Prague, Czech Republic – Viktoria Plzen and Slavia Prague respectively won and drew their Europa League home games last night.
Viktoria Plzeň, who qualified for the round of 32 by finishing third of its Champions League group, came from behind to beat Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 in a tense game at the Doosan Arena. Defender Luděk Pernica was the hero of the night, scoring both goals – his first two goals for the Czech side.
Meanwhile, Slavia Prague’s encounter against Belgian side Genk ended in a dull 0-0 which nevertheless means that the Czech side has still not conceded a single goal at home in the competition this season. For the record, Slavia Prague has not won a knockout game in 19 years…
Despite none of the two teams losing, qualification for the round of 16 thus promises to be an uphill battle for the last two Czech and Central European teams left in European competitions this year.
But before the return legs in Croatia and Belgium, which will take place on February 21, the two Czech teams will meet this weekend in a very promising Czech First League showdown. Currently second, six points behind leaders Slavia Prague, Viktoria Plzen will host their bitter rivals at the Doosan Arena on Sunday 17, at 5pm.
In recent years, the two sides have been challenging the rule of Sparta Prague, owned by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Currently fourth, Sparta is the most successful team in Czech First League history, having won more than half of league titles since 1993, but has not won the league since 2014. Cross city rivals Slavia Prague are owned by Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy.