I should begin by telling you about the best goal I have ever seen live and before anybody says it,no it wasn’t scored by Gareth Bale… It was scored by a player by the name of Lukas Zelnicek of FC Moravsky Krumlov, a team sitting mid-table in the 5th tier of Czech Football.
After a Saturday afternoon of enjoying a day of sunshine at the Starobrno brewery, we took tram number 1 from Mendlovo Namesti to the home of Dosta Bystrc for a late afternoon game of football. Now, it must be said that most of the game passed us by as we sat in the club beer garden, but in the 59th minute the whole stadium rose to applaud a pure moment of magic from the away team’s centre midfielder.
Lukas Zelnicek picked up the ball in the centre circle, sidestepped the oncoming Bystrc player before looking up and hitting a shot from near on 60 yards which sailed of the goalkeeper (a Slovak U19 international) and into the net. It was a wonderful bit of skill and I doubt anybody recorded it, so we will never see it again. Just brilliant and I had to share it.
Sunday morning, the usual meeting place for the slow train to Zdar nad Sasavou, a small town in the Czech-Moravian highlands, famous for cross country skiing and the Unesco site of Zelena Hora. Of course, we were going there, not to see the sights or to ski, but to watch our first Blansko away game of the Spring season.
First stop (after a cashpoint) was a pub we knew from our previous visit to the town. With it being a stones through from the train station and beer a very reasonable 17kc, we felt it rude not go and say hello.
It was empty apart from one local, propping up the bar. As we sat at exactly the same table we had done a few months earlier, the man told us not to sit there as it was reserved for regulars. Not wanting to upset the people of Zdar, we moved to the next table, only to be told the same thing. Beginning to feel that TBK were not welcome and contemplating trying to find a place with a friendlier atmosphere, we were pointed in the direction of a table that could be ours and beers were ordered…Now, I’d recently read a report where two thirds of Czechs had admitted to being afraid of foreigners…but I never expected to see it in a pub in a small town in Vysocina. Of course, I jest.
On the way to the ground, we found a relatively nice restaurant doing a fine pork gulas, washed it down with a lovely Rychtar (note to self – must visit the brewery) and made the short walk to the game taking in Zelena Hora as we got closer to the stadium.
Zdar’s ground is one of the better at this level. A stand running all the way alongside the pitch with some terracing behind the goal and a club bar, which is where we found the majority of the Blansko support.
Greeted like long lost friends by the physio and the drummer, we ordered our beers and went to take our seats in the stand, only once again to be moved further along, but this time from a friendly face as Pavel needed to find more room for the drum. Once a suitable space was found, it wasn’t before he was belting out the first song of the day.
Like Pavel, Blansko started the game promisingly, with both Dolezal and Trtilek looking dangerous on the break and Zdar not really causing any problems. The first chance fell to our centre back, David Muller, who put his header wide of the post when it seemed easier to score. Had that gone in, I am fairly sure we would have gone on to win the game quite easily, but all our good work in keeping the home side quiet was undone by an uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper David Juran. Midway through the first half, the ball was played back to him for a routine kick up field. Juran played the ball straight to a Zdar player for him to square the ball for an easy tap in. 1-0 Zdar. Noticeably, players’ heads dropped and not even Pavel could lift them with his melodic drumbeats.
Halftime brought its own entertainment as we turned our attentions to the bar. On our way round to the bar for a half-time pint and klobasa (no klobasa), the Zdar subs were warming up by attempting to ping balls into an empty goal. I pointed out to Craggy that there was a reason why they were on the bench and not on the pitch; all attempts at goal went flying anywhere, but the back of the net. Anyway, beer bought, we made our way back to the not-so-grand stand, dodging flying footballs as we walked. Well, at least I was. Craggy on the other hand… well, he was a few steps behind me, so I only saw the aftermath. As he passed the goal, so did another size 5 Adidas, which crashed straight into his beer, knocking it out of his hand and onto the floor. The player offered an apology twice and seemed unsurprised by his actions. Perhaps, this is a regular occurrence in Zdar, but it was the first time it had happened to us. As funny as it was, I was surprised to find that the player doesn’t carry a bag of 20kc in his tracksuit bottoms.
Michal Kugler, back in charge for a second spell, must have tried to rally the troops at half-time as the Blansko team were back on the field looking a bit more confident than they had 15 minutes earlier.
Honza, Honza, Honza was back flicking the ball in the direction of his teammates, Honza Dolezal was beginning to find some joy down the right and just like the start of first half, it was Blansko who looked more likely to grab the goal. Except, except we were lacking one thing. A player in the box to get on the end of the crosses. It once again showed how important Honza Koudelka (there are a lot of Honza’s in Moravia) was to the side last season. Since he moved onto bigger and better things (now playing for Prostejov in MSFL and looking to play higher) we have lacked a player of any pace at all.
So, you won’t be surprised to read that after spending a great deal of the half knocking balls into an empty box, Zdar went straight up the other end and bagged their second to seal the match.
As the final whistle blew, we said our goodbyes to the Blansko ultra (it used to be plural), had a shot of hruskovice and even found time for Craggy to spill his second beer of the day.
A bridge too Zdar indeed.