Yesterday I set off to watch my first live match of the new season when I travelled to western Warsaw where III liga Ursus Warszawa were taking on II liga East side Pogoń Siedlce in the Polish cup.
The official start of the Polish season was on July 11 when newly promoted III liga side Hetman Zamość defeated fellow III liga club MKS Oława in the first preliminary round of the Polish cup. Several days later Ursus caused a little upset in the competition when they beat II liga West side Jarota Jarocin 2-0.
Yesterday Ursus’s opponents Pogoń were also from a tier above, however the team from Siedlce finished poorly last season and subsequently sacked its manager and got rid of half of its playing staff. The prize for the victors was a place in the first round proper of the Polish cup and the chance to play clubs from last season’s I liga.
Ursus had a nervous build-up to yesterday’s game. The city council, which owns their stadium, made the decision to relay the main pitch last week despite knowing that a game might have to be played on it. Ursus even considered playing the game in a different part of Warsaw. In the end they were given permission to use an artificial pitch which is within their stadium complex.
Ursus’ artificial pitch
A decent crowd turned up to watch the match. About 200-300 Ursus fans were there and approximately 20-30 Pogoń ultras turned up to cheer their team on boisterously from the sidelines. It was a rather hot day with the sun shining brightly right into our eyes, lovely weather but difficult to see what was happening on the pitch.
Ursus fans out in force
As for the match itself, it was a very even encounter. Ursus started the stronger, with all their play going through their two playmaking midfielders Patryk Kamiński and Dawid Jarczak. As the game went on Pogoń started to impose themselves but neither team had many clearcut chances. It got to half-time with the score 0-0.
It wasn’t the best weather for taking pictures!
The second half provided more of the same with both teams evenly matched and few chances for either side. Things livened up considerably in the last fifteen minutes. First Ursus sent on young, pacy striker Radosław Jankiewicz to stretch Pogoń’s tiring defence and then Pogoń brought on their well-travelled target-man striker Bartosz Tarachulski. In the 77th minute an Ursus forward broke through on goal on the left-hand side only to be brought down by Pogoń defender Mateusz Urbański. The referee decided to reach for a red-card and Pogoń were down to ten men.
Happily for Ursus they were able to take advantage of this turn of events. With five minutes left a cross from the left was neatly controlled and then deftly flicked into the far corner by the dangerous Jankiewicz. Ursus managed to withstand a late Pogoń barrage to hold out for a narrow victory.
Ursus had thus made it to the first round of the Polish cup, where in a week’s time they will take on I liga side Bodganka Łęczna. I aim to be there, this is rightbankwarsaw signing off.