ŠK Slovan Bratislava have retained the Slovak Cup after a thrilling final with MŠK Žilina, lifting the trophy for the fifth time since independence and 12th overall following a penalty shoot-out at the end of a 3-3 draw.
The capital side beat FC Spartak Trnava 6-0 to win the competition last season but were given a much sterner test this time around, despite going ahead on just six minutes when Žilina midfielder Ľubomír Guldan scored an own goal. The league leaders conceded twice before the interval, with a fierce Štefan Zošák shot and Ivan Lietava's clever lob requiring a response from league top scorer Filip Šebo to take the match into extra time.
The same player then struck again to take Slovan to the brink of victory, only for Patrik Mráz to level things up in the last remaining seconds. Žilina went into the shoot-out hopeful of claiming the cup for the first time in their history, yet they were left empty-handed when their opponents prevailed 5-4 from the spot.
"When we scored our third goal in extra time, I still believed it could finish with penalties, and then came the last few seconds and their last shot," commented victorious coach Karel Jarolím, who replaced Jozef Jankech in October. "Of course, it's very satisfying, especially as I joined the team after the season had started. Now we will have a small celebration and then we want to win the other trophy – the Slovak league." His side currently lie a point clear of FK Senica with four games to go.
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