Gambrinus Liga Review– Round 16
As the 2012/2013 season moved past its halfway mark, we all waved “na shledanou” to domestic league action in the Czech Republic for 2012. While other leagues in more temperate climates will play on through the winter period with orange balls and community efforts to clear snow off pitches, the Gambrinus Liga will hibernate until the end of February. With the transfer window taking place in January, this breaks allows all clubs the chance to take stock of the Autumn half and prepare for the culmination in the Spring. Who headed into Christmas on a high and who will certainly be getting a lump of coal come December 25th?
Dukla Praha 3-0 Slovan Liberec (att: 1,641)
From champions to also-rans in just six months, that is the story of Slovan Liberec who are finding last season increasingly harder to replicate. Dukla exploited the now inherent weaknesses in the Liberec defence to carve them open on a number of occasions and should have been well out of sight before Jan Vorel headed in the hosts second on seventy-five minutes. Zbyněk Pospěch, who had opened the scoring, rifled in a Romera cutback late on to leave Jaroslav Šilhavý contemplating his future.
Slavia Praha 0-2 Baník Ostrava (att: 7,080)
Baník crashed Stanislav Vlček’s retirement party and left with three points that saw the struggling side sit just above the relegation zone over Christmas. For Slavia though it is now no wins in five and the optimism that Petr Rada initially brought appears to be very much on the wane. Ostrava, who had been woeful on their last visit to Prague, netted twice in a comfortable win; perennial substitute Robert Zeher’s free-kick the goal of the evening.
Slovácko 1-1 Sigma Olomouc (att: 5,043)
A great atmosphere in Uherské Hradište same both sides score a goal apiece and wonder what might have been. Sigma lost back-to-back games against fellow top four teams, while Slovácko began horrendously before Svatopluk Habanec took over the hot seat and since have quietly ascended the table. Milan Kerbr and Martin Doležal got their names on the score sheet as both teams will undoubtedly head back to regroup for the remaining fourteen games.
České Budějovice 0-1 Mladá Boleslav (att: 1,825)
Crowds weren’t exactly out in force to see these two sides clash, which when you take into account the five goal thriller the two teams played out in August is a little surprising. This encounter was on the other end of the spectrum with the sole goal coming from Boleslav’s recent goal machine, veteran defender Petr Johana, who followed up a brace against Dukla with an early winner.
Jablonec 3-2 Hradec Králové (att: 2,028)
The game of the weekend saw Jablonec lead the league for twenty-four hours, but failed to follow the pre-match script many had written. Rather predictably David Lafata opened the scoring – his thirteenth so far – but then Haris Harba and Emir Halilovič, Hradec’s Bosnian connection, gave the visitors a surprise, but thoroughly deserved lead. But Jablonec, through Jakub Štochl, equalised on the stroke of half-time before David Lafata converted a penalty soon into the second period. Hradec were like a bottle of pop; full of fizz that overcame everything, but soon fell flat. As such, Jablonec narrowly picked up the win in a great match of football.
Teplice 2-0 Zbrojovka Brno (att: 3,318)
A very much needed for Teplice who have since announced the departure of four first-team players as Zdeněk Ščasný begins to oust the deadwood in the offseason. Brno had their chances and failed to convert, whilst with the clock winding down Ján Chovanec and Aidin Mahmutovič clinically took theirs. Teplice hop out of the bottom two.
Příbram 0-0 Sparta Praha (att: 5,682)
Příbram remain bottom with their point picked up against Sparta, but holding the Prague giants to a point should provide some sense of optimism to cling onto for the next few months. Sparta in truth were at their misfiring most frustrating. Their failure to win saw them slip to three points the eventual league leaders Plzeň.
Viktoria Plzeň 1-0 Vysočina Jihlava (att: 9,862)
In the corresponding fixture earlier this campaign, Jihlava startled Pavel Vrba’s side and picked up all three points at the Stadion v Jiráskově ulici. At the Doosan Arena though things were just as tight and unpredictable but advantage rested with the home side when the action was brought to a halt after ninety minutes. Marek Bakoš’ headed goal from a Pavel Horváth’s sumptuous cross was the difference as Plzeň go into the break leaders.