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Season review: Slovakia

Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 18.57CET
MŠK Žilina captured their first Slovakian double but were pushed hard by FC Spartak Trnava and ŠK Slovan Bratislava in the league while FK Senica took them to extra time in the cup final.
by Rastislav Hribik
from Bratislava
Season review: Slovakia
Žilina celebrate after completing the double ©UEFA.com
Published: Monday 21 May 2012, 18.57CET

Season review: Slovakia

MŠK Žilina captured their first Slovakian double but were pushed hard by FC Spartak Trnava and ŠK Slovan Bratislava in the league while FK Senica took them to extra time in the cup final.

MŠK Žilina captured their first Slovakian double, but they were forced to toil for their rewards. Extra-time winners in the cup final, their main challenge in the league came not – as expected – from reigning champions Vladimír Weiss' ŠK Slovan Bratislava, but up-and-coming FC Spartak Trnava.

Champions: MŠK Žilina
Žilina leapfrogged Spartak in the last match before the winter break and never looked like relinquishing their advantage after the March resumption. Strong at home and steady away, their progress was seldom interrupted, even when Frans Adelaar replaced Ľuboš Nosický at the helm of with two months to go. Slovan and Spartak snapped at their heels, and Žilina needed to win their last game of the season at DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda to avoid a title play-off against Spartak – they made no mistake, triumphing 2-0.

Cup final: MŠK Žilina 3-2 FK Senica, aet
Five-time runners-up, MŠK at last broke their Slovak Cup duck in Bardejov after seeing off a dogged Senica side. Twice Adelaar's team forged ahead, but twice the underdogs bit back to force extra time. A 102nd-minute strike from Peruvian substitute Jean Deza finally brought them to heal.

European places*
MŠK Žilina – UEFA Champions League, second qualifying round
FC Spartak Trnava – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
ŠK Slovan Bratislava – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
FK Senica – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Miroslav Barčík (MŠK Žilina)
Barčík is 33 now but he made an immediate impression on his return to the club last summer after five years away. Handed the captain's armband, he drew on all his experiences playing in Greece and Poland to lead the side to glory, ably assisted by the likes of goalkeeper Martin Krnáč and forward Róbert Pich. The league title was his fourth for MŠK, having previously won in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

One to watch: Seydouba Soumah (FC Nitra)
Small and unassuming, Guinean Soumah has let his agile wing play do the talking since arriving from the University of Pretoria in February on a three-year deal. He was a virtual ever-present in the second half of the season, scoring twice, but it is his poise on the ball, versatility and eye for a pass that mark him out.

Surprise package: FK AS Trenčín
Trenčín returned to the top flight this season after a three-year hiatus and looked like they had never been away as they captured fifth spot – just one place shy of their best. Their mantra was that attack was the best form of defence and their tally of 51 goals, with Trinidadian midfielder Lester Peltier scoring ten, was bettered only by MŠK.

Leading scorer: Pavol Masaryk, MFK Ružomberok (17 goals)

Relegated: DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda

Promoted: TJ Spartak Myjava

Number: 142,361
Cumulative attendance at Spartak's games this season, an average of 4,313 and over 50% more than the next most popular side, Slovan.

Quote
"I have a feeling we have learned how to lose."
Master of understatement Tomáš Huber after Dunajská Streda started the campaign with seven successive defeats; they were relegated.

Last updated: 10/07/12 16.31CET

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