second half and let APOEL play as the Liberec footballers waited for breaks, but they rarely came. With 80 minutes played, Kačaraba nearly put the visitors another one up as he broke through in the middle and fired from just outside the box, but his shot passed just over the bar. The main referee remained calm, the penalty did not take place. In the 90th minute, Matoušek demanded a penalty for an apparent handball, to no avail. That was followed by a corner kick and this time a penalty for a handball in the area. The ball was readied by Kamso Mara and he made no mistake. Mara shot in the middle of the goal, Silva jumped to the left and Slovan could rejoice from the 1-0 lead!

APOEL moved all forces to attack after the conceded goal, but the Liberec team did not let the leadership be taken and advanced to the basic group of the European League!

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