Polish Teams Competitive in Europa League
Frederikstad (Nor) – Lech Poznań (Pol) 1-6 (0-3)
Lech Poznań kicked off their season in the same spectacular fashion as the majority of last season. A surprising, yet very convincing win against Frederikstad resulted in a near certain advance to the play-off stages of the Europa League. During their visit to Norway, the Polish Cup winner’s clear 6-1 win against last year’s Norwegian runner-ups made the upcoming return game in Poznań a mere formality.
Although the Norwegian competition is well underway (the Norwegian football season follows the annual calendar) and Lech Poznań has not yet played any official games, it was the Polish side that really impressed. After ten minutes, midfielder Jakub Wilk opened the score for the visitors. And by half-time, defender Manuel Arboleda scored twice, bringing the score to 3-0. Frederikstad’s Celso Borges managed to draw one goal back in the 48th minute, but just 10 minutes after that goal Robert Lewandowski, Sławomir Peszko and Tomasz Bandrowski each scored, putting the score to 6-1. The final half hour, Lech Poznań freewheeled towards the final whistle, with laid back gallery play, which must have felt as a painful humiliation for the defeated home team.
Brøndby IF (Den) – Legia Warsaw (Pol) 1-1 (0-1)
Legia Warsaw, last season’s runner-up in the Polish Ekstraklasa, clashed with Brøndby IF – the Danish 2009 Cup winner. In an even match, it was Legia that surprisingly took the lead in the 40th minute, when Maciej Jwanski successfully scored a penalty. However, Swedish international Alexander Farnerud did the same in the 73rd minute for his Danish employer, deciding the game in a draw, which is a result with good perspective, given that the return game will be held in Warsaw, next week.
Polonia Warsaw (Pol) – NAC Breda (Net) 0-1 (0-1)
An aggressive game resulted in a red card and loss for the Polonians. The opening 20 minutes weren’t exactly spectacular, when suddenly the hot-headed Dutch visitors put fuel to the fire, resulting in a game that ended with six evenly divided yellow cards and a red card for Polonia Warsaw’s Radek Mynar. The defender commented on the referee, after giving NAC Breda a free kick which resulted in a goal by Kees Kwakman: 0-1. Still frustrated, Mynar took his anger out on Dutch leftback Robbert Schilder with a vicious tackle only two minutes after his first yellow card. His second meant that he could hit the shower, two minutes before half-time. Polonia, now down to 10 men, could not bring anything against the Dutch side in the second half. The 1-0 home defeat means a difficult task ahead for the Polonians, when they visit the Dutch city of Breda next week.
Unlike Wisłą Krakow, all three Polish sides showed themselves worthy opponents. Lech pulled off quite a feat and Legia should feel really satisfied with the away draw and the away goal, which gives them an advantage. Although not huge, the defeat of Polonia has put Warsaw’s second team in a tight situation, especially since rightback Mynar is suspended for the return game.