Round 16: The Leaders stumble as Lech close the gap

Round 16

We always say that it is difficult to predict the results straight after the winter break – changes in coaching staff, personnel and tactics effectively make it feel like a new season. However, even the most experienced of Ekstraklasa followers wouldn’t have seen what was to happen in the first round back following the break. Here’s our brief round-up of the goings-on in Ekstraklasa round 16.

Zagłębie Lubin 3-0 Pogoń Szczecin

Whilst we didn’t see the same scoreline as back in August, Pavel Hapal’s men handed a certain amount of revenge onto Pogoń after their surprise 4-0 opening-day victory in Szczecin. But this one wasn’t much of a surprise; whilst Pogoń may have started the game above their Spring-opening rivals (they still are, if only on head-to-head results), Zagłębie were one of the most-improved sides in the back-half of autumn, and they already look as though that form will continue.

Bartosz Rymaniak got the scoring off to a start after just eight minutes, directing a Malinowski free-kick past the stranded Januszkiewicz in the Pogoń goal. And the lead was doubled less than fifteen minutes later, Szymon Pawłowski coolly tucking away a penalty after Łukasz Hanzel was bundled over in the box by Akahoshi.

The visitors began to fight back into the game before the half time break, missing a couple of chances and having a penalty shout turned down following a handball by Malinowski. However with Pogoń desperately looking for a way back into the game, a well-worked Zagłębie counter-attack was turned in by the head of Czech striker Michał Papadopulos, putting the game way beyond the reach of the Portowcy.

Polonia Warszawa 1-1 Lechia Gdańsk

Whilst Lechia’s arrival at Konwiktorską was one of the most anticipated games of the weekend, Friday’s evening game, for the most part, turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. In fact, for the first period, some of the most exciting action came from the stands where fans of the Czarne Koszule were protesting at owner Ireneusz Król’s recent handling of the club.

With many wondering what side Polonia boss Piotr Stokowiec would put out, it was his eleven which looked the most likely to score in the early stages – even if they were mostly limited to long range efforts. However with seven minutes left on the clock, it was the visitors who took the lead. Former Wisła defender Piotr Brożek timed his run to perfection , and his cross to Piotr Wiśniewski was weighted correctly in order for the striker to slot home from two yards.

But Lechia’s lead didn’t last long – just four minutes later, the combination of two young substitutes earned a point for the home side. Picking the ball up in midfield, Jacek Kiełb searched out the run of Miłosz Przybecki. Beating the offside trap, the 22 year-old slotted the ball neatly underneath the advancing Buchalik to earn a point.

Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała 4-0 Jagiellonia Białystok

Far-and-away one of the weekend’s shock results, relegation-threatened Podbeskidzie picked up the three points in Bielsko-Biała in the first round of spring – a total which took them ten games to reach in autumn.

Slovakian striker Robert Demjan got the Górale off to the dream start after just 56 seconds, turning Piotr Malinowski’s cross in at Jakub Słowik’s near post; and after seventeen minutes, new recruit from Górnik Zabrze Błażej Terlichowski extended the home side’s lead. Damian Chmiel’s corner was flicked on, and the centre-back was left unmarked at the back post to convert a diving header.

Whilst both sides failed to convert half-chances in the first period, it took until 20 minutes into the second to see a third goal. Poor Jagiellonia defending allowed the ball to bounce around in the box, and Marek Sokołowski was the first to capitalise, powering his shot past Słowik. And with just eight minutes left on the clock, Demjan netted his second on the counter to give Podbeskidzie their first four-goal haul ever in the top flight.

Śląsk Wrocław 2-1 Widzew Łódź

The 2012 Ekstraklasa Champions Śląsk Wrocław were forced to work for their first points of the year against Widzew, but with the visitors having impressed in the winter’s Copa del Sol tournament, it was just imperative that Śląsk picked up the win no matter what.

Like in their meeting back in August, it was Widzew who took the lead early on at the Stadion Miejski. New signing from Warta Poznań Bartłomiej Pawłowski was searched out by Łukasz Bróz, and the twenty year-old striker slotted comfortably past Marian Kelemen in the Śląsk goal. However the home side’s fans had to wait just five minutes for their side to reply, as defender Marek Wasiluk – making just his second start of the season – capitalised after Widzew keeper Milos Dragojević failed to deal with a Kowalczyk header.

With both sides creating chances, the two keepers were kept busy – until Śląsk took the lead with just ten minutes left on the clock. A three-man counter attack broke forward, with Cwielong’s cross finding Waldemar Sobota via the head of Łukasz Gikiewicz. His first touch took the ball away from the Widzew keeper, before his second on the turn secured all three points for the home side.

Read Michał Zachodny’s full match report from Śląsk – Widzew

Korona Kielce 3-2 Legia Warszawa

With Legia’s transfer activity eclipsing that of every other team in the league during winter, a trip to 13th-placed Korona was considered by many as a mere formality. However no-one explained that to the men in red-and-yellow. Despite going behind to a wonderful goal from Jakub Kosecki, the home side were level just after the half-an-hour mark – the Legia defence failing to deal with a free kick, and Maciej Korzym tapping home after a Stano header rebounded off of the post.

Despite Legia arguably edging the game, it was Korona who took the lead early in the second half thanks to midfielder Artur Lenartowski. A long Golański throw-in rebounded around, and then out, of the Legia box before falling to Lenartowski. The 24 year-old took one touch to control before firing a left-footed thunderbolt past Dusan Kuciak at his near post.

Whilst Spanish defender Inaki Astiz turned home a Daniel Łukasik free-kick with 24 minutes remaining to equalise, it was a third set-piece – another free-kick – which proved to be the leaders’ downfall. The short-taken free-kick was eventually crossed by Lisowski, and defender Tadas Kijanskas found his way to the back post to complete a famous victory.

GKS Bełchatów 0-0 Wisła Kraków

Whilst there were anticipated games in the Ekstraklasa this weekend including the clashes in Warsaw and Kielce, the meeting between the sides sixteenth and twelfth position was not one of them. And with not a single goal in the game – the only Ekstraklasa game of the weekend to go without – the pre-game synopsis would have been correct.

The biggest story leading up to the game was the return of former GKS midfielder Kamil Kosowski, who re-signed for Wisła in the winter. But besides an early corner which was close to being converted by Kew Jaliens, he didn’t do too much of note.

Although it didn’t prove to be decisive, the biggest talking point of the game was the dismissal of Wisła centre-back Arkadiusz Głowacki, who hauled down GKS striker Mouhamadou Traoré. Whilst there was a defender who was seemingly able to cover, the referee deemed Głowacki to be the last man and gave the 33 year-old his marching orders.

Ruch Chorzów 0-4 Lech Poznań

After handing Ruch a 4-0 defeat on the opening day of the season in Poznań, Lech travelled south to Chorzów without a hint of mercy – and it took less than two minutes for the visitors to get on the scoresheet; Bartosz Slusarski running on to Kasper Hamalainen’s perfect through ball to slot underneath Michał Peskovic.

Whilst Łukasz Tyminski tested Jamin Buric in the Lech goal with a dipping shot from the edge of the box, it was Lech who dominated proceedings – both Hamalainen and Aleksander Tonev forcing good saves from Peskovic. However the lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time; defender Marcin Kamiński benefiting from Ruch’s failure to clear a corner kick.

It got even worse for Ruch just fifteen minutes later, when Łukasz Teodorczyk’s cross was turned into his own net by debutant, and Teo’s former Polonia team-mate, Marcin Baszczyński. And whilst Peskovic did everything he could to keep the score down, there was nothing he could do to stop Hamalainen finally entering the scoresheet from the edge of the box with just three minutes left – giving Lech their second successive 4-0 victory over Ruch.

Górnik Zabrze 1-0 Piast Gliwice

 After their 2-1 defeat in the home fixture back in August, it was Piast’s turn to travel the five miles to Górnik’s half-built Stadion Ernesta Pohla for an Upper Silesian derby – hoping to banish their inconsistent form from just before winter. However, despite Spanish forward Ruben Jurado going close in the opening minutes, it was Górnik’s returning striker Tomasz Zahorski who gave the home side the three points with just five minutes on the clock. Aleksander Kwiek’s short corner was returned, before his cross was flicked in by former Jagiellonia striker Zahorski from the corner of the six-yard box.

 Despite Górnik dominating proceedings, they failed to turn their advantage into goals. Piast keeper Dariusz Trela somehow kept out Zahorski from close range, whilst two opportunities for midfielder Kwiek fell by the wayside.With Piast still pressing for a late equaliser, a swift counter-attack from Paweł Olkowski was the closest the home side came to extending their lead, but another fine save from Trela kept the score down.

The updated league table can be found on the right sidebar.

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