"I am so glad we did it," beamed coach Radoslav Látal after MFK Košice claimed their second Slovak Cup since independence with a 2-1 triumph over ŠK Slovan Bratislava.
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MFK Košice claimed their second Slovak Cup since independence five years on from their first triumph, recovering from conceding an early goal to beat runaway league leaders ŠK Slovan Bratislava in Myjava.
Slovan were angling to become the first team in 13 years to retain the trophy, and made a great start as Róbert Vittek put them in front after just six minutes. However, Oumar Diaby replied for Radoslav Látal's side not long after the half-hour mark, setting the stage for Martin Bukata to win the game with a header 16 minutes from time.
"I am so glad we did it," said the 44-year-old Látal, a 1996/97 UEFA Cup winner with FC Schalke 04 and EURO '96 runner-up with the Czech Republic. "We played very well against Slovan in the league last time out, but lost despite creating a lot of chances. Today, we made a mistake in the opening minutes, but then took our chance to level the game and then got the winner. Now, we have to enjoy this victory."
The first Slovakian side to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage – back in 1997/98 – two-time league champions Košice had do do without Ján Novák in the showpiece, the striker having scored a record 18 Slovak Cup goals.
Košice captain Peter Šinglár added: "It is an amazing feeling. We wanted the trophy more than our oponents, and even though Slovan scored first, our reward came." Slovan may not be disappointed for too long, though; 11 points clear at the top of the table with five rounds to go, they could claim the title as soon as Monday, when they meet MŠK Žilina. Their celebrations would hinge on Košice beating second-placed AS Trenčín, however.