Although the Slovakians lead 1-0 from last week’s first leg, they trudged off their home pitch dissatisfied and conscious of not displaying similar complacency on the visit to Dublin.
The Students, for their part, will once again play with the freedom so evident during their three games in the competition to date. With youthful talent in their ranks like Ryan Swan, their match-winner in the previous round against Dudelange, the First Division outfit will look to make the rare advantage of having a full house supporting them count.
Collie O’Neill’s side certainly won’t be daunted by the presence in the Slovan ranks of several internationals, including Hungarian striker Tamas Priskin.
“I think we poked the dragon last week,’ said O’Neill. “Slovan probably didn’t realise we could keep the ball as well as we did, so that seems to have surprised them. They definitely underestimated us. We expect them to have a go tonight. They have players capable of being dangerous and we’ll have to watch them. But, from our perspective, I know our team can improve on last week’s performance by passing the ball better and creating more chances.”
Speaking last night, Slovan coach Dusan Tittel pledged to put the lessons from last week’s underwhelming result into practice on this occasion. “We are a superior team but we must show that in this second leg,’ he said. “UCD were aggressive and hungry in the first leg, relying on counter-attacking play. I am confident we will improve and progress to the next round.”
Should UCD produce a shock by progressing, they would face Russian outfit FC Krasnodar in the third round.