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Czechs and Slovaks meet again

Tuesday's instalment of UEFA Regions' Cup action will see the two halves of the former Czechoslovakia reunited.

By Jim Wirth in Krakow

Tuesday afternoon's second round of UEFA Regions' Cup finals action sees the two halves of the former Czechoslovakia reunited.

Tense times
Czech representatives JMKFS Brno face their neighbours from across the border, Central Slovakia, in Proszowice in a Group A match neither side can afford to lose. With hosts Malpolska meeting first-day winners South-West Region-Sofia, the stage is set for a tense encounter.

Natural talent
Ladislav Bedrich's Brno were drawing their opening game against Sofia with eight minutes remaining only to concede two goals, leaving them needing kind results elsewhere to have a chance of reaching Sunday's final. They showed plenty of natural talent in Zabierzow, but finishing was their problem.

Stylish Slovaks
Ján Petrák's Slovakian team, buoyed by a legion of supporters in Brzesko, managed a 1-1 draw against Malopolska in their opening match, but despite some stylish play and neat movement in midfield, it took a five-star performance from goalkeeper Peter Pernis to keep them in the game.

Unhappy ending
Malopolska coach Michal Królikowski paid tribute to his players after they went all out for victory against their Slovakian counterparts, but as he reflected on his side's display he could not bring himself to be pleased with the result. "I cannot be too happy," he said.

Top scorer
His opposite number at Sofia, Ivan Iliev, was undoubtedly delighted with his team's showing against Brno, as they demonstrated their pace and power in the sun, and perhaps more importantly, proved they could apply a finishing touch. With two goals in the game, Sofia striker Ivan Todorov is currently the finals' top scorer.

Vasca rampant
In Group B, Vasca will be aware that a win against Dacia in Wolbrom would put them within an ace of the final. The Spanish representatives showed their prowess in a 4-1 opening-day win against Kahovka-Kzeso, but they will do well to beware Romanian opponents whose short-passing game can be effective as well as stylish.

Power aplenty
Dacia drew 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland on Matchday 1, in a match the Irish could well have won but for the heroics of goalkeeper Petre Baluta. Nonetheless, Gerry Smith's men have power aplenty as they prepare to take on Kahovka-Kzeso, with midfield maestro Sean O'Connor having proved a real handful against Dacia.

Mission improbable
Kahovka's task in clawing their way back into contention in Libiaz has been made much harder by red cards for Viktor Bakum and Viacheslav Diachenko late in the game against Vasca. Coach Viktor Kovalenko now has only one recognised striker, Aleksey Ananichev, as the Ukrainians prepare for a must-win encounter.