Coach Miroslav Koubek’s men, who before the match with Ballkani were already certain of progressing to the round of 16 from first place, will close the group stage in two weeks at home against Astana. The Kazakh team lost to Dinamo Zagreb 0:2 on their field.
“It is gratifying and probably unexpected what we have done in the Conference League. Not at all with easy opponents, everyone can see it,” Koubek said.
Seven changes in the starting line-up
Koubek made seven changes to the starting eleven from Saturday’s league match in Hradec Králové (1:1). The sick man, who could not start due to three yellow cards, was replaced in the attack by Kliment. Eighteen-year-old goalkeeper Baier and defender Paluska also got a chance from the start.
At the Albanian National Stadium, where the match was moved due to the poor pitch in Pristina, Ballkani created the first major chance in the 14th minute. However, stopper Hranáč managed to head the ball from the goal line.
On the other side, Kliment only aimed the volley into the middle of the goal. In the 36th minute, Baier held off the visitors against Karric’s shot, and at the end of the first half, Kliment missed from close range after a pass from Mosquera, who shortly afterwards did not beat Kolici from a free kick.
Goalkeeper Ballkani also made a good save at the beginning of the second half, when he blocked Kalvach’s shot. The guests began to have more and more dominance and Bucha fired over the crossbar from a good position.
In the 81st minute, they already scored thanks to Kolici’s hesitation. The goalkeeper of the reigning Kosovar champions ran confusedly out of the corner towards a group of teammates, and the free Šulc headed into the open sanctuary.
Moments later, they could have added Kalvach’s safety, but he headed just wide from distance. In the end, Viktoria kept a close lead and repeated the result from the September home match against Ballkani.
“It was a collective work. I value the knowledge that we can play it even with players who logically cannot be in optimal playing condition if they don’t play as much,” praised Koubek.
In this year’s Conference League, including qualification, Pilsen maintained their invincibility and won for the tenth time in a row. The Czech teams did not even lose their sixth cup match against their Kosovo rivals.
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