FC Slovan Liberec | Report: Liberec - Sparta 0:1
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Fortuna League, Round 23: FC Slovan Liberec – AC Sparta Praha 0:1

In the 23rd round of the FORTUNA:LIGA, Sparta Prague paid a highly anticipated visit the U Nisy stadium. Jan Sýkora returned to play for Slovan, but the match did not bring him much joy. After Costa gave Sparta the lead, Kozák was unable to answer on a penalty. That is why Slovan succumbed by a narrow 1-0 scoreline.
23.kolo, Saturday 2.3.2019, 17:00, U Nisy
Liberec Liberec
Liberec: Nguyen - Mikula, Kačaraba (40. Kačaraba), Karafiát, Hybš - Potočný, Breite (C) (70. Musa), Oscar, Pešek - Sýkora (60. Nešický) - Kozák.
Sparta: Nita – Zahustel, Plechatý, Costa, Matěj Hanousek – Hložek, Sáček, M. Frýdek, Dočkal (C) (90. Hašek), Moberg Karlsson (65. Civić) – Drchal (71. Tetteh).
Goal: 56. Costa. Referees: Franěk - Vlasjuk, Vitner. Yellow cards: 33. Kozák, 45+1. Potočný - 30. Sáček, 33. Costa, 80. Zahustel.


Sparta started with possession of the ball but Slovan aggressively pursued it right away. In the 3rd minute, Karafiát shot from the right corner but Costa was able to react in time and cleared the ball to safety. Right from the beginning of the game, emotions were high but accompanied by referee Franěk was rather calm and didn’t show a yellow card in the early going. One of the first chances for Slovan ended when Kozák’s shot might have hit Costa’s hand in the area, but no penalty was forthcoming. The first shot on target was taken by Liberec, as Mikula dished to Oscar for the one-timer, only to find Nita ready with his gloves.

In the 20th minute, a Dočkal foul produced a Liberec chance. From the left wing, Pesek passed to Sýkora who found Potočný for the finish, but from a sharp angle he could only hit the side of the net. The first corner in the match also went to Slova in the 24th minute, but Sparta held their ground. Slovan continued to carry the play and in the 26th minute, Sýkora took a chance and fired, but just missed.

Three minutes later, Karafiát almost scored but Nita made a great save. Sparta then threatened with quick attacks, one of them within range of shooting on Nguyen. As halftime neared, Slovan threatened with a couple of shots, but neither hit the target. Then Sparta got their first shot off a header by, in the bend he headed after the center of Drchal, but Nguyen was there. Although Slovan were the more dangerous side in the first half, both teams went into the break scoreless.

For the first time in the second half, Slovan threatened, but from a long distance, Karafiát’s header sailed high. With 56 minutes played, Costa Nhamoinesu struck dramatically from just outside the penalty area. Unable to reach the post in time to prevent the goal, Nguyen stretched out in vain. Slovan tried to regroup and answer quickly, but Sparta defended well and did not let Liberec get any big chances. In the 69th minute, the home side were calling for a penalty again after a shot from Breite, but the referees decided there was no hand ball.

In the 77th minute, the game was played by Slovan Potočný and several players took part in the game. The entire play was reviewed on video and the referee eventually awarded a penalty. Libor Kozák stepped up, but Nita jumped to the right spot and caught it. Kozák had another opportunity after a pass from Hybš, but the play was flagged offside. Sparta managed to ward off Liberec for the rest of the game and escaped with a 1-0 win.

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