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Season review: Slovakia

Published: Thursday 4 June 2009, 8.39CET
ŠK Slovan Bratislava secured their first Slovakian title in a decade – and fifth over all – with four games to spare while there was cup triumph for MFK Košice and coach Ján Kozák, whose namesake son plays for the champions.
by Rastislav Hribik
from Bratislava
Season review: Slovakia
Košice lift the Slovakian Cup ©SITA
Published: Thursday 4 June 2009, 8.39CET

Season review: Slovakia

ŠK Slovan Bratislava secured their first Slovakian title in a decade – and fifth over all – with four games to spare while there was cup triumph for MFK Košice and coach Ján Kozák, whose namesake son plays for the champions.

ŠK Slovan Bratislava secured their first Slovakian title in a decade – and fifth overall – with four games to spare, but there was a less happy outcome for FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce, who played in 2007/08 UEFA Cup and have now been relegated after finishing bottom.

Champions: ŠK Slovan Bratislava
With new owner in Ivan Kmotrík and three experienced signings from last season's champions FC Artmedia Petržalka - Branislav Obžera, Juraj Halenár and Ján Kozák – Slovan's wait to become the first five-time titlewinners since independence is over. MŠK Žilina and FC Spartak Trnava pushed them hard for much of the season.

Cup final: MFK Košice 3–1 FC Artmedia Petržalka
Košice clinched the first trophy since changing their nomenclature from 1. FC in 2005, earning a maiden Slovakian Cup for coach Ján Kozák, a two-time league champion with the club as a player and the father of the Slovan midfielder of the same name. Having outplayed Slovan to win their semi-final, Košice also outclassed Artmedia in Senec, Marko Milinkovič, Róbert Cicman and Róbert Novák on target.

European places
Slovan Bratislava – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Košice – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
MŠK Žilina – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Spartak Trnava – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the Year: Marko Milinkovič (MFK Košice)
While Liverpool FC's Martin Škrtel was named as Slovakia's Player of the Year in January, there is no official award for the best player in the domestic league. However, the most impressive performer was Serbian midfielder Marko Milinkovič. The former FK Borac Čačak playmaker, just 21, scored twice on his side's route to Slovakian Cup success, and helped his young team finish fourth in the league with eight goals and nine assists.

One to watch: Miloš Lačný (MFK Ružomberok)
After an injury to experienced forward Marek Bakoš injury, Ružomberok turned to the 21-year-old midfielder in attack. It was good decision, as having not scored in the first half of the season he managed a league-leading eleven in the spring campaign, culminating in his hat-trick in the concluding 5-1 defeat of champions Slovan. "I would like to be the top goalscorer next season," said the Slovakian Under-21 international.

Surprise package: DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda
Attendances have fallen in Slovakia this season but not in Dunajská Streda. Although they could not maintain the top-five place they held at Christmas, ending ninth, they attracted healthy crowds, partly due to attractive football and their cosmopolitan squad, which until the winter break included Cameroonian forward Leonard Kweuke, who scored eleven goals before a January switch to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Leading scorer: Pavol Masaryk, ŠK Slovan Bratislava (15)

Number: 156,241
The aggregate attendance for Slovan's home games, the league's highest.

Quote
"The beard had started to get nasty."
Slovan captain Michal Hanek, who opted at Christmas not to shave again until his team clinched the title; he removed the beard minutes after the final whistle of the decisive game against FC Nitra.

Last updated: 05/06/09 10.02CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=svk/news/newsid=835315.html#season+review+slovakia

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