Players:

Radek Simunek
Doron Raviv Garrett Parker anonymous Endre Szabo
Ricardo Garcia Dave Sheppard Stephan Schuchardt Dammy Olubokun
Vitaly Klopot Todd Benson

Substitutes:

Scored goals:

  1. Dammy Olubokun

Report

A Sunday evening kick-off sent Partisan on an away task to Spartak Hrdlorezy, who came into the tie with full points from their first two matches. The pitch was fantastic and Partisan brought the biggest yet contingent of support, numbering nearly six, which was dwarfed by Spartak's twenty. The match started with long balls from both sides and neither side really applying pressure or asserting dominance, until the 9th minute, when a ball bounced around the Partisan back line came to the top of the box where a Spartak striker was given the freedom to have a look, take time for another bounce, and hit a volley on target. Simunek couldn't control it and the rebound came to Spartak striker #2, who moved "quickly" to get inside the blue and white defense for an easy first goal. 1-0. Conceding may have settled Parisan's nerves as they started to control the ball and possession while launching effective attacks up the left side through Olubokun, who proved more than the Spartak defense could handle. The partisan back four were seriously limiting Spartak ventures into the Partisan half. The equalizer came in the 30th minute, when Olubokun streaked past his man down the left and sent in a cross from the corner. The keeper badly misplayed it as it slipped through his hands and into the net. It was difficult to tell if it would have been a shot on target had the keeper saved it, but we are more than willing to reward the winger for his efforts and tolerance of the consistent fouling he received throughout the match. 1-1. Halftime came with Partisan looking lie the superior team, but unable to fashion any clear chances. The second half would be livelier. Half Time: Partisan 1 - 1 Hrdlorezy Partisan were down again within the first 15 minutes of the second half when the referee awarded a very weak penalty. Tracking back to help defensively, Olubokun was deemed to have run his man over from behind. This was the stage at which yellow cards started being shown to Partisans in rapid succession. Simunek guessed right in his attempt to save the spot kick, only to see the shot come back off the post and two Spartak players line up and have a civilized debate about who should put away this easy goal. 2-1. At the sixtieth minute, Benson came off for Matthews, who came in at right wing and pushed Garcia forward to pair with Klopot. Partisan continued to maintain possession, but with more dangerous balls going forward. Sheppard forced the keeper into a good save from range. Garcia received a yellow card for dissent and the decision was made to take him off and put Lillard, fresh back from the US of A, to replace him up front in the 70th minute. The entire squad was working its tail off and exerting real pressure on the Spartak goal. The effort paid off in the 80th minute when Klopot challenged the keeper and a defender for a dangerous ball from the right. The ball ricocheted into the air and toward goal and Klopot continued to work to be first to the loose ball and open net. 2-2. Pleased with their efforts to fight back, a draw seemingly secured, and a potential 3 points in their sights, Partisan were feeling good. Disaster struck in injury time as Parker controlled a long ball from Spartak. With nowhere to go and running out of gas, Parker was dispossessed by the pesky striker just outside the area. It was two on none, as the thief found his strike partner to easily wrap it up. 3-2. An exhausting match that broke some hearts, but also showed that Partisan can run with the top sides in the league. We need to be smarter on the pitch, more aware of the teams we're playing against and their tactics. And remember, there are worse starts than 4 points from 3 matches.