Puchar Polski Final: First Leg Preview

Photo: Slasknet.com/Damian Filipowski

Photo: Slasknet.com/Damian Filipowski

Tonight, Jan Urban’s Legia Warszawa side travel to Wrocław to begin the defence of their Puchar Polski title in the Final’s first leg. Looking to lift the trophy for a third successive time, they face Stanislav Levy’s Śląsk Wrocław side, who managed a 1-0 victory when the sides met in December’s Ekstraklasa clash.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Alongside with the rest of last season’s Ekstraklasa sides, both Śląsk and Legia began their journey to the final in the Last 32 back in September.

Śląsk edged through their opening game away at II Liga side KS Polkowice – a first-half Cristian Diaz goal giving them a 1-0 victory. A three-goal beating of the Ekstraklasa’s bottom side GKS Bełchatów followed in the next round; and whilst they were tested during a narrow victory at home to Pierwsza Liga challengers Flota Świnoujście, a 2-0 win on the north coast gave the Lower Silesian’s passage to the semi-finals, 5-2 on aggregate.

In the two legged semi-final against their “friends” at Wisła Kraków, Waldemar Sobota and Sebastian Mila helped Śląsk to a 2-1 victory in Wrocław, whilst the same two players added to a Dalibor Stevanović opener in Kraków, sending the Green, White and Reds to the final.

Legia started their cup campaign a day later than Śląsk, but were not threatened by their second tier opponents Okocimski Brzesko. A 4-0 victory gave them a last-16 tie with fellow Ekstraklasa side Piast Gliwice, where goals from Michał Kucharczyk and Jorge Salinas ensured a 2-1 victory.

Despite being 1-0 down at half-time in the quarter final home leg, four second half goals gave Legia a massive advantage over Olimpia Grudziądz. And when Vladimir Dvalishvili and Marek Saganowski scored in the second leg, Olimpia’s last minute strike was nothing more than a consolation. And whilst their semi-final first leg with Ruch Chorzów ended goalless, a brace from Georgian striker Dvalishvili ensured progression to the final with a 2-1 win.

INJURIES AND SUSPENSIONS

Legia have a large number of players missing through injury, or struggling for fitness for tonight’s clash. Long-term injuries for Michał Efir and Michał Kopczyński could be joined on the “missing list” by Jakub Rzeźniczak, Jakub Wawrzyniak, Danijel Ljuboja and Bartosz Bereszyński, whilst Miroslav Radović could be rested after picking up a knock in midweek. Elsewhere, Janusz Gol will miss the tie due to suspension, although both Jakub Kosecki and Michał Żyro could return to action following injuries.

Meanwhile league champions Śląsk will ony be without defender Adam
Kokoszka through suspension, although as many as eight of their players are just one yellow card away from missing the second leg.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

The two sides have previously met seven times in the Polish Cup, with Legia undefeated. The last meeting resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Wojskowi.

In the league however, the two sides’ meeting in Autumn’s final round resulted in a 1-0 victory for tonight’s hosts. The lone goal was scored by Tomasz Jodłowiec, although Legia won’t have to worry about a repeat tonight – the defender moved from Wrocław to Warsaw in the winter.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Śląsk: R Gikiewicz – Ostrowski, Kowalczyk, Wasiluk, Pawelec – Sobota, Stevanović, Kaźmierczak, Mila, Ćwielong – Ł Gikiewicz.

Legia: Skaba – Jędrzejczyk, Żewłakow, Jodłowiec, Brzyski – Vrdoljak, Furman – Kucharczyk, Saganowski, Kosecki – Dvalishvili

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Płock)
Assistant 1: Paweł Sokolinicki (Płock)
Assistant 2: Krzysztof Nejman (Płock)
Fourth official: Hubert Siejewicza

BETTING

Śląsk to win: 3.00
Draw: 3.20
Legia to win: 2.40

The Puchar Polski Final’s first leg at Wrocław’s Stadion Miejski kicks off at 18:30 local time (17:30 UK).

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