Lech Draws With Juventus to Advance to Knockout Phase

Lech Poznań had already exceeded all expectationsvin the Europa League „group of death“ when they wolked onto the frigid pitch in Poznań on December 1, to be greeted by 42,000 faithful fans who had braved the elements to be on hand for the historic match with Seria A powerhouse Juventus Turin.

By the twelfth minute, they had given their assembled supporters just what they came to see, as Lech took the lead on when a corner by Stilić to the head of Rudniew that found the back of the net.

As the weather continued to thicken, officials toook measures to ensure that play could continue. As the intermission ended, new pink lines were painted onto the pictch, and the whote game ball was exchanged for a red one to contrast in the deepening snow cover. Through the second half the snowfall continued to increase in intesity, until the in the last fifteen minutes the snowfall significantly hampered visibility in the stadium.

For Juve, the blizzard showdown was a do-or-die affair, having drawn in every match of the group phase. The storied Italian club revived its hopes of advancement when Iaquinta scored on a lightning counterattack in the 84th minute.

Tensions remained high in added time, as Lech conceded a series of free kicks to the Italian club, ending with a free kick from just outside Lech’s penalty area long the end line which resulted in a dramatic leaping save by Lech keeper Krzysztof Kotorowski, who grinned up from the snow with the ball safely clutched in his arms as the whistle blew.

The result means elimination for Juve, and advancement for Lech to the knockout phase of the Europa league. One fixture remains nevertheless in the group phase for Lech on 16th December, when they will face Strasburg Red Bulls. Man City will play Juve on the same day.

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