Despite having to face ten men for the last 25 minutes, Jagiellonia Białystok return to the north-east feeling like they have dodged a bullet, after Piast Gliwice missed a late penalty which would have handed them victory in a game mired in controversy.
After dominating early on in the first period, Piast went close to opening the scoring after just nine minutes; but whilst Pavol Cicman’s effort from distance beat Jakub Słowik in the Jagiellonia goal, he was denied by the inside of the post. And the home side continued to create the better chances throughout the opening 45 minutes; Cicman, Ruben Jurado and Tomasz Podgórski all wasting chances to capitalise.
But with half-an-hour on the clock, Piast finally did get their breakthrough. Excellent work on the right hand side from Cicman took him past Jaga left-back Lubos Hanzel. His ball across the box fell to Latvian midfielder Artis Lazdins, who took one touch before firing a low shot underneath Słowik via the aid of a deflection.
The opener quickly spurred the visitors into life, with Tomasz Frankowski and Dani Quintana spurning chances within minutes. But within minutes Jagiellonia were level. Tomasz Kupisz centred the ball from the left-hand side; and whilst Quintana was way ahead of the cross, 38 year-old Frankowski was there to smash past Dariusz Trela, moving up to joint third in the all-time Polish League scoring charts – level with Gerard Cieślik on 157 – in the process.
The second half saw both teams emerge from the tunnel eager to assert their dominance on the game, with Piast defender Jan Polak heading over from a corner, and both Modelski and Gajos missing the target from promising positions.
But with just less than half-an-hour to play, the game swung massively in the visitors favour. A through ball from substitute Ebi Smolarek saw Tomasz Kupisz through on goal, but advancing to the edge of the area, he was hacked down mercilessly by Piast stopper Trela. Whilst the foul was just outside of the area – the free-kick ultimately wasted by Quintana – Trela was the last man, and rightly received his marching orders.
With the home side down to ten men, Jagiellonia began to command the game, but without profit; And it was during a Jagiellonia attack that Piast received their best chance to win the game. A long punt upfield was chased by Podgórski, and trying to make up ground on the midfielder, full back Filip Modelski lunged into a tackle. Whilst the defender won the ball, his studs-up challenge brought down Podgórski, earning a straight red card – Jaga’s ninth, and Modelski’s second of the campaign – and the home side a penalty.
But with Piast looking likely to snatch a late victory, Jaga keeper Słowik rescued his side – guessing correctly to block Marcin Robak’s tame effort; and despite a number of late efforts for the home side, Jaga held on to claim a dramatic point.
Piast Gliwice – Jagiellonia Białystok 1:1 (1:1)
Lazdins 31′ – Frankowski 38′
Piast: Trela – Zbozień, Klepczyński, Polak, Oleksy – Cicman, Matras, Jurado (Szmatuła 64′), Lazdins (Zganiacz 79′), Podgórski – Docekal (Robak 62′).
Jagiellonia: Słowik – Norambuena (Hanzel 32′), Dźwigała, Pazdan, Modelski – Min Kyun (Smolarek 59′), Grzyb, Quintana, Gajos, Kupisz – Frankowski (Bandrowski 85′).
Yellow Cards: Gajos 39′, Pazdan 46′, Modelski 68′
Red Card: Trela 63′ – Modelski 80′