MŠK Žilina and SK Slavia Praha both got off the mark in UEFA Cup Group F yet a goalless draw was not really enough for either side.
With three former European champions – Aston Villa FC, Hamburger SV and AFC Ajax – completing a difficult section, the onus was on Žilina and Slavia to take all they could from the Pod Dubnon Stadium. The hosts had the edge throughout, with Slovakian international Róbert Jež a constant threat, but they found Slavia goalkeeper Martin Vaniak in fine form.
Jež shone brightest right from the start, his willingness to push forward proving a thorn in the visiting defence. The 27-year-old had already tried his luck from distance when his free-kick midway through the first half was met by Mário Pečalka. Marek Suchý was well-placed to block, however, and Czech titleholders Slavia gradually came into the game, Žilina goalkeeper Dušan Perniš being tested by a tame Matej Krajčík effort.
That was only temporary respite, though, as Jež was soon back on the prowl, his corner supplying an opening for Emil Rilke, but the forward's finish did not match the quality of the delivery. Adauto Da Silva was also guilty of wastefulness and, after half-time, Jež almost did the job himself, forcing a good save from Vaniak. Slavia had offered little in return save for half-chances for Erich Brabec, Marek Jarolím and Tomáš Necid, so coach Karel Jarolím rang the changes as time ebbed away. It was Žilina who came closest to turning one point into three, however, Adauto blazing over late on.