Football fans were witnesses of a huge sensation at the National Stadium in Warsaw on the 2nd of May! Arka Gdynia won against Lech Poznan 2:1 in the grand final of the Polish Cup!
Third time lucky?
Fans and players from Poznan believed that saying “third time lucky” would come true as it was their 3rd final of the Polish Cup in a row (in 2015 and 2016 they lost against Legia Warszawa). Unfortunately the National Stadium is a cursed place for Lech. Arka proved that there is no certainty in football, and dreams can be fulfilled even when everyone condemns you to failure.
Arka started calmly, very bravely in the middle zone and effectively in defense. Lech were tense and their passes were inaccurate. In the 9th minute after Michal Warcholak’s cross and Przemyslaw Trytko’s header the ball went over the crossbar.
With time Lech were taking the initiative and last 25 minutes of the second half were a show of their total domination. Aggressive pressing and getting closer and closer to Pavel Steinbors’ goal forced many mistakes on Yellow&Blues. The match could have been settled in the first half. Could have been – but luckily for Arka Pavel Steinbors was in his highest form on Tuesday’s afternoon. With an incredible instinct Steinbors defended Arka’s goal after Lech’s shots. The first half ended with goalless result.
Lech could have score a goal at the beginning of the second half but the ball after Robak’s shot only hit the post. Arka kept focusing on wise defense and was waiting for their chance to the counterattack. Coach Ojrzynski decided to substitute Marcus Da Silva with his Joker – Rafal Siemaszko in 56th minute. Arka in the second half looked a lot better than in the first half. Yellow&Blues were consistently crashing rivals attacks and kept trying to attack Lech more boldly.
The closer to the full time, the more players from both teams looked as if they were waiting for the extra 30 minutes. In 89th minute Radoslaw Majewski could have become Lech’s hero but in a great situation he terribly missed.
In the extra time Lech were still trying to break through Arka’s defense but unsuccessfully. Arka on the other hand were patiently waiting for their chance. In 107th minute after Marciniak’s cross, Rafal Joker Siemaszko with a header defeated Buric. 10 000 fans from Gdynia who were supporting Yellow&Blues in Warsaw were full of joy and began to sing even louder. Lech had nothing more to loose and risked everything. They almost immediately regretted this decision as in 112th minute Luka Zarandia after 50 yards rally passed Lech’s defenders and defeated Buric. Arka were leading 2:0 and Yellow&Blues fans began the celebration. Lech were only able to answer with Lukasz Tralka’s goal in 118th minute.
Almost 44 000 people witnessed a historic moment for Arka. After 38 years the Polish Cup is coming back to Gdynia. In 1979 Arka Gdynia won their first Cup, defeating in the final Wisla Krakow 2:1. Arka in July and Agust will play in the 2nd qualifying round of UEFA Europa League.
Situation in the league
Even though Yellow&Blues created a beautiful history last night they now have to focus on fighting in the Ekstraklasa as there is still 6 rounds to the end of the season. Next match in Ekstraklasa Arka are playing in Cracow against Cracovia on 8th of May, and on 12th of May Arka Gdynia are playing in Gdynia against Gornik Leczna.