Finally returning to Ekstraklasa action after both his African Cup of Nations exploits followed by a few weeks on the sidelines, Prejuce Nakoulma quickly turned from hero to villain as his late penalty miss cost Górnik Zabrze a point at home to Lech Poznań. Following their home defeat to Jagiellonia last week, Adam Nawałka’s men have now lost more games in their first three games of spring than they had during the whole of autumn.
“It hurts us, this match” Nawałka said after the game. “The first half belonged to us, in terms of possession of the ball”. But whilst the possession stats may have been in the home side’s favour, it was the visitors Lech who went closest in a first half with limited clear-cut chances. A corner found its way towards Bartosz Ślusarski at the edge of the area, but his deflected shot was comfortably held by Górnik stopper Łukasz Skorupski.
Górnik went close early in the second half when captain, and central defender Adam Danch found himself occupying a spot closer to the opposition goal. Skorupski’s long ball forward was flicked on, and whilst the marauding Danch managed to loop his header over Jasmin Buric, it could only edge wide of the Lech keeper’s post.
Whilst Lech also had chances to score early in the second half, with both Łukasz Teodorczyk and Kasper Hamalainen having shots well saved by Skorupsk, when they finally did take the lead, it was through controversial circumstances. Karol Linetty’s shot from the edge of the area rebounded off of Górnik defender Seweryn Gancarczyk, and whilst any contact with the elbow was minimal, unintentional, and secondary, referee Paweł Raczkowski showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot – even giving Gancarczyk his fourth yellow of the season for his understandable protest. With just Skorupski standing in his way from twelve yards, defender Hubert Wołąkiewicz sent the keeper the wrong way with less than half-an-hour to play.
With just fifteen left on the clock Nawałka made a triple substitution which, along with Krzystof Mączyński, included the returning Nakoulma and debutant Ireneusz Jeleń, aiming to grab something from the game. Whilst the changes seemed to improve Górnik’s attacking intent, it was left until the dying minutes before they were given the chance to draw level with an equally controversial decision.
Midfielder Bartosz Iwan was adjudged to have been felled in the box by Marcin Kamiński, and although replays showed that whilst there was a small amount of contact, the referee (and all of his assistants) had clearly been conned by the 28 year-old. But whilst justice for the earlier mistake had seemed to have been served, Nakoulma’s awful penalty failed to trouble Buric in the Kolejorz goal, condemning Górnik to their third defeat of the season.
“I will not comment on the referee, because I bestow arbitrators high confidence” Nawałka said post-game. “But I think that you need to consider the advisability of work and additional assistants behind the goals. They are there to be used in controversial situations. Replays show that the ball bounced off of Seweryn Gancarczyk’s back. These additional judges are there to help”.
Lech boss Mariusz Rumak however felt that his side were lucky to come away from Zabrze with all three points.
“In my opinion, two equal teams met, and I think a draw would be the most equitable result. We started the game nervously and had trouble with pressing Górnik. The second half we started brilliantly. However, we wasted three chances. Then came two penalty kicks, and we eventually won”.
Górnik Zabrze – Lech Poznań 0:1 (0:0)
Hubert Wołąkiewicz (pen) 63
Górnik: Skorupski, Gancarczyk, Danch, Shevelyukhin, Olkowski, Kwiek (Mączyński, 73), Bonin (Nakoulma, 73), Iwan, Mosnikov, Łuczak, Zahorski (Jeleń, 73).
Lech: Buric, Ceesay, Djurdjevic, Wołąkiewicz, Kamiński, Hamalainen, Murawski, Trałka, Tonev (Możdżen, 87), Linetty (Lovrencsics, 84), Ślusarski (Teodorczyk, 46).
Yellow Cards: Shevelyukhin, Gancarczyk (Górnik) – Murawski (Lech).
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski