Not many people gave Viktoria Plzen a chance against Danish champions FC Copenhagen on Tuesday and not many people would have predicted such a comprehensive Czech victory either….
FC Copenhagen 1-3 Viktoria Plzen
Wise and attuned followers of Czech football have their predictions in tatters after Plzen plundered the Parken Stadion in the Danish capital but looking at European form we should anybody really be that surprised?
Pavel Vrba’s side had scored thirteen goals in their previous Champions League qualifiers, with five of those coming away from home up to this point. Statistically, at least, it should not have surprised anybody that the Gambrinus Liga champions breached the Copenhagen backline. But still, for a team that has had a fairly languid start to the season domestically and have barely been tested – bar a few spells whilst playing Rosenborg – in Europe, Plzen’s victory has come as something of a surprise.
And it hints that the best is yet to come.
Copenhagen made a inroads into the Champions League last season and were surely the team to avoid before the draw in Nyon, but as World Soccer Magazine, and Jim Holden in particular, mentioned, the Danish side have undergone somewhat of a rebuilding process over the summer. Coach Stale Solbakken departed to join Koln whilst a number of players also followed the highly-touted young manager out of the exit door such as Oscar Wendt and Zdenek Pospech who both have followed their manager into the Bundesliga.
But quality remains in this Copenhagen side, as the first-half showcased.
The hosts created a number of chances within the first forty-five minutes but failed to make any of them count. Dame N’Doye looked dangerous but toothless and let his side down with a number of poor touches in vital areas, spurning a number of chances too.
When the teams trudged in at the break, it was the Danes who were, just, the team most likely to score.
Yet in seven breath-taking second-half minutes Plzen kicked into another gear and eased into a two goal lead.
Two goals down Copenhagen finally began to threaten and forced Plzen’s newest goalkeeping recruit, Marek Cech, to make a number of fine saves in quick succession. By the time the hosts scored through Ottesen’s powerful header there was, the crowd sensed, a feeling of the inevitable about it.
Yet Viktoria Plzen responded magnificently and Martin Fillo, who had replaced the excellent Petržela, played the part of the impact substitute to aplomb surging down the right, cutting back on himself and finding just enough space to curl a shot past the outstretched fingertips of Johan Wiland in the Copenhagen goal. It was a strike that was worthy of Europe’s biggest stage and perhaps, just perhaps, it will be the goal that sends Viktoria Plzen there.
Copenhagen: Wiland – Ottesen, Jorgensen, Thomsen, Bengtsson -Claudemir, Grindheim, Kristensen, Diouf, Bolanos – N’Doye
Plzen: Čech – Rajtoral, Cišovský, Bystron, Limberský – Petržela, Trapp, Kolár, Horváth, Pilař – Duris
picture: Guillaume Baviere
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 18th August 2011