Ekstraklasa 2017/18: Game 15 for Wisła and Cracovia

GAME DAY 15: Wisła do the job in style; Cracovia’s unbeaten series extends

Wisła welcomed Sandecja Nowy Sącz for their first ever meeting in Ekstraklasa. Sitting at the 7th league spot, Wisła needed a win to get back in the race with the other teams at the top.

Coach Ramirez decided to change a few elements, welcoming Ondrášek, Halilović, and Perez back in the starting lineup after a long time and moving Arsenić from the side as a central defender.

A speedy start for a well-oiled machine

Before kickoff, Carlitos López received the “Ekstraklasa Player of the Month” Award. Wisła’s top scorer was rewarded for his strong performances and goals last month.

Carlitos, Player of the Month
Carlitos, Player of the Month

Wisła got us used to speedy starts. This time again, no time wasted with a goal scored after 11 minutes. A smooth offensive action allowed Carlitos, from the left side, to ideally serve Jesus Imaz. The winger scored his second of the season, finishing a 100% made-in-Spain action.

20 minutes later, Wisła responded instantly to a long distance shot from the visitors. Once again, Carlitos on the side served perfectly Imaz, whose curled ball was brilliantly saved by Sandecja goalkeeper Gliwa.

The show must go on
Fans running the show in the stands
Fans running the show in the stands

After an animated first half, Wisła kept control had and their opponents under intense pressure. This is how they regained possession at the 50th and triggered a quick counter-attack. Carlitos dribbled two defenders before passing to Boguski, whose goal was unfairly disallowed for offside.

Wisła obtained a valid penalty shortly later. And who else than Carlitos to take it. The “Matador” scored without trouble, giving his team a comfortable lead and adding an 11th goal to his season record. With a goal and an assist, Carlitos celebrated his Award the best possible way.

In fact, he even scored another one in the added time, before the referee unfairly disallowed it for offside. The second incorrectly disallowed goal for Wisła. However, the home side obtained another penalty a few minutes later. This time scored by Perez, to seal the final score to 3-0.

Wisła seem back on track

It was a strong and convincing performance from Wisła. They got the job done and showed how impressive their offensive power is. The visitors were simply not able to compete. One name stood out: Carlitos. The Spaniard was unleashed – he scored, made his teammates score, and justified his status. But more than one player, the entire team gave satisfaction to the coach and the fans before welcoming Pogoń Szczecin in two weeks.

Cracovia looking to get out of the red zone

A tough away game awaited Cracovia traveling to Zagłębie Lubin, a team strongly sitting mid-table and complicated to face, especially at home where they remain unbeaten this season. The Pasy traveled with confidence, given their unbeaten last four games. However, they are back in the relegation zone, three points ahead of Pogoń Szczecin.

With only one player change (Deja replacing Mihalík in the center), coach Probierz chose not to shake his starting 11, to keep the automations.

Time to confirm the good form

And while the game started slowly but surely, Malarczyk had the first goal chance of the game. His header was well deflected by Polaček, the home goalkeeper. The home side responded a few minutes later with the score opener at the 24th. Lubin combined quickly on the side to reach the danger zone, where Tuszyński was lucky to see the ball bounce on his knee, before passing the line.

However, Cracovia found the strength to react and equalize 10 minutes later. Starting from the defense, the ball traveled through no less than eight Cracovia players before the goal. The Pasy took the time to build and patiently look for the gap, before speeding up and scoring. Javi Hernández ideally served by Covillo, did not lose his face-to-face with Polaček, to score his third of the season.

Javi Hernandez (in black) in action
Javi Hernandez (in black) in action
A serious and disciplined second half

Only a few minutes after the break, Cracovia took everyone by surprise. Starting again from the defense, the Pasy recovered a ball they instantly turned into a deadly quick counter-attack. Krzysztof Piątek and Matic Fink combined by the opposite box, where the Slovenian defender fired a world-class curling shot into the nets. Unstoppable for Polaček, and the Pasy on the lead.

Cracovia spent the rest of the game defending. The home side had several goal chances, all blocked by Sandomierski who showed once again his talent. This win definitely has a special flavor for Cracovia. The game was complicated and the opponent tough, so the victory tastes better. However, a few aspects still need to be improved. The Pasy should be able to control the possession better and create more goal chances. Against his former club, Cracovia striker Krzysztof Piątek did not manage to find the nets, and it might become frustrating for him and the team. However, he did work hard and actively contributed to the second goal.

Cracovia players fighting all the way to secure the win
Cracovia players fighting all the way to secure the win
Light at the end of the tunnel

This win will surely be seen as a reference for Cracovia. Not only for the points it represents, but also given the opponent and the way they played. There is definitely an improvement week on week, and the team seem to be working hard to reach a higher level. After their dark series of eight consecutive games without a single win, the Pasy are now unbeaten for five games in a row. They seem back on the right track and will need to confirm the trend.

Next on their plate: another away game against Piast Gliwice, in a week and a half.

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