Viktoria Plzeň have one foot in the Champions League group stages after a remarkable 3-1 victory over FC Copenhagen. Whilst most of Britain have fallen victims of rioting and widespread looting, Viktoria Plzeň carried out their own looting in the Danish capital.
Going into the game FC Copenhagen were favourite to emerge victorious, they have much more experience than the Czech champions at this level. Having made it through to last year’s knockout stages where they eventually fell to Chelsea.
But reputations hold no fear for this enterprising and attacking Plzeň side, having won the Czech League title for the first time in their history last year, they now look set to dine at UEFA’s top table for the first time. Should they come through next week’s game in Prague (moved from Plzeň) it will be a welcome shot in the arm for Czech football.
Czech sides have faced a four year absence from Europe’s Premier competition, Slavia Praha were in last side to make it through Champions League qualifying in 2007/08. So, should Plzeň make it through it would be a stunning achievement for this modest side. Of course, there is still 90 minutes to play in this tie but having made it this far I feel confident that Pavel Vrba’s men will finish the job.
The game started with both sides feeling each other out, the Copenhagen striker N’Doye was not helping his side’s cause with some awful touches and attempts at goal. Whereas Plzeň looked to use the width of the pitch and counter attack the Danes.
I was hugely impressed with the contribution made by Milan Petržela, he was a constant menace to the left side of Copenhagen defense, and laid on the second goal with a lung busting run.
Plzeň took the lead when Daniel Kolár poked him from close range around 52 minutes, although it suspiciously looked like an own goal. Plzeň soon doubled their lead and left the Danes in shock as Vaclav Pilař coolly finished from 18 yards after superb work by Petržela.
At 2-0 down, the Danes began to play with some urgency and their pressure was rewarded with a goal as Ottesson headed home a 69th minute corner. I was half expecting Plzeň to throw away their lead after conceding this goal, but Plzeň soon restored their two goal cushion after substitute Fillo scored an absolute screamer from the edge of the box.
To be honest, I am still in shock that Viktoria Plzeň keep winning in Europe, this is their 5th consecutive victory in qualifying games and you would be a brave man to bet against them making it six wins in a row next week.