If fans at the Generali Arena felt
disappointed about a lack of goals, the same couldn’t be said about those who
turned up to watch the small Prague derby between Slavia and Dukla on Saturday
The defending champions peppered Filip Rada’s goal and were entertaining value for their comprehensive 5-0 victory. Both Milan Škoda and Jaromír Zmrhal scored a brace, with the fifth coming from Tomáš Souček, who capped off the victory with his third in four games for club and country.
Just like Slavia, Viktoria Plzeň are hoping to progress in the Europa League and they too will be venturing beyond the Czech border this midweek. Pavel Vrba’s side enjoyed a similarly one-sided warm-up to their European sojourn, with the runaway league leaders beating Slovácko 4-1 thanks to goals from Jan Kopic, Radim Řezník and Lukáš Hejda.
The result will be some measure of revenge for Plzeň, who were surprisingly beaten by the Uherské Hradiště side in the MOL Cup 4th Round during the international break.
The final side preparing for a Europa League away day is Zlín, who conceded early and late in the game to fall to second-placed Sigma Olomouc. Tomáš Chorý and Martin Hála were the goalscorers for the Hanáci club and the result sees Zlín, winless in their past four league games, slip to tenth.
Just before the league paused for a round of international action, Karviná parted company with Jozef Weber and installed sporting director and former Vítkovice and Porto defender Lubomír Vlk as their new manager on an interim basis. The switch in manager wielded a positive response as the Silesian side picked up their first win in nearly two months as they beat Jablonec 2-1 on home soil. Stanislav Tecl opened the scoring for the visitors, but goals from Filip Panak and Jan Kalabiška ensured Vlk’s managerial debut was a successful one.
The win moves Karviná out of the bottom two, with Slovácko and the Silesian giants Baník Ostrava replacing them in the drop zone.
Baník travelled up north to take on Slovan Liberec and found themselves a goal down early on when Radim Breite opened the scoring after just three minutes. The 2004 Czech champions responded well and levelled the tie ten minutes later through Tomáš Mičola.
From then on, the match itself was fairly even but it was decided by a moment of genius when Ondřej Karafiát stepped out of the Liberec defence and played a pinpoint pass through the entire Baník team to set up Radek Voltr for what would be the game’s winning goal.
With Karviná, Slovácko, Jihlava and Baník all losing, the biggest winners this weekend were Zbrojovka Brno who move up to thirteenth.
Despite picking up a vital three points in the battle against relegation, the Moravian side were extremely fortunate in the manner of their victory and played more than half of their game against Teplice with ten men after Francis Koné was given his marching orders shortly before halftime. Substitute Michal Škoda, with practically his first touch, volleyed in a late winner - a strike that will surely be among the goal of the season contenders come May.
And finally, referee Pavel Orel had a busy afternoon, brandishing eight yellow cards and one red card in a tempestuous clash between Mladá Boleslav and Bohemians 1905 on Sunday afternoon. Young centre-back Matěj Chaluš was given his marching orders in the final moments after he hauled down Bohemians’ Benjamin Tetteh, denying what would have been a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The game was decided by a moment of brilliance from Jakub Nečas, a fitting moment in an otherwise scrappy game. With that win, Bohemians move up to sixth.