By: Hayley Gallaher
Sparta and Slavia’s women’s football teams clashed in the first “Derby S” of the season on Saturday, September 9—with Slavia coming out victorious at Epet Stadium. Both teams began the season with a perfect three wins out of three, though Slavia was ahead on goal difference.
Slavia Praha and Sparta Praha have historically dominated Czech women’s soccer since the formation of the league in 1993. No other team has ever won the title or even come in first or second place since the 2000-2001 season. Derby S is frequently the decider of the title, like in the 2021-2022 season, where Sparta’s three total losses were to Slavia, making them forfeit the title.
With the men’s teams on an international break, the game was played at Sparta’s massive Epet stadium, which is usually reserved for the men’s squad. Families with kids packed the stadium, looking for a tamer atmosphere to watch professional soccer.
The kickoff was met with a sweltering twenty-seven degree heat at 15:00 o’clock. The best seats in the stadium were there for the picking, available for those willing to brave the direct sun.
Slavia immediately started on the front foot. With only thirty seconds played, a long ball over the top caught out the Sparta defense. The cross that came in was cleared, but it was far too easy to get into the attacking third.
After this first attack, the next fifteen minutes were all Sparta. Anna Šubertová of Sparta was released down the right flank, and took a shot that forced the Slavia goalkeeper to make a diving save to her right.
Alika Keene of Slavia earned the first yellow card of the match in the twenty-fifth minute with a hard challenge on Kiyani Johnson to stop a promising counterattack. It was a good run of play for Johnson, who won another free kick immediately afterward that resulted in a dangerous ball skidding right in front of a Sparta attacker before going out for a corner. These would be the best chances that Sparta would have all game.
The thirtieth minute was the change of momentum. Slavia got their first shot on target with Lucie Kroupová, though it was right at the goalkeeper. The onslaught continued when Franny Černá put a great ball into the box that resulted in a header that clattered against the crossbar.
Tereza Kožárová and Olivie Lukášová were both booked in the thirty-eighth minute for a verbal altercation at the edge of the box. The end of the half came with a 0-0 response, with both teams having promising runs of play.
It was all Slavia for most of the second half, though Kiyani Johnson made a skillful move on the left wing beating out Alika Keene and nutmegging another defender. With fifteen minutes to go, it was clear that whoever scored first would win this game. Slavia finally broke the deadlock with a goal from Martina Šurnovská.
Securing the win, Slavia is now alone at the top of the table. The two teams will face each other again on March 16, 2024 which will surely give a clearer picture in the title race.