Polish Cup second legs preview

Puchar Polski

This Tuesday and Wednesday are the second legs of the Polish Cup semi-finals.  Rightbankwarsaw has a quick look at what we can expect in the games between first Arka Gdynia and Wigry Suwałki and then Pogoń Szczecin and Lech Poznań.

If you live in the United Kingdom, USA, Germany, Canada, Argentina or Brazil, you can watch the games for free in Full HD at this address https://www.oz.com.  All you have to do is go through a quick online registration process.

At first glance the semi-finals seem practically over with Arka Gdynia achieving a virtually unassailable 3-0 first leg victory in Suwałki and Lech Poznań winning 3-0 at home to Pogoń Szczecin.  Although Arka and Lech should go through to the Cup final to be held at Warsaw’s National Stadium in early May, if you look a bit closer maybe the ties might not be quite such foregone conclusions.

Focusing on the first tie which kicks off at 18:00 CET on Tuesday, Arka came away with a great victory in the North-East of Poland at the end of February.  Playing on a very bad surface and with Wigry playing their first competitive game of 2017 the side from the Ekstraklasa were just too good.  The Gdynia club are clear favourites to go through but there have been some worrying signs for them in recent weeks.  The club from the Baltic coast have lost their last three Ekstraklasa games, conceding a whopping 11 goals in the process.  On Saturday, these defensive frailties were very much in evidence as they lost 4-2 at home to bottom side Górnik Łęczna.  These problems suggest that Wigry still possess a chance.

Wigry themselves have been in good form in the Polish second tier.  In the five league games since their first leg loss to Arka, they have won three games and lost two and currently sit in second place in the table – if things stay that way they will play in the Ekstraklasa in the 2017-8 season.  The side from Suwałki have also scored the second most goals in the Polish second tier.  Progressing to the final seems unlikely but if Arka were to concede an early goal, then Wigry would certainly have a chance to force extra-time, and after that who knows?

The second tie at 20:45 CET on Wednesday looks more of a formality as Lech Poznań simply do not concede goals – they have only let in two goals in their last ten competitive games.  In the first leg, they were by far the better side and Pogoń Szczecin also did not put up much of a fight going down 3-0.  The only glimmer of hope for Pogoń is that Lech’s form has slowed in recent weeks, after winning their first six competitive games in 2017 Lech have not been able to score at home to Górnik Łęczna and away to Wisła Kraków.  Lech could thus still be shocked if Pogoń score early.

It would be easier to back Pogoń if they themselves were in better form.  They have had a very poor 2017 and have not won in the last six matches.  After the Polish Cup first leg loss in Poznań, Pogoń’s ultras have been protesting a lack of effort from their players and the position of their coach Kazimierz Moskal looks quite insecure.  Indeed, the only bright spark for them in recent weeks was the performance of their Bulgarian attacker Spas Delev while away on international duty.  The tricky offensive player scored both goals to beat Holland 2-0, the second being a wonderful shot from distance.  Pogoń do possess some good attacking players but it will take quite a performance from them to overturn Lech’s 3-0 aggregate advantage.

Delev’s second goal vs Holland

For the neutral these games will only really capture the imagination if Wigry and Pogoń throw everything at their opponents in a desperate attempt to get through to the final.  If they score early the games could be quite a spectacle, otherwise expect Lech and Arka to book their places in the final relatively easily.

Again, if you’d like to watch the match outside of Poland for free in Full HD you can do so by clicking on this link https://www.oz.com.  Enjoy!

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