02.12.2012 Ekstraklasa 2012/2013
Legia Warsaw - Ruch Chorzów 3:0
Undoubtedly, the Pepsico Arena is a highly impressive venue of the European class. In the VIP zone even the kids are being taken care of through a nicely arranged playground which gives the kids attendants (mainly daddies of course, although not only!) a unique opportunity to hit two birds with one stone: not compromising on the care over kids (pretty crucial in relationship with a partner) on the one hand and fostering football passion on the other one. The club took care of the adult (male) supporters either: there was a significant number of Santa Claus looking like female individuals, not too old, sending out bewitching smiles which might have been leading into temptation.
12 thousand fans - very few given the Poland's capital overall population, rank in the league table, club aspirations and - after all - the visiting team past reputation. The weather was maybe not fantastic (slight freezing) hence no real argument for absence. The "ultras" sector called Żyleta (The Razor) was almost empty - one could easily make a headcount. The audience then sang the clubs anthem (Czeslaw Niemen's "Dream of my Warsaw") appointed recently which, performed by the fans holding their scarves above heads, looked a bit ludicrous. This provoked certain reflections regarding other Polish clubs' recommended anthems however let me take it off line.
Ruch fans came to the capital in a small number yet very noisy. They fired off petards despite mannerly and same time peremptory calls by the stadium speaker. The excuse for the guest fans behaviour would include frustration with their team's performance on the pitch and lack of alternatives for entertainment (they probably were not granted admission to the VIP zone playgrounds). They tried hard though, also by displaying a big banner of Elana Torun (no brand in Polish football) which if only attracted anybody's attention, appeared funny rather than anything else. The Chorzow team did not practically exist and it was sufficient for Legia to play just properly to secure the win without any excessive stretch. The actual Ruch rank (bottom section of the table) was absolutely well earned in the context of the team's performance in Warsaw. This is a brutal yet highly surprising conclusion, given the resource at their disposal, including the coach - to be envied by most of the Ekstraklasa teams. Piech, Jankowski, Niedzielan - the players supposed to be decisive for the offensive capability of the team - passed by the game. I realised of the latter one's presence on the pitch only while he was substituted. And still a few years ago he was one of the best league strikers, on demand by the Dutch club NEC Nijmegen and subsequently by (then) mighty Wislaw Cracow. Hence it was not a big challenge for Legia to shine against such an opponent and the goals were merely a question of time. Young Kosecki confirmed his significant potential, Radovic divided and conquered in the centre and Ljuboja - as usual performing on the fringe of flippancy and a ludical fest - delivered the last goal thus setting the ultimate score.
Impressive stadium, sponsors available, solid team in place - supporters are still missing (unless the club's aspiration is to populate the VIP lounges only, doubtful though) and so is still a spectacular success. The Polish Championship title is within a reach however having a fresh memory of the last season finish the bear seems still to be in the forest. Once tis completed, the Champions League looks like a next target - maybe this time to be accomplished.