MFK Košice have ended a 16-year wait for a fourth Slovakian Cup success, overcoming FC Artmedia Petržalka 3-1 in Senec. Their last triumph came in 1993, as a second division side, when AC Sparta Praha were overwhelmed 5-1.
This time round Serbian midfielder Marko Milinkovič opened the scoring on 28 minutes with a left-foot shot but Artmedia were back on level terms early in the second half thanks to Patrik Mráz's volley. Košice swiftly regained the lead, however, defender Róbert Cicman heading in and Róbert Novák added a third to make sure of victory.
It was special moment for Košice coach Ján Kozák. As a player he won the Czechoslovakia title with AC Dukla Praha in 1982 as well as the Czechoslovakian Cup. He also claimed Slovakian league titles with Košice in 1997 and 1998, with the Slovakian Cup now completing his haul of major domestic honours. "Now I finally have it, but it's a strange feeling," he said. "Two times, when I advanced to the final as a coach, I had a stronger team than today, but now I have won it. Our club decided to build with young players from the neighbourhood with some foreigners, mostly from Serbia, such as Marko Milinkovič and Nemanja Matič. It is a hard but we proved this is one way to be successful."
"Compliments go to the players for their performance," added the 55-year-old. "They played with spirit and were better than our opponents. When we eliminated Slovan Bratislava [the new Slovakian champions] in the semi-final, I said to players that Artmedia are not as strong. I was right." Košice, fourth in the Superliga, are now guaranteed a place in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
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