Lechia Gdansk couldn’t get more than a 3-3 home draw with the current leader Lech Poznan. The game was full of twists of fortune for both teams. Additionally, the officials used Video Referee (VAR) on two occasions. Both moments were very important for the final result.
Lechia needed points
Lechia was in great need of points to escape the second part of the classification table. Lechia’s trainer made two changes after the defeat against Legia. João Nunes and Stolarski appeared in the places of Wawrzyniak and Lukasik, both unavailable for this game.
Good start for Lechia Gdansk
The home team needed only 13 minutes to get the advantage. The defender – Augustyn managed to squeeze the ball between the legs of keeper Putnocky. Lechia fans naturally welcomed the goal enthusiastically.
Losing by one goal, Lech Poznan got struck with misfortune twice. Mario Situm and Rafal Janicki were forced to leave the pitch injured in the 28th and 34th minute. They were replaced by Mihai Radut and Emir Dilaver. Those two players had influence on the result later on.
Lech didn’t give up
Although struck with two forced substitutions, it was Lech that got into even terms. Radut, who entered nine minutes before, served Gajos in a free kick from the left. The captain made profit from João Nunes’ mistake and made the 1-1.
VAR made his first appearance in the match at the dying seconds of first half. Defender Lasse Nielsen grabbed Marco Paixão’s shirt in the box. This was a detail that referee Tomasz Musial could not spot at the time.
Szymon Marciniak, who was in charge of VAR operations, spotted the foul on the TV footage and asked Musial the see the images. The referee confirmed the foul and gave the yellow card to the Danish central defender. As a result Paixão gave new advantage to home team.
The second half
We didn’t need much time to see another use of the VAR. Just five minutes into the second half the referee needed TV footage again. This time it came out that Michal Nalepa fouled Gytkjaer. It took place when the Danish forward was in excellent position to draw the match after another defensive error by Lechia.
As a result, Musial had no doubts in showing the red card to Lechia’s defender. This situation left home team playing only with ten and with a hard task to maintain the advantage.
However, Adam Owen reacted well and Lechia enjoyed some chances to score the 3-1. They had especially good situations around the 65th and 66th minute. The result was though always unsuccessful. Lech on the other hand seemed somehow nervous.
Lech goes upfront
However, it was Lech that finally got the 2-2 in the 70th minute when keeper Kuciak, until then quite well, made a wrong defensive choice against Deniss Rakels. The Latvian player passed Lechia’s keeper easily and served Gytkjaer, The Danish player had no trouble scoring with Kuciak away from the goal.
Lechia felt uneasy and another defensive mistake resulted in another goal for Lech in the 72nd minute. Markuszewski scored with a header profiting from an unresponsive defence still trying to recover from the goal suffered two minutes before.
Own goal leveled the game
Lech’s advantage was almost immediately followed by an unexpected twist of fate for the team. Radut, one of the players that entered in the first half, fouled Wolski and was showed a second yellow card.
Right next to it, in the 76th minute, Slavchev’s free kick was mistakenly headed to Putnocky’s goal by substitute Emir Dilaver. The own goal gave Lechia the much needed equaliser. There were still 14 minutes to play but the result was never changed until the Musial’s final whistle.
Post match comments
After the end of the match, in the conference room, Nenad Bjelica, Lech’s trainer, lashed out VAR by considering that the video referee is nothing more than a “circus” and adding that his team played “a very good game”.
Lechia’s coach added his doubts to the VAR by saying that the reviewing of the referee’s decisions “disrupts the game a little bit”. He admitted though, that “in the end of the day, it is not my decision.” Adam Owen was happy with Lechia’s attitude after Nalepa’s red card, but conceded that his team “didn’t play as well as it could”.
Lechia was disappointed
In the mixed zone, Slavchev, João Nunes and Marco Paixão showed disappointment with the draw. The Bulgarian midfielder admitted the mistakes made by Lechia and said that maybe it was all due to lack of concentration. Both Portuguese players considered this game as crazy and strange.
Lechia ended the round in the 12th place. This is only nine points away from leaders Lech Poznan, Gornik Zabrze and Zaglebie Lubin, all with 23 points in 13 games. White and Greens return to the Ekstraklasa with another home on Monday, October the 30th against Korona Kielce.