< /p> Opening match of the 4th preliminary round of the European Football League: SK Slavia Prague – FC Zorja Luhansk, August 24, 2023, Prague. Lukáš Masopust (right) from Slavia is happy about the goal, which was not recognized. On the left, Mojmír Chytil from Slavia.
Prague – Slavist footballer Lukáš Masopust was pleased to finally score a competitive goal after ten months. In today's opening match of the final 4th preliminary round of the Europa League with Luhansk, he was initially disallowed for a goal in the 27th minute at 0:0 due to the previous hand of teammate Christos Zafeiris, but at the beginning of the fourth minute of regulation he could already rejoice. At the press conference, the 30-year-old full-back boasted that he helped the 2-0 victory and a promising lead before the away rematch.
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Masopust scored in a competitive game for the first time since October 23 last year, when he helped to a 4:0 home win in the derby over Sparta in the 13th league round. “From the positions I'm playing in now, I don't get many chances. Today I had more, so I'm glad I finally scored a goal,” said Masopust.
From close range, he converted a pass from the nineteen-year-old Nigerian Boluwatife Ogungbayi, who made his competitive debut in “A” Slavia. “I just like to attack. It somehow lifted me up. Unfortunately, Ševa (Petr Ševčík) didn't find me right away and passed it to Bolua, who gave it back to me nicely. Half the goal is Bolua,” Masopust appreciated.
In a difficult position, Ogungbayi was able to return a crossed cross from the goal line to the small area. “I don't know how well the boys translated it to him, but we were having fun, that we wanted to cross to the back post and either end it or give it back. Bolu gave it back like this with his last strength,” said Masopust.
“I'd like to congratulate him for getting his first start for the A-team in a game like this. It's great for his future. He was with us in training in the summer, he's a good, nice boy. He smiles, he doesn't talk, he doesn't let anything slip. It's also great for our youth. It can be seen that if someone is honest and successful, they can also move up to the A's,” he added.
Masopust was happy about the goal already in the 27th minute, but the Estonian referee Kristo Tohver, after the intervention of the video referee and a review of the situation, concluded that the goal was preceded by Zafeiris' hand. “I haven't seen it yet. Then only the boys told me that Zafi somehow hit his hand. But I really don't know what it looked like there,” said Masopust. “I would admit it,” added the Czech representative with a smile.
With a large advantage, Slavia waited for the first goal until the 81st minute, when substitute Muhamed Tijani scored with a header. “We're making the last few matches a bit more complicated by not converting chances. I probably don't have much to say about that based on my experience from previous years. Instead of making the match easier, unfortunately we're not managing to convert chances at all and then we're pushing everything to the end. But we manage not to let the opponent have chances, which is the biggest difference compared to last season, when we scored a goal out of nowhere,” said Masopust.
He is happy that summer signing Tijani is getting into shooting form. “That's why Tiji came to be tall and uncomfortable in the penalty area. After preparation, it was a bit more difficult for him, until his legs and head recovered. As you can see, in the last matches he is a great asset, whether it is from the beginning or during the course. He is strong, he goes to the field with the idea that he will go to the goal and we will play it on him,” said Masopust.
“It is good that there is a tall striker here again, who is capable of scoring a goal. Škoďak was here (Milan Škoda), who had a fantastic time. Then there was Júsuf (Hilál), who didn't quite manage to be such a goal scorer. We have attacking players like Mick (van Buren), Venca (Jurečka) or was Linži (Ondřej Lingr). Sometimes it is necessary to change it, especially when the opponent gets into the box, as it often happens,” said Masopust.
Currently, he often starts as a stopper and feels good in it. “Thank God, the coaches always give me good teammates. I play well with them, whether I have Igy (Igoh Ogbua), Holy (Tomáš Holeš), Aiham (Ousou) or someone else. The boys defend well and then I have more time focus on the passing game that the coaches want from me,” added Masopust.