Penalty Heartbreak for Dragoons
The Dragoons suffered penalty shootout heartbreak Puchar Polski run came to an end against A Klasa side Tramwaj.
A slow opening to the tie saw Tramwaj presented with a good chance to take the lead in the 10th minute. The first corner of the game found Piotr Grygiel unmarked in the box, however, the header from 6 metres flew over the bar.
Moments later and the Dragoons had a similar chance from Rob Smits’ corner. The ball found the head of Jamie Beattie, but the forward could not divert the ball goalward.
In the 24th minute the Dragoons came close to scoring the opener. Rob Smits sprayed a delightful lofted through pass straight into the path of Flavio Nkola. The winger’s tame shot forced Stanislav Rodzin to save with his leg and Beattie got a toe to the rebound, however, the Tramwaj keeper showed quick reflexes to deny the forward a certain goal.
A timid first half, nearly saw the deadlock broken on the stroke of half-time. Beattie played an excellent lobbed pass, splitting the Tramwaj defence wide open. Nkola accelerated through on goal and tried to lift the bouncing ball over Rodzin, but the keeper got enough on the ball to keep it from going into the net.
Tramwaj started the second period quickly, but like the first-half, could not trouble Gabi Muñoz in the Dragoons goal.
In the 48th minute, the Dragoons spurned an excellent chance. Mark Szczesnowicz picked up a loose clearance inside the Tramwaj half. The midfielder came forward and saw his cross find Nkola in acres of space inside the box. The forward took the ball down on his chest and inexplicably launched the ball over the bar from 8 metres out. From the resulting goal-kick, Tramwaj dawdled on the ball and Kryszstof Musial was fouled on the edge of the box. Szczesnowicz stepped up to shoot but sent a fierce drive wide of the goal.
A long ball over the top saw Muñoz called into action for the first time on the hour mark. Bartlomiej Osuch turned well with the ball, but Muñoz parried it wide. From the resulting corner, Grygiel got his head to the ball from inside the 6-metre box and somehow headed over the bar.
A foul on Nkola resulted in a free-kick just outside the box in the 65th minute. Smits sent a low searching drive into the box, however Rodzin gathered the ball with ease.
It took until the 78th minute to see the next serious action, which resulted in the Dragoons taking the lead. Mark Szczesnowicz looped a hopeful free-kick from deep in the Tramwaj half into the box. The half-cleared ball fell kindly for Francesco Leuci to hit towards goal and substitute Vladimir Chumakov swooped in at the far post to tap home.
As the tie drew to a close, Tramwaj hit the Dragoons with a sucker punch in the 86th minute. A hopeful long ball forward saw Przemyslaw Lis break the offside trap. The Tramwaj man through on goal, made no mistake in slotting the ball beyond Muñoz for the equaliser.
The Dragoons pushed forward to take the lead and came close in the closing stages of the half.
A late free-kick on the left from Nkola was headed out of the box as far as Brian Lemmen. The Dutchman saw his effort saved by Rodzin, with the ball deflecting off a defender back towards goal. With two Dragoons men ready to pounce on the loose ball, Rodzin leaped into action to push it away from danger.
The resulting corner came to nothing and the referee blew his whistle to end the game with penalties required to settle the encounter.
Tramwaj goalscorer Lis stepped up to take the first penalty. He hit a firm effort, low to Muñoz’s right, however the Dragoons keeper guessed correctly and saved.
Flavio Nkola stepped up to take the Dragoons first penalty and saw his effort also saved. On this occasion, Rodzin strayed off his line and the official whistled for a re-take. Nkola made no mistake with his second chance, smashing the ball into the bottom right corner.
Szymon Moskal stood over the ball for the second Tramwaj penalty. Moskal hit a tame effort straight down the middle, which Muñoz saved. Once again however, the goalkeeper was adjudged to have a foot over the line and a re-take ordered. The reprieved Moskal made no mistake on the second occasion.
Dragoons goal scorer Vladimir Chumakov ensured the Expats re-took the lead slotting the second penalty home with aplomb.
Szymon Pachlowski came forward for the next Tramwaj spot-kick and sent Muñoz the wrong way to make the score 2-2.
Dragoons’ debutant Jacek Fąfara was the next man to take a penalty. He sent a low effort to the right of Rodzin and the goalkeeper finger-tipped the ball wide.
Bartosz Synowiec smacked the third Tramwaj penalty beyond Muñoz to give them the lead for the first time.
Expats Captain Mark Szczesnowicz was up next and fired home arguably the best penalty of the contest. The midfield man side footed an unstoppable effort straight into the top corner to level the score at 3-3.
The fifth penalty for Tramwaj was calmly tucked home by Nikolaos Giannakopoulos, meaning the Dragoons had to score.
Italian Francesco Leuci took on the mantle, but saw his decisive effort saved by Rodzin.
The penalty miss meant that Tramwaj progress into the third round of Puchar Polski at the Dragoons expense. The match had little quality throughout and the Dragoons will now have to concentrate their efforts on success in the league.