Both the Ekstraklasa title race and relegation battles were blown wide open in Friday’s two games, with second-placed Lech Poznań hammering Lechia Gdańsk and bottom side Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała defeating 14th Ruch Chorzów. Both Lech and Podbeskidzie now hand over to their rivals Legia and Bełchatów to see whether they can retain their slight advantages from before the weekend.
It was relegation threatened Podbeskidzie who started the weekend with a bang, putting three past a poor Ruch Chorzów side – themselves looking more and more like a candidate for the drop. After midfielder Marek Sokołowski was brought down in the box by Piotr Stawarczyk with just ten minutes on the clock, the player picked himself up to smash past Ruch stopper Michał Pesković from 12 yards.
Whilst the visitors dominated large parts of the first period, it took until four minutes into the second before they finally doubled their lead. A Damian Chmiel shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Pesković, but only into the path of on-fire Slovakian striker Robert Demjan. Although at a tight angle, the striker expertly guided the ball home for his ninth of the term.
Whilst the second goal brought a kick up the backside for the home team, they struggled to break through a resistant Podbeskidzie back-line, and their impressive keeper Richard Zajać. When they finally did beat him – a Marek Zieńczuk flick from a corner – there was little time for an equaliser. With Ruch committing men forward in search of a late point, a shockingly short pass-back from Arkadiusz Lewiński handed Demjan an easy chance for his second of the game, and his tenth of the season – closing the gap between Podbeskidzie and their rivals to seven points, and giving boss Czesław Michniewicz his first win in charge of the Górale.
Ruch Chorzów – Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała 1:3 (0:1)
Zieńczuk 89′ – Sokołowski (pen) 11′, Demjan 49′, 90+3′.
Ruch: Pesković, Stawarczyk, Djokić, Lewiński, Starzyński, M. Malinowski (Kuświk 52′), Janoszka (Smektała 67′), Zieńczuk, Panka, Chwastek, Jankowski.
Podbeskidzie: Zajać, Pietrasiak, Górkiewicz, Konieczny, Sokołowski, P. Malinowski (Janeczko 89′), Łatka, Cetković (Pawela 69′), Chmiel, Deja (Piter-Bucko 73′), Demjan.
Yellow Cards: Stawarczyk 10′, Zieńczuk 25′, Chwastek 74′, Smetkała 90′ – Sokołowski 79′, Demjan 86′.
With entertainment aplenty in Chorzów, the evening’s late kick-off in Poznań had a lot to live up to – and centre-back Marcin Kamiński set about doing just that, when after just four minutes he escaped his marker to tap in at the far post from a Łukasz Teodorczyk flick. Dedicated to his late grandfather who passed away earlier in the week, it was Kamiński’s second goal in as many games.
With the home side dominating the play, a second goal was inevitable. And when midfielder Rafał Murawski’s run was halted by the outstretched arm of Lechia keeper Michał Buchalik, it was the second centre-back, Hubert Wołąkiewicz, who stepped up to grab his second of the season from 12 yards.
With just one home victory to their name before the game, the Kolejorz were keen to give their fans something to shout about. And just after the half-an-hour mark, Hungarian midfielder Gergo Lovrencsics’ powerful shot was fumbled into the net by Buchalik, sending the 17,000 crowd into raptures.
The home side took their foot off the gas slightly in the second period, but even when Piotr Wiśniewski pulled one back for the visitors, the game never really looked in doubt. And with some players’ tempers beginning to fray, substitute Bartosz Slusarski grabbed his tenth of the season in stoppage time to ensure Lech picked up their second home win of the campaign.
Whilst Lechia substitute Adam Duda was able to grab a last-gasp consolation strike for the visitors, it wasn’t enough to dampen the mood of the Ulica Bułgarska crowd – who saw their side, at least temporarily reduce the gap to leaders Legia to just a single point.
Lech Poznań – Lechia Gdańsk 4:2 (3:0)
Kamiński 4′, Wołąkiewicz (pen) 27′, Lovrencsics 33′, Slusarski 90+1′ – Wiśiewski 68′, Duda 90+3′
Lech: Buric, Ceesay, Henriquez, Wołąkiewicz, Kamiński, Murawski, Trałka, Tonev (Możdżen 66′), Linetty (Ubiparip 80′), Lovrencsics, Teodorczyk (Slusarski 59′).
Lechia: Buchalik, Bieniuk, Deleu, Janicki, Brożek, Surma, Wiśniewski, Buzała, Machaj (Ricardinho 56′), Kacprzycki (Duda 60′), Zyska (Kostrzewsa 69′)
Yellow Cards: Trałka 40′, Linetty 62′, Ceesay 73′ – Buchalik 27′, Duda 73′.