Ekstraklasa Game Day 26: Cracovia & Wisła football updates

Piątek's late winner
Piątek’s late winner

Cracovia: A desperately empty stadium

Cracovia fans continue their home game boycott as long as the club board refuses to talk to them. They even extended the protest with banners in several parts of the city, directed at the club owner Janusz Filipiak. And since both Arka Gdynia and Cracovia fans have a ‘supporters friendship pact’, the visiting fans showed solidarity by joining the boycott.

Pasy on fire

However, on the pitch, things were rolling and Cracovia made another victim. The Pasy welcomed the seasiders of Arka Gdynia, winners of the last Polish Cup and currently fighting to enter the Top 8 to reach the Playoffs. It was also celebration time for Captain Miroslav Čovilo’s, as the 31-year-old Bosnian reached 100 games with Cracovia.

It was a quite balanced game, with two teams keen to play forward and offer an open game. Several goal chances on both sides kept the goalkeepers busy. The Pasy were rewarded for hard work when Helik’s header found the nets a few minutes before the break. Despite playing in defense, Helik proved his offensive value by scoring his sixth goal of the season. A record for a Cracovia defender.

After the break, the first goal chance of the second half hit the target. The visitors equalized thanks to Krivets’ long distance shoot, accidentally deflected by Dimun into his own net. A quite severe kick to digest, given the visitors first and only goal chance in the period.

Čovilo reaches 100
Čovilo reaches 100
Unexpected sudden revival

Cracovia kept the pressure on and their heads up, until an unhoped-for last-minute winner came to seal the game. Striker Krzysztof Piątek, well positioned, triggered a powerful header to score his second in two games and offer the three points. Two goals both by head kicks, and both at the end of each half, the Pasy showed a 100% efficiency rate.

Unbeaten at home and with three wins in five games, 2018 seems to bring luck to the Pasy. Still fighting against relegation a few month ago, they are now five points away from the Top 8 and could surprise the entire Ekstraklasa world with an unexpected qualification. This late winner is also boosting their chances to save a season that started disastrously. On top of it, they will face three teams from the league bottom in the last four games. They definitely have a chance to play their cards right.

It seems like Cracovia has got used to playing in an empty stadium, and it suits them really well.

Wisła visiting the leader
Wisła visiting the leader
Wisła on a downward trend

While their neighbour Cracovia has risen from the dead, Wisła has been slowly sinking. The White Star had a complicated trip to the Far East, against the leader Jagiellonia Białystok. The ice cold weather conditions and the frozen pitch did not make it any easier for any of the teams or the fans either.

The visitors managed to keep the pace in a closed first half, and even to create interesting actions via Carlitos Lopez. However, a smooth one-touch offensive action allowed the home side to open the score a few minutes before the break.

Wisła was the most active team in the second half, pushing for an equalizer but lacking efficiency at the key moments. And even if Jagiellonia made sure they kept Wisła goalkeeper Julián busy, Carlitos and Jesus Imaz missed a few sparkling chances to equalize.

Like often in such case, Wisła conceded another goal. Jagiellonia managed to double the score on a corner kick header to seal the score once for all. A defeat for Wisła with a sour taste. Looking at the game, it was far from their best performance but they fought hard and created good chances. But the Jagiellonia players understood that to win games, you need to score.

Wisła bounced against a yellow and red wall
Wisła bounced against a yellow and red wall
A complicated start for coach Carrillo

Jagiellonia booked their fifth win in five games in 2018, the impressive rhythm of a possible future champion, but Wisła conceded their third consecutive game without a win.

Coach Carrillo still did not find the miracle recipe to get going. He obviously needs time but does not have it as the season is moving on.

Wisła is still in the Top 8; however, Arka Gdynia is only three points behind and… Cracovia… five points behind. The remaining four games will be crucial for Wisła to keep their 8th spot, starting with Śląsk Wrocław on Friday.

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