Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Away Days: Śląsk Wrocław v Jagiellonia Białystok

Posted in Away Days by peterbein on March 8, 2010

The club logo for Śląsk Wrocław proudly adorns the dug out

“Stoppage Time – International Football Blog” is back after a weekend trip to the beautiful Polish town of Wrocław. Whilst there I took in a match from the Polish Ekstraklasa. Here is my report:

It is nearly three years ago that me and three friends, two German and one English, set out on a road trip from Frankfurt to Riga. During the trip, which took in fourteen cities in five countries in just 18 days, we visited two towns in Poland of such contrasting features. Wrocław is a beautiful university town in the Lower Silesia region of Poland and has been restored to former glories after suffering damage during the Second World War, with the old town central to the city’s image. Białystok, on the other hand, appeared rather grey and isolated, its only convenience seeming to be that of a big city on the way to Lithuania. Despite the negative picture that I may have conjured up in that description Białystok, like everywhere I visited on the trip, holds special memories. Therefore I was rather keen to get some of the spirit of that holiday back when I made the decision to visit Wrocław to watch my very own “Road Trip Derby” (it’s hardly a ‘derby’ in the real sense of the word as the two towns are 530km apart!)

Before the game kicked off on Saturday one look at the table would have had you believe that Śląsk Wrocław (pronounced Schlonsk Vrots-Wahf) were the superior side as they had an eight point lead going in to the contest with Jagiellonia. However the side from Białystok (pronounced Beer-Wiss-Stock) had ten points deducted earlier in the season after their involvement in a corruption scandal during the 2004-05 season came to light, therefore I didn’t read anything into the table before the game commenced. I arrived at the stadium some two hours before the 14:45 kick-off time hoping to sample some of the local Piast beer in a nearby bar. Sadly, for those of us who love combining the Beautiful Game with a pint or two, not only were there no bars in the area surrounding the stadium but they didn’t sell any beer inside the stadium itself (this despite the club being sponsored by the local Piast brew!) In a way this could have been a blessing in disguise as the freezing cold temperatures made it more appropriate to go for a nice, hot coffee instead.

Slask v Jagiellonia

Jagiellonia's Jarosław Lato sends in another dangerous corner into the penalty area

I took my seat in sector C, Row II, seat 16 of the Trybuna Kryta, the only stand with a roof in the stadium, and for anybody watching this game with no prior knowledge of Polish football you’d be forgiven at times for thinking that you were witnessing a game involving Lechia Gdańsk or Wisła Krakow as the two ‘friendship’ clubs of Śląsk regularly chant each other’s names in each other’s stadiums. I had already noticed when outside the stadium that fans were wearing Lechia or Wisła merchandise and it made me think that it is unusual to have domestic rivals sporting each other’s colours like this within a domestic league. Fans of teams from differing countries usually have friendships (e.g. Glasgow Celtic & St. Pauli; Atlético de Madrid & Ruch Chorzów) but it’s seldom the case that any two teams from the same domestic league would wear each other’s colours, never mind three teams.

At 14:45 the game got under way and Jagiellonia were certainly the best team in the first half. After having a goal ruled out for offside after five minutes Jagiellonia, wearing bright yellow and red hooped shirts, took the game to their hosts with many chances being carved out against a Śląsk rearguard that had more holes than the proverbial collander. The man who did more damage than anybody for Jagiellonia was Jarosław Lato, whose pace and crossing ability down the left-hand side gave the home side many a headache throughout the afternoon. When given the chance Lato also showed that he has a good shot on him too as it was he who gave the visitors a deserved lead on the 33rd minute when hitting an indirect free-kick hard and low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

The couple of hundred or so travelling supporters were ecstatic at half time and their joy was to be increased five minutes into the second half. Jagiellonia’s Remigiusz Jezierski let fly from just outside the box after a poorly cleared corner ended up in his path and his sweet left-footed volley flew into the top right-hand corner. At this stage the home side had barely had an shot at goal, save for two weak efforts towards the end of the first half. Jagiellonia tried to keep possession and took every opportunity to waste time during the last thirty minutes of the game and they were coasting until a corner in the 77th minute gave Śląsk a lifeline they’d hardly deserved. Piotr Celeban got his head on to a near post corner and diverted the ball towards the far post where the ball went in the top left corner to halve the deficit. Sadly for Wrocław they were unable to get a second even though they had five minutes of stoppage time to try. If anything Jagiellonia should’ve put the game to bed when Kamil Grosicki’s attempt at rounding the Śląsk keeper were thwarted but the damage was already done. Jagiellonia celebrate three points which took them up to 11th in the table just five points behind Śląsk who lie in eighth spot.


2 Responses

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  1. Christian said, on March 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Great report, Pete.

    Interesting, that they dont sell any beer around and at least in the stadium. Maybe an effect of the hooligan-/violence problem Poland got. But I’m quiet sure this will change when the European Championship begins (Im talkin about the beer, not the violence).

    BTW: What was the price for the ticket?

    • peterbein said, on March 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Christian.

      The price for the ticket was 40 złoty (approx. €10) and that was in the most expensive part of the stadium. In other areas of the ground one could buy tickets for as low as 25 złoty (approx. €6.50) so it’s true to say that it was worth the money. As for the violence issue, whilst recognizing that it does exist in Poland, I can only say that in my experiences in Gdansk and Wroclaw there wasn’t one hint of trouble. There are flashpoint games such as the Krakow derby where violence is inevitable but, for the most part, I would recommend that anybody goes to a Polish stadium and experiences a great atmosphere.

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