2017-18 HET Liga Review – Week 10: The Perfect 10

History has been made. With a hard-fought victory over Sparta Prague in a raucous Generali Arena, Viktoria Plzeň became the first Czech side to start the league season with ten successive victories.

Viktoria Plzeň defeated their perennial title rivals Sparta Prague on Sunday night to maintain their perfect start to the domestic season and make history in the process: Their 1-0 win saw the three-time champions become the first Czech side to win their first ten league fixtures.

Sparta Prague started strongly and had their chances to open the scoring, only to see most of their efforts narrowly miss the target. Other events conspired against them too: Ondřej Zahustel, an omnipresent threat down the right, had a penalty claim turned down when his cross struck the arm of Jan Kopic. Despite his protestations, Radek Příhoda remained unconvinced.

Two minutes later, Plzeň scored when Lukáš  Hejda got the better of Rio Mavuba and found Kolář unmarked in the Sparta penalty area. The attacking midfielder’s header was perfectly placed, well beyond the reach of an outstretched Martin Dúbravka.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Sparta in the ascendency but unable to make their superiority count. The introduction of Tomáš Rosický cemented their advantage, but try as they might, the home side found it hard to break down a well-drilled Plzeň side. And when they did, they found Matúš Kozáčik in fine form.

The near-capacity crown thought that Sparta had equalised late on when Václav Kadlec long-range effort cannoned back off the post and fell at the feet of Tal Ben Chaim. The Israeli international had the time to control the ball and place it beyond the reach of Kozáčik. But his celebrations were curtailed by the linesman’s flag.

The loss sees Sparta down in sixth, fifteen points behind the league leaders, Viktoria Plzeň.

Plzeň’s nearest challengers are now Slavia Prague, who recorded their first away win of the season. Milan Škoda scored and then turned provider as the defending champions defeated Karviná.

Slavia’s win saw them leapfrog Sigma Olomouc, who played out the only goalless game of the weekend – a 0-0 draw with one of their bogey sides, Jablonec.

The tie between Sigma and Jablonec promised much on paper as it pitted two teams in the top four against each other. But clear-cut chances were few and far between. Olomouc have now beaten their north-east opponents just once in their last ten fixtures.

With Sparta Prague, Sigma Olomouc and Jablonec all dropping points, the biggest winners of Round 10 was Slovan Liberec, who recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over Dukla Prague.

At the other end of the table, it was a perfect start to life in Brno for Roman Pivarník. The former Plzeň and Bohemians manager was brought in to oversee first-team affairs at Srbska during the international break and he already looks to have made a positive impact in a short space of time.

Zbrojovka took the lead just after half-time, with Michal Škoda the beneficiary as he capitalised on some calamitous Slovácko defending, and they sealed the three points in the eighty-ninth minute when Tomáš Pilík was gifted far too much space to pick his spot from a few yards out. Despite the game being over as a contest, the visitors still found time to get on the scoresheet through the youngster Tomáš Zajíc.

With that win, Brno moved off the foot of the table. Their replacements at the bottom are Vysočina Jihlava, who took the lead against Zlín, only to see Dame Diop and Lukáš Železník score late on to steal the points for the Europa League side.

Arguably the goal of the weekend was Jevgenij Kabajev’s magnificent volley for Bohemians against Baník Ostrava. The Russian’s first goal in green-and-white this season was a special one, effortlessly guiding Martin Hašek’s dinked ball into the far corner of the Baník net. Kabajev’s goal levelled the tie for Bohemians and came shortly after Milan Baroš had put the visitors ahead in Prague. But just before the hour mark, on-loan midfielder Rudolf Reiter got his first ever top-flight goal to hand Bohemka their first win in five.

Finally, we’ve saved the best for last. Hidden away in the mass of Saturday 5pm kick-offs was the game between two sides who have been inconsistent as of late, Mladá Boleslav and Teplice.

Heading into the final stages of entertaining and even contest, it was Mladá Boleslav who held a narrow 2-1 lead. However, with seconds left, a Teplice corner fell to the feet of Tomáš Vondrášek, who made no mistake from six yards out.

HET Liga Results

Friday 13th October

Bohemians 1905 2-1 Baník Ostrava

Saturday 14th October

Karviná 0-2 Slavia Prague
Mladá Boleslav 2-2 Teplice
Sigma Olomouc 0-0 Jablonec
Slovan Liberec 3-0 Dukla Prague
Zbrojovka Brno 2-1 Slovácko
Zlín 2-1 Vysočina Jihlava

Sunday 15th October

Sparta Prague 0-1 Viktoria Plzeň

  • Posted by Chris Boothroyd
  • On 16th October 2017