FC Slovan Liberec | Report: Ostrava - Liberec 1:2
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Fortuna League, Round 1: Baník Ostrava – Slovan Liberec 1:2

In the first round of the FORTUNA:LIGA, the Slovan footballers headed to Baník Ostrava. It marked the debut of manager Pavel Hoftych and it must be said that, in the end, it was a successful debut. Ostrava took the early lead in the 9th minute when Kuzmanovič came through. At the beginning of the second half, however, Pešek leveled the scores and, in the last minute of the match, Potočný netted his header and secured the first Liberec win of the new season.
1.kolo, Saturday 13.7.2019, 17:00, Městský stadion Vítkovice
Ostrava Ostrava
Ostrava: Budinský - Fleišman (C), Procházka, Stronati, Fillo - Holzer (68. Granečný), Hrubý (82. Baroš), Jánoš, Reiter - Smola, Kuzmanovič (58. Diop).
Liberec: Nguyen – Mikula, Kačaraba, Karafiát, Hybš – Mara (87. Nešický), Breite (C), Oscar - Pešek (65. Musa), Koscelník – Potočný.
Goals: 9. Kuzmanovič - 53. Pešek, 90+4. Potočný. Yellow cards: 61. Jánoš, 75. Smola, 86. Fleišman - 52. Oscar, 60. Breite, 75. Potočný, 78. Musa. Referees.: Berka – Kubr, Vaňkát.


The opening match of the season didn’t start well for Slovan. At the beginning of the fifth minute, Ostrava's Holzer centred from the left side and Tomáš Smola just missed the ball. Four minutes later, however, the home side struck. Martin Fillo ran past four players in blue as if they were training dummies and put the ball into the area for Kuzmanovic, who perfectly placed his shot just inside the far post to make it 1-0. Slovan responded with their first chance in the 21st minute. A long cross found Koscelník, and he flicked it to Fleišman in full flight, but at that speed he couldn’t draw aim and the ball flew well wide of the goal.

The game was very balanced with attentive defensive. Another chance came in the 33rd minute, again on the side of Slovan, with Pešek and Breit combining in close. Then came a free kick from Kamso Mara, but Stronati jumped in his way and blocked the shot. Both teams continued to develop plays, but all the work always failed on careful backups or defence. The teams went to their dressing rooms with Ostrava ahead 1-0.

Again at the start of the second half, Banik were the more dominant side. Kuzmanovič found Smola in the area, who shot, but Koscelník cleared the ball out of harm’s way. Three minutes later, Slovan finally equalised. The home team played a standard situation, but the Liberec defence kicked the ball up to Fleišman. The Ostrava captain tried to intercept the pass but failed to do. Jakub Pešek ran straight in on Budinský. He put the home goalkeeper on the ground and headed the ball into the unguarded cage to make it 1-1. After the equalising goal, it seems as if new blood began pouring into Liberec's veins and they started to play like a better team.

In the 57th minute, Smola rushed in on Nguyen, who took away the angle and thwarted the chance. In the end, the play was offside anyway. Ten minutes later, Diop complained of a penalty after a hard tackle by Mara, but referee Berka ignored his pleas. However, a penalty kick was given in the 73rd minute, when Smola and Karafiát both went after a high ball and collided, with the Ostrava striker falling to the ground. To the amazement of many, the referee blew his whistle and indicated a penalty. In the ensuing skirmish, Smola and Potocny earned yellow cards and, according to the new rule, Liberec manager Hoftych and goalkeeper Marek Čech were also shown it. Luckily, Robert Hrubý's shot went just outside the penalty area.

Baník continued to press. In the 80th minute, the Liberec defence picked up the ball from Smola's header in the small box. As full time approached, the players were running out of steam and Slovan took the reins again. It was a bad chance for a free kick by Nešický after 94 minutes. Roman Potočný managed to extend his head to the centre and the ball went in to give Liberec a 2-1 lead! There was no time left for anything to happen after that, and the referee ended the match to give Slovan their first three points.

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