Coach Ľubomír Bohúň told uefa.com that his side "played the best football and deserved to advance" after Slovakia's Bratislava AMA booked their place in the 2009 UEFA Regions' Cup finals as Group 8 winners in Senec.
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Strength in adversity
Two goals from Roman Hlina and one each from Erik Marko and Jan Kufel in the decisive match in Senec, secured the hosts' passage to the next stage with a 4-0 win against Latvia's Kurzemes AMA. The Slovakians' tournament was marred by the injury to their keeper and captain, Jan Malec, who broke his leg in two places during the 2-0 victory over Estonia's Ararat AMA on Matchday 2, but coach Bohúň told uefa.com his side found strength in adversity. "After Malec's injury, our team spirit just grew and the players rose to the occasion," he said. "I would like to thank all the players for doing such a great job throughout the tournament as we played the best football and deserved to advance."
Bratislava did not start well, going two goals behind against Avey AMA of Azerbaijan in their opening game, but two goals from Tomáš Kakula and further strikes from Marko and Hlina saw them win 4-2. Ali Baghirov, one of Avey's men on target, was to finish as joint topscorer in Group 8 alongside Marko and Hlina with three goals, scoring twice in his side's 2-0 last-day win against Ararat. Kurzemes were the only side who could have denied Bratislava a finals' place on Matchday 3, having opened the tournamenrt with a win against Ararat and a draw against Avey, but defeat on a wet pitch in Senec ended their hopes. The final tournament will be hosted by one of the eight qualifiers in June 2009.