Match of the 29th round of the first football league: Sparta Prague – Viktoria Plzeň, April 26, 2023, Prague. Ladislav Krejčí from Sparta rejoices at the winning goal.
Prague – According to his own words, Sparta's football captain Ladislav Krejčí Jr. was calm during the decisive winning penalty against Pilsen in the 14th minute of the final regulation. He thinks that with the penalty kick the situation from the first half came back to Prague, when his equalizing goal at 1:1 was not valid in the end. The Czech representative believes that a 2:1 win in the 29th round of the first league can help the Letne team a lot for the rest of the season.
Rafia Durosinmi sent Viktoria into the lead after half an hour of play, Jan Kuchta equalized for the home team in the first half. The match was headed for a draw, but in the final setting, visiting captain Lukáš Hejda stopped Kucht's shot with his hand in the goal area and was sent off after the second yellow card. Subsequently, substitute home striker Martin Minčev also saw a red card. Krejčí did not hesitate from the penalty, although goalkeeper Jindřich Staněk caught the direction of his shot.
“There were a lot of emotions, I enjoyed it a lot. I think everyone enjoyed it a lot, both players and fans. Pecka, that we fight until the last minute and that we got it. As for the penalty, the wait is always longer lately because it's checked a lot, but I was calm. I honestly made the decision before I built it, but then I knew (where I'm going),” Krejčí declared at the press conference.
He did not see Hejda's hand. “I had it covered enough. I saw it go past him. I didn't see how it was hit and I didn't even ask. I was just concentrating on the penalty,” said the 24-year-old stopper.
Pilsen striker Tomáš Chorý tried to upset him before the penalty kick. “I have a certain opinion about him, so it didn't throw me off at all, not even those other things. This is what weaker individuals do, I concentrate on myself. I concentrated as I always do. Then I fully enjoyed the emotions. But now humility is back. Next match it's from scratch, we know what we're playing for, no extra celebrations. We're continuing on the path we've set,” Krejčí said.
In the 39th minute, he equalized at 1:1, but due to a foul on Filip Kaša, referee Pavel Orel canceled his goal after communicating with video referee Jan Petřík and watching replays. “Unfortunately, I jump too high. I don't know, I don't want to evaluate it. It was evaluated as it was. It came back to us the way it came back to us. That's already in the past,” stated the former Brno player.
Sparta is still the only one without a loss in the spring in the league, and since the 0:4 defeat at Slavia in October, they have not found a winner in the last 19 competitive matches. Thanks to the triumph over Plzeň, Letenští managed to catch up with city rival Slavia on points, behind whom they trailed by a score a round before the end of the regular season.
“Certainly, it can definitely help us. Mainly in the confidence that even if there is a draw or an unfavorable situation, so if we roll to the end, we know that we will have a chance. It has only been confirmed to us that this is the case and they will return it can help us a lot in the future, so that if it happens to be like this in the next matches, we will have the strength to prove it again,” Krejčí pointed out.
He was happy about the goal in the fifth round in a row and eleventh overall in the season of the top competition, despite playing only 14 duels. “It's because the team creates chances for me, whether it's great balls into the box or great individual one-on-one performances and the resulting penalties. It's a team effort and it benefits both us and me, which I'm happy about. I'm happy for this number. It's a shame that Řéza is so upset,” said Krejčí, alluding to Jakub Řezniček. The Brno gunner confidently leads the scorers' table with 19 hits.
Sparta will finish the regular season in Liberec on Sunday, but Krejčí will miss the match due to today's fourth yellow card. “I'm sorry about the cards. It was my mistake, my stupidity. But we have a wide and strong enough squad to handle it. Everyone has to be ready at any time. I believe we can handle it,” said the three-time representative.