Plzeň – The Pilsen footballers beat Dinamo Zagreb 1:0 at home in the fourth match of the European Conference League, they won for the fourth time in Group C, and with two rounds to go, they secured promotion from first place to the spring round of 16.
The match in Doosan Arena in front of 11,084 spectators was decided in the 35th minute by Tomáš Chorý with a penalty kick. The Pilsen striker also converted a penalty two weeks ago in a 1-0 win in Zagreb.
Coach Miroslav Koubek’s men will play in the penultimate duel of the “Céčka” in three weeks on the Ballkani pitch. The Kosovar team has four points on their account, just like Astana, whose today’s match in Kazakhstan ended 0:0. Dinamo is last in the table with three points.
The home team started in the same line-up as in Sunday’s 2:1 league win over Slavia. Stopper and captain Hejda started only on the bench. Dinamo created the first opportunity in the sixth minute. Ristovský’s shot from outside the penalty area was blocked by goalkeeper Staněk, who after a head injury returned to the field wearing a protective helmet.
The visiting goalkeeper Zagorac lost the ball in the 25th minute after an aerial duel with Chorý, and the Pilsen forward hit it into the empty net, but the referee disallowed the goal due to an offensive foul.
The West Bohemians continued to press. After the corner, Mišič played in the box with his hands and in the 35th minute the penalty kick was easily converted by Chorý, who thus additionally celebrated the prime minister’s nomination to the representative A-team.
The home team could have added an insurance after that, but Kalvach’s shot was blocked by Zagorac, and then even the onrushing Dweh and Cadu failed. Just before the break, Chorý failed in a 100% chance when he mishandled the ball in front of Zagorac and only hit the goalkeeper.
The reigning Croatian champions could have equalized shortly after the change of sides, but Špikič narrowly missed. Dinamo was much more active after that than in the first half. Staněk did not keep the ball after Mišič’s blow, and referee Sidiropulos ordered a penalty kick for the visitors after the subsequent contact of the home goalkeeper with Baturona. However, he called it off again in the 70th minute after intervention by the video referee (VAR) and a check on the monitor.
In the dramatic ending, Viktoria was once again helped by VAR, which revealed close offside during Kulenović’s equalizing goal. In this year’s Conference League, including the preliminary rounds, Pilsen maintained their invincibility and won the ninth out of ten matches. Dinamo lost in the Czech Republic in European cups for the third time in a row.
Miroslav Koubek (coach of Pilsen): “We are certainly very pleased with the progress. It was after a very difficult match against a quality opponent. We had to work hard, fight for the match. In the second half we were running out of strength. The end was really hectic and we all took a breather and rejoiced when the referee blew the whistle. There were certain moments that were scrutinized. The opponent was already rejoicing, then we were rejoicing. The VAR (video referee) proved it as he proved it and he is not wrong at that moment. I have to highlight the pressure of the opponent, they showed high quality at that moment. Fortunately, it was confirmed that they are still struggling in the end after all. And that was our luck.”
Sergey Yakirovich (Dinamo coach): “I think that today was not completely fair. I feel that it is not a coincidence. The penalty against us seems at least strange to me. Some situations sounded in our favor, but VAR did not react at all. In the end, I also saw the reason for disallowing the goals and it seems to me, that drawing the offside lines is so random. I just don’t understand it. I believe that promotion is still possible, we have to beat Astana and Ballkani. But I don’t want to underestimate anyone, it’s not easy to beat anyone in this group, as we saw today.”
Tomas Chory (striker of Pilsen, author of the goal): “I’m proud of the team. It’s something unbelievable. If someone had told us before the start of the group that after four games we would have the full number of points and we would be celebrating progress to the round of 16, then probably no one would have believed it. Today was challenging, Dinamo us from the beginning pushed, but we got out of it and had some chances. Thank God that it ended like this, because it’s a really valuable victory and it’s really incredible for all of Pilsen.”
Viktoria Plzeň – Dinamo Zagreb 1:0 (1:0)
Goal: 35. Sick from pen. Referees: Sidiropulos – Kostaras, Dimitriadis – Papapetru (video, all Greek). ŽK: Chorý, Jirka, Staněk, Kliment, Dweh, Kalvach – Ristovski, Perkovič, Marin, Jakirovič (coach). Spectators: 11,084.
Pilsen: Staněk – Dweh, Hranáč, Jemelka – Kopic, Traoré (90.+1 Sýkora), Kalvach, Cadu – Jirka (90.+1 Hejda), Šulc (74. Bucha) – Chorý (74. Kliment). Coach: Koubek.
Dinamo: Zagorac – Perkovič, Ristovski, Perič, Ljubićič (79th Moharramí) – Bulat (46th Sučič), Mišič – Kaneko (88th Marin), Baturina, Špikič (67th Vidovič) – Emreli (46th Kulenović). Coach: Jakirovic.
Sport football Conference 4th round Zagreb Pilsen OPENER