by Ryan Hubbard in Gliwice (Twitter – Web)
Choruses of “Rado Latal” rang out at full-time at the Stadion Piast, as his Piast Gliwice side claimed a hard-fought victory against Wisła Kraków to preserve their six-point lead at the top of the Ekstraklasa.
On an unusually warm October evening, Radoslav Latal named an unchanged team from the one which beat Śląsk Wrocław last Friday, while Kazimierz Moskal replaced the injured Arek Głowacki with Richard Guzmics, and Maciej Jankowski with Alan Uryga.
As both sides served to offer a spectacle of end-to-end, attacking football, Piast’s tenacity in the final third was the deciding factor; and they showed it from the outset, with Sasa Zivec pulling the strings in the hole behind the strikers. On more than one occasion he played neat through-balls into the path of Martin Nespor, but twice he failed to hit the target. After opting to give to Josip Barisić on the third occasion, only to see his shot blocked, Zivec went alone at the next opportunity, forcing a fine save from Radosław Cierzniak from distance.
But Wisła did have changes of their own, and they were often thwarted by either a stubborn defence, or a determined Jakub Szmatuła in goal: twice he saved well from Brożek, while Wilde-Donald Guerrier on a couple of ocassions also failed to direct crosses goalwards. As the first-half entered stoppage time, they should though have taken the lead. Reminiscent of Artur Boruc’s howler for Bournemouth earlier in the day, Wilde-Donald Guerrier was gifted the ball by Szmatuła; and rounding him, he played a neat cross to Brożek, who from two yards failed to make contact in front of an empty net.
Misses as such can prove costly, and with the referee looking to blow-up for half-time, the visitors were made to pay almost instantly. Breaking with lightning speed, the ball found its way to Patrik Mraz; and with his cross directed at the rising Nespor, he needed no second invitation to send the Biała Gwiazda into the dressing rooms having been dealt a sucker-punch.
The second period saw Piast play in much the same fashion as the first; pressing high up the field, and retrieving the ball in attacking areas; but while they had the lions’ share of the chances, including a couple of Mraz free-kicks saved well by Cierzniak, the best ones of the second period fell to Wisła – both times Szmatuła having to be at his best to deny firstly Mączyński, and then Brożek.
Piast also could have seen themselves down to ten early in the second half: after picking up a booking for his part in a ruckus towards the end of the first-half, Nespor could have seen a second for a challenge on Guzmics. It wasn’t long before Latal withdrew his goalscorer for Gerard Badia.
Although the Piast faithful’s chants of “Jeszcze Jeden” rung out throughout the final 30 minutes, and the home side continued to pound the Wisła goal, there was to be no second. In fact, the away side could have even earned a point in the dying minutes, with Szmatuła once again saving at close range from Brożek. Nevertheless, Piast emerged with their 100% home record this season in tact, while Wisła were left down in 7th-place, dependent on the result in Sunday’s Lower Silesian Derby.
Piast Gliwice – Wisła Kraków 1:0 (1:0)
Marcin Nespor 45+1′
Jakub Szmatuła – Kornel Osyra, Uros Korun, Hebert Silva Santos – Radosław Murawski (c), Kamil Vacek (Mateusz Mak 76′) – Marcin Pietrowski, Sasa Zivec, Patrik Mraz – Josip Barisić (Paweł Moskwik 90′), Martin Nespor (Gerard Badia 67′)
Coach: Radoslav Latal
Radosław Cierzniak – Boban Jović, Richard Guzmics, Maciej Sadlok, Łukasz Burliga – Alan Uryga (Grzegorz Marszalik 74′), Krzysztof Mączyński (Kamil Kuczak 89′) – Wilde-Donald Guerrier, Denis Popović (Rafael Crivellaro 82′), Rafał Boguski – Paweł Brożek (c)
Coach: Kazimierz Moskal
Barisić 43′, Nespor 43′ – Brożek 43′, Sadlok 69′, Burliga 79′, Mączyński 83′, Jović 85′
Referee: Jarosław Przybył