Lechia Gdansk were away at Slask Wroclaw on Friday 28th July at 18:30. This was round 3 of the 2017/18 Ekstraklasa season. Lechia and Slask have a special relationship. Both sets of fans were active in the Solidarity movement, fighting against the communist regime. The relationship with Slask was formerly a three-way alliance including also Wisla Krakow. This operated under the name ‘Three Kings of great Cities’ however Wisla left the coalition and is now a rival. The coalition was formed to counter ‘The great Triad’ coalition of Lech Poznan, Arka Gdynia and Cracovia. The two coalitions are the biggest rivals among the football fans in Poland.
Even with a great friendship, both teams focused on one thing only, 3 points.
Before kick off Lechia players wore shirts in support of Lukas Haraslín who has undergone surgery this week. This happened after he broke the frontal ligament in his left knee during the match against Cracovia last weekend. As a result, he won’t play again this year, this is a big loss for Lechia. With Peszko still suspended, Wolski and Haraslín both injured, Maloca out on loan and reports of an injury to Krasic, the options for coach Nowak are looking increasingly thin.
It only took 5 minutes for Slask to cause the Lechia defense to make a mistake and allow Celeban to make it 1:0. In the 19th minute Marco Paixao had a great chance to equalize after a corner from his brother. Marco was able to pass the defenders but the shot was extremely poor. Things went from bad to worse in the 30th minute when Dusan Kuciak left his goal wide open. Jakub Kosecki, the 26 year old attacking midfielder, took full advantage to make it 2:0.
Half time 2:0
After the break coach Nowak made two changes. Kuswik came on to replace Schikowski and Lewandowski came on to replace Nalepa.
In the 48th minute, Pawel Stolarski made a great run and set up Marco Paixao’s opener for Lechia Gdansk 2:1. Just 4 minutes later it Marco Paixao again who found himself in a great position in the Slask penalty area to net his 2nd of the match and the vital equaliser for Lechia 2:2.
In the 77th minute Lewandowski had a great chance to put Lechia in the lead but he just missed the target. Just 3 minutes later Kuciak was again at fault when he failed to clear a corner and Celeban, the Slask captain, took full advantage to smash the ball into the back of the net scoring his 2nd and Slask’s winner.
Final Score 3:2
There are a lot of changes in the squad at the moment especially with the list of injuries and suspensions but Lechia Gdansk really need to strengthen with some big signings before the transfer window closes to, at the very least, show their intent to challenge for the league title. Rumours of Krasic leaving have been put to bed by Nowak but we never really know what’s going on behind the scenes. Kuciak today made a few errors but everyone has an ‘off’ day and he has been a saviour in many previous games. It was good to see Marco Paixao back in his usual scoring form but it would also be nice to see a clinical striker alongside him sharing the duties.
Man of the match
My man of the match goes to Piotr Celeban (Slask Wroclaw)
Lechia Gdansk Vs Gornik Zabrze on Saturday 5th August 15:30
Tickets are available here https://bilety.lechia.pl/
Coach Nowak (Lechia Gdansk) made the following comments in his post match press conference:
‘In the first half we lacked concentration and more involvement. The second part of the game in our performance can give us optimism. We quickly made up for losses and we could have been tempted to win. It was a weird match. Two lost goals in the first half put us in a difficult situation. Personal changes, as well as settings in the second part of the game, caused us to make up for the loss and we could try to win.’
‘In the first half we lacked concentration and increased commitment. And as for the errors, Dusan Kuciak repeatedly saved us in very difficult situations. Today it happened that he had a weaker day. However, the second half of the game in our performance is optimistic. We were successful in it, we created dangerous situations and we played well with high pressure.
Nowak also commented on the absence of Milos Krasic:
‘During a training session on Thursday, Milos felt a severe pain and had to stop the session .In the coming days after careful research we will find out how long it will last in the game. Preliminary diagnoses speak of four to six weeks of interruption, explained Piotr Nowak’