Thursday, August 21, 2014

Europa League: Legia wins, Ruch play to scoreless draw at home

Both Polish teams remaining in the Europa League will be satisfied with their respective results in Thursday's Europa League action. Ondrej Duda's second-half goal was the difference in Legia Warszawa 1-0 win over Kazakh side FC Aktobe, while Ruch Chorzow and Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv played to a scoreless draw in Gliwice.

Here is Duda's goal for Legia:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ekstraklasa Transfer Watch: Stepinski to return to Poland and more

Lechia Gdansk have yet to pull the plug on this summer's transfer window. Croatian striker Antonio Colak has joined the Polish side on a year-long loan deal away from German 2. Bundesliga side FC Nurnberg. The 20-year-old made seven appearances in the Bundesliga last season, but failed to find the back of the net.

FC Nurnberg are ready to give up another young striker as Mariusz Stepinski is close to joining Wisla Krakow, according to Wisla's official website. The 19-year-old striker will sign a loan deal with the Krakow side on Thursday. The former Widzew Lodz striker joined the German side last summer, but failed to break into their first team while spending most of his time with their reserves.

Polish U-21 national team defender Mateusz Lewandowski has joined newly-promoted Serie B side Virtus Entella on a year-long loan deal. The 21-year-old left-back was a regular with Pogon Szczecin and the Polish U-21 national team.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CAS rejects Legia plea! Champions League play-offs out of the question

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected Legia's Warszawa's plea to be reinstated back in to the Champions League qualifiers while their case is ongoing.

Legia published an official statement following the decision by CAS

'Legia Warszawa is informing that the Court of Arbitration for Sport has rejected an appeal to allow Legia to play in the Champions League play off round while the investigation pends. This means the case will be looked at some time over the next three months.'

The reason Legia had to made this plea, was because UEFA had refused to back them in speeding up the process of the decision by CAS. If Legia had received backing from UEFA, letting CAS know that this matter was urgent, the decision may have been made as early as today.

It's not surprising UEFA were not keen to back Legia in getting a quick decision out of CAS. If the decision had been positive for Legia, UEFA would have had to do some serious thinking about how to reinstate the Polish champions in to the Champions League play off round, with the draw having been made already.

CAS now has up to three months to look in to the matter and decide if the decision to kick Legia out of the Champions League qualifiers was fair. Unfortunately by the time the verdict is reached, it will be too late to reinstate them, as the Champions League and Europa League competitions are likely to be well underway.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Poles Abroad: Sunday

English Premier League
  • Artur Boruc did not dress in Southampton's 2-1 loss to Liverpool.
Dutch Eredivisie
  • Arkadiusz Milik spend the entire match on the bench in Ajax's 3-1 win over AZ Alkmaar.
Belgian Cup
  • Piotr Parzyszek played 90 minutes and scored a goal in St. Truiden's 3-2 win over Deinze.
German Cup
  • Robert Lewandowski played 90 minutes and missed a penalty kick in Bayern Munich's 4-1 win over Preussen Munster. 
  • Martin Kobylanski spend the entire match on the bench in Werder Bremen's 3-2 win over Illertissen.
  • Ludovic Obraniak did not dress in Werder Bremen's 3-2 win over Illertissen. 
  • Eugen Polanski played 90 minutes in Hoffenheim's 9-0 win over Paloma.
  • Mateusz Klich did not dress in Wolfsburg's 1-0 win over Darmstadt.
Italian Cup
  • Michal Chrapek started, played 76 minutes and recorded an assist in Catania's 1-0 win over Sudtirol.
Russian Premier League
  • Artur Jedrzejczyk played 90 minutes in Krasnodar's 2-0 win over FK Rostov.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Poles Abroad: Saturday

English Premier League
  • Lukasz Fabianski played 90 minutes in Swansea's 2-1 win over Manchester United.
  • Wojciech Szczesny played 90 minutes in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
  • Marcin Wasilewski spend the entire match on the bench in Leicester's 2-2 draw with Everton.
English Championship
  • Tomasz Cywka started, played 68 minutes and scored a goal in Blackpool's 2-1 loss to Blackburn.
  • Radoslaw Majewski started and played 61 minutes in Huddersfield's 3-1 loss to Cardiff.
French  Ligue 1
  • Kamil Grosicki started and played 33 minutes (come off injured) in Rennes' 6-2 win over Evian TG.
  • Dominik Furman did not dress in Toulouse's 2-1 win over Lyon.
German Cup
  • Adam Matuszczyk played 90 minutes in Koln's 4-1 win over FT Braunschweig.
  • Pawel Olkowski played 90 minutes in Koln's 4-1 win over FT Braunschweig. 
  • Lukasz Piszczek played 90 minutes and recorded an assist in Borussia Dortmund's 4-1 win over Stutt. Kickers.
  • Artur Sobiech spend the entire match on the bench in Hannover's 3-1 win over Walldorf.
Russian  Premier League
  • Adam Kokoszka played 90 minutes and saw a yellow card in Torpedo Moscow's 2-0 win ova Ural.

Mierzejewski's first goal in Saudi Arabia

Polish national team midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski scored his first career goal in Saudi Arabia in Al Nassr's 4-1 win over Najran SC.

The 26-year-old started and played the full 90 minutes in the team's first game of the season.

Here is Mierzejewski's goal:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Update: Former French international Oliver Kapo signs with Korona Kielce

The most exciting transfer of the summer in the Ekstraklasa is about to be finalized.

According to Przeglad Sportowy, former Juventus and French international Olivier Kapo will undergo a medical examination with Korona Kielce on Friday, ahead of signing a contract with the Polish side.

(Update: Olivier Kapo has signed a one-year deal with Korona Kielce, the club announced today.)

The 33-year-old is represented by the same agent as Korona's head coach Ryszard Tarasiewicz.

The Frenchman's CV is impressive, and like no other in the Ekstraklasa, with clubs such as Juventus, Auxerre, Monaco, Birmingham City, Celtic and Wigan Athletic in his football career. He has also made nine appearances for the French national team, scoring three goals.

UEFA reject Legia appeal while Russia break UEFA rules with no consequence

UEFA today rejected Legia Warszawa's appeal to have their decision overturned.

Legia had lawyers working on the case, and had earlier commented that they found something in UEFA's rules that was contradictory. They presented their case to UEFA on Wednesday morning.

Unfortunately the case was rejected by UEFA, resulting in Legia not being handed back their Champions League qualifying round place.

Legia's last chance to have anything done about the decision now, is to appeal to CAS, whom club owner Boguslaw Lesnodorski said they would put their case forward to tomorrow.

'The decision is negative. It's difficult to even comment. We will appeal to CAS [tomorrow] and then will we concentrate only on playing football' said Lesnodorski on twitter.

In other news, while upholding their decision against Legia for 'breaking the rules,' UEFA is ignoring Russia's breakage of the rules, as three Crimea based clubs have featured in the Russian Cup.

This is not allowed because Crimea is still officially a part of Ukraine, so should any of those Crimea based clubs win the Cup by chance, they would earn themselves a place in the Europa League as Russian teams. Not only that but the clubs have been added to the Russia third league. This, again, is breaking FIFA and UEFA rules, as they have get official permission from FIFA/UEFA before they can do this.

UEFA's Hrihorik Surkis has said that Russia are throwing a challenge to the world and European leaders of football. Whether anything is done about it, remains to be seen.

We don't want to make any assumptions here at Polandsoccerblog, but an interesting fact to consider is that Gazprom [the Russian provider of gas] sponsors the Champions League. Could this be the reason UEFA is staying quite?

Monday, August 11, 2014

5 reasons not to feel so bad about Legia's harsh elimination by UEFA

While many of us are still finding it difficult to swallow this bitter pill, here is my pathetic attempt to try and shine some light on the situation, if indeed Legia's appeal to CAS is unsuccessful. I have laid out five different reasons why Legia's elimination from the Champions League [by forfeit!] might not be as bad as it seems.

1/  Legia weren't guaranteed a place in the Champions League anyway. Let's face it, we'd have been just as upset, just for different reasons, if Legia had beaten Celtic [as they did] and then been eliminated by Steaua Bucharest [again] or APOEL Nicossia, and Polish clubs do tend to have some 'last Champions League qualifying round complex.' We'd have criticized the team for playing so well in the third qualifying round, and then choking in the important game that gives you entry in to the Champions League. We're still not sure if Legia's thrashing of Celtic is because the Polish was that strong, or the Celtic team was that weak. Legia's start to the season was quite horrendous, and there was much criticism of the team. Their first game against St Patrick's was awful. It wasn't until they met Celtic that they looked as good as they did. If Maribor's game with Celtic goes ahead and they beat them with ease, then we will one once again have to question whether it was Legia's great quality or Celtic's dreadful performance that was the key, since they're being beaten by everybody.

2/ Legia are likely to pick up more coefficient points for the Polish League in the Europa League. They're coefficient points for their away win at Celtic will be stripped, but perhaps they will make up for them. Assuming they qualify for it, they will definitely have much more chance to get wins there than they would in a tough Champions League group. Of course, there is no guarantee of this, since last season they only managed to win a single match, and lost all five of the others.

3/ The Europa League final is in Warszawa! If there was ever a time for Legia to be participating in UEFA's secondary competition, this it it. They have a chance to play in the final as hosts, if they make it that far of course [and they probably won't]. Let's not forget that Legia could still have qualified for the Europa League by finishing third in their Champions League group. Yeah....sorry to end point three on such a downer.

4/   Legia should avoid humiliation in the Champions League. Defeating this weak Celtic team wasn't a bad achievement, but they could have been setting themselves up for some real thrashings if they had qualified for the Champions League. Now, if Celtic get through, we should see them take some hefty beatings - it's no more than they deserve. I'd still make us feel better if Celtic don't qualify though, otherwise they'll get all that money, that Legia could have had!

5/ Legia has a new rival, and they're not from Poland! Nobody cares about Polish football outside Poland [and even people in Poland don't care for it much]. No club from outside of Poland has considered any club from the Ekstraklasa their rival, until now! Yep, much like the cross-nation rivalries between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich or Barcelona and Chelsea, this incident has now started a rivalry between the Polish and Scottish champions. Think how heated a match with these two could get if Celtic get dumped out in to the Europa League. Let's hope it's not heated enough to get Legia banned from European competitions though.