Dragoons 7-3 Victoria Smroków: Magnificent Seven

Krakow Dragoons FC players thanking the fans after match
Dragoons Dragoons
Victoria Smrok. Victoria Smroków
Sat, 25 May 2024 15:00 Klasa A — Week 23
KS Prądniczanka Kraków


Magnificent Seven

Glorious sunshine welcomed the Dragoons as they entertained Victoria Smroków this past weekend. The Expats went into the game full of confidence following Kuba Drobny’s last-minute winner against Prądniczanka II a week previous.

Hugo Cruz picked a largely unchanged team, with only two changes to the lineup. Marcin Obyrtacz continued between the posts, with Roman Bilovol, Kuba Drobny and Simon Calabrese keeping their places at the back. One enforced change saw Josh Dawson replaced by Francesco Leuci at left-back, with the Englishman unavailable.

Enrico Forabosco returned from suspension to replace Omar Atzori to partner Rob Smits and Corneille Malonga in midfield. Meanwhile, Martin Voženílek came into the team at right wing, with Flavio Nkola and Yuri Samyonov continuing in attack.

Krakow Dragoons FC players having a light-hearted chat during warm-up
Getting Ready — The team converse after being put through their paces in the warm-up

Kick Off

The Expats started the game well and with purpose. Cruz’s team patiently knocked the ball around and looked to find an early hole in Victoria’s armour.

After a period of fine possession play, Flavio Nkola had the first shot of the game in the 3rd minute. The Angolan struck from outside of the box, however, a deflection sent the ball wide of the goal. A series of corners saw the Dragoons put Victoria under pressure and almost resulted in the first goal. Forabosco’s 3rd corner found Nkola unmarked, but a defender found himself well-positioned to boot the Angolan’s header off the line.

Krakow Dragoons FC players training shootouts during warm-up
Fabulous Flavio — The Dragoons’ Angolan shoots in the warm and had an early chance cleared off the line

Victoria Lead

Despite the Dragoons’ dominance, a swift counter-attack by Victoria saw them grab a sixth-minute lead. The Expats’ midfield found themselves advanced and exposed the defence high. Drobny intercepted an initial attempted through-pass but cleared the ball straight back to an opponent. A second attempt came over the Expat’s defence and found Krystian Kuczak, who timed his run well to find himself through on goal. The forward travelled to the edge of the box, took a touch to settle himself and rifled an exquisite finish beyond the reach of Obyrtacz to make it 1-0.

A view from Krakow Dragoons FC Marcin Obyrtacz's goal during shootout warm-up
The Stopper — Marcin Obyrtacz was comfortably beaten as Victoria went into an early lead against the run of play

Dragoons Almost Punished

Two minutes later, Victoria had a great chance to double their lead. A simple long ball caught the Dragoons’ line awry a second time and three Victoria players marched through on goal. However, a poor pass for a tap-in, saw the Dragoons survive as Leuci recovered to put the ball behind.

In the 12th minute, fortune almost smiled on the Dragoons through an error by the visiting goalkeeper Michał Massalski. Forabosco whipped in a low cross that bounced awkwardly in front of the keeper. The keeper fumbled the ball straight to Rob Smits who nudged it towards Nkola. The winger looked certain to score, only for Massalski to recover and bravely throw himself to smother the ball at the Angolan’s feet.

Dragoons Find Their Mojo

The Dragoons quickly re-found their early rhythm and knocked the ball around nicely to advance up the pitch. Excellent pass-and-move football had Victoria chasing shadows as Forabosco received a pass from Smits and fed the ball to Nkola just outside the penalty box. The Angolan showed his trademark dazzling footwork to bypass a defender and struck left-footed at goal. However, Massalski got down well and showed excellent handling to deny a certain goal on this occasion.

Smits Levels The Score

With 16 minutes on the clock, the Dragoons grabbed a deserved equaliser. Patient football saw the Expats go back and forth, left to right with Victoria happy to defend their half. A touch of fortune saw Bilovol’s attempted pass to Smits deflect straight into the path of Samyonov. The Israeli worked the channel expertly and prodded a pass for Voženílek to run onto. The winger drifted between two covering opponents, dropped a shoulder and sent a fizzing low cross into the danger zone. A defensive block saw the ball spin back into the direction of Nkola, who reacted fastest to volley at goal. However, the Angolan’s attempt cannoned off the crossbar, onto the line and back into play but the ever-alert Smits took full advantage to get to the rebound first and guided a close-range shot past Massalski for 1-1.

Just Wide!

Victoria struggled to get the ball out of their half as the Dragoons advanced well to press as a unit. The Dragoons immediately recycled possession, pressing high from a Victoria goal-kick. Voženílek looked to take advantage of a loose pass and put a speculative cross into the box. The ball travelled to find Forabosco in acres of space on the left side, with the midfield magician looking up and eyeing Samyonov unmarked at the back post. A curled pass towards the Israeli gave Samyonov the perfect chance to put the Dragoons ahead. However, the attacker failed to make a telling touch and nodded the ball wide of the goal.

Krakow Dragoons FC players training shootouts during warm-up
Striker — Yuri Samyonov missed a golden chance with his head before applying an instinctive finish to notch the third goal

Samyonov Scores

Less than a minute later, Saymonov would make no mistake applying the finish to give the Dragoons a 26th-minute lead. Once again, a high press worked wonders as Francesco Leuci showed great determination to win the ball. The full-back poked the ball off the toes of an opponent to put Smits in possession. The Dutchmeester played a neat one-two with Nkola, with the Angolan being grounded under pressure from a defender. Play continued, as a ricochet off a covering defender diverted the ball to the opposite wing and straight to Voženílek. The Czech picked out Samyonov’s run off a defender to the edge of the six-yard box, where he applied an instinctive first-time shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net for 2-1.

Francesco Leuci and Rob Smits of Krakow Dragoons FC greeting each other during warm-up
Meet and Greet — Rob Smits and Francesco Leuci wish each other good luck prior to the game kicking off

Victoria almost hit back with an immediate equaliser. A lack of communication between the Dragoons back four, saw a long ball ruthlessly expose a frail backline. A poor first touch by Mateusz Mudyn took him away from the goal, however, the attacker cut back inside two covering players to shoot. Thankfully, the Dragoons’ lead remained intact as Mudyn’s effort took a deflection off of Drobny’s knee and sailed wide.

Three’s A Charm

Two became three immediately after the following corner. The Dragoons cleared the danger and won a throw on the left flank. The Expats played excellent one-touch football, with Malonga linking well with Samyonov. The Congolese midfield raced onto a return pass from the Israeli and immediately touched the ball to Nkola. The Angolan found himself inside the box behind the Victoria defence, who gave him time to take a touch. Nkola blasted a shot that Massalski got a hand to, but not strong enough to keep the ball from going into the net for 3-1.

Just after the half-hour mark, the Dragoons had two great chances to extend their lead further. Excellent counter-pressing saw Malonga steal the ball off the toes of a defender and knock it to Samyonov. The midfielder continued his run into the box unchallenged and received a pass back from the Israeli. Malonga found himself with just Massalski to beat, but the keeper stood tall to deny the Congo national his first Dragoons goal.

Crossbar Rattled

Straight after the chance, a high clearance saw Leuci cut out the ball and put Nkola into possession on the left flank. The winger drove with purpose into the box and laid a pass off to Smits. The midfield metronome with his path to goal blocked, elected to pick out Samyonov waiting by the edge of the six-yard box. The Israeli side-footed first-time past Massalski, but saw his effort crash back into play off the crossbar.

An action-packed game saw Massalski launch a ball out of his hands towards the Dragoons’ half. Drobny misread the bounce of the ball giving Victoria a three-on-three attack. The visitors worked the ball out to Kuczak, who bore down on goal from an angle. However, a poor touch allowed Obyrtacz to position himself well and get down to deny the chance.

Forabosco Masterclass

In the 33rd minute, the Dragoons added a fourth goal of the highest quality. Forabosco received a pass from Drobny and thrust the ball to the right wing where Voženílek lay in wait. The Czech sent a high cross into the box, with Nkola just getting enough to cushion the ball into the air. Smits got to the loose ball first and immediately gave it to Forabosco on the edge of the Victoria area. The midfield magician pulled off a delightful Cruyff turn, before curling a perfect shot into the top corner with his right foot. A real collector’s item!

Not long after, the Dragoons had a chance to add a fifth. Forabosco sprayed a pass inside the Expats’ half to pick out Nkola on the left wing. The attacker drove at the Victoria full-back and clipped the ball towards the back-post. Voženílek got onto the end of the cross but failed to get the power or direction to trouble the scoreline.

The last ten minutes of the half flew past relatively incident-free. Cruz’s team remained in cruise control and dominated possession with consummate ease. Despite falling behind, the Dragoons dusted themselves down to take control of the game and went into the break deservedly ahead.

Krakow Dragoons FC players training shootouts during warm-up
Czechmate — Martin Voženílek had held his width well and been a vital component in the performance so far

Second Half

Victoria started the second half better, moving the ball quickly and creating an early chance. On this occasion, The Dragoons had bodies behind the ball and diverted an early shot away for a corner.

The visitors remained in control of the half as the Dragoons struggled to get themselves going. Assistant Scott Halcrow barked instructions from the sideline for the team to wake up from their slumber. This appeared to pay dividends as the Dragoons won a corner through Voženílek pressing a defender into an error. Forabosco played a short corner to the Czech who turned and picked out Bilovol free on the edge of the penalty box. The Argentine swung the ball left-footed back into the area and forced Massalski to palm the ball for another corner.

Forabosco Fantastico

On this occasion, Rob Smits stepped up to take the corner and swung the ball into the box. Yuri Samyonov found himself unmarked and nodded straight at Massalski, who showed excellent reflexes to deny a fifth goal. However, Victoria’s attempted clearance could only fall to the midfield magician Enrico Forabosco standing by the D outside the box. Forabosco took a neat first touch to set himself, before sending a low, laser-guided effort past the sprawling keeper to make it 5-1.

Krakow Dragoons FC players sprinting during warm-up
In the Thick of It — Enrico Forabosco (8) grabbed his 11th goal of the season against Victoria

Victoria Hit Back

In the 55th minute, Victoria dragged themselves back into the game with a second goal. The visitors moved the ball quickly and caught the Dragoons’ midfield high up the pitch. Grzegorz Kmita took advantage of the space offered to him by the defence, receiving a pass and running into the box. The visiting attacker back-heeled into the path of Kuczak, who struck a first-time effort that took a nasty deflection off Calabrese to wrong-foot Obyrtacz and fly into the net for 5-2. It was poor all-round from the Dragoons, who failed to apply any pressure in the build-up.

Following the goal, Hugo Cruz made a triple change to his side. Yuri Samyonov, Martin Voženílek and Flavio Nkola made way for Barry Chowaniec, Vałdzis Fuhaš and a return to action for Salah Missi.

A few moments later, an innocuous off-the-ball tackle saw Roman Bilovol go down in agony. The Argentine could not continue and after a few minutes of playing with 10 men Cruz made a double change. Szymon Urzędowski replaced the stricken Bilovol and Jan Krzyżanowski took the place of Rob Smits.

Szymon Urzędowski of Krakow Dragoons FC preparing to enter the field
Entering the Game — Jan Krzyżanowski and Szymon Urzędowski stand by the touchline waiting to enter

Visitors Look Dangerous

Victoria continued to battle and look to exploit the space left by the Dragoons pressing. Gaps began to emerge as the visitors bypassed the middle of the pitch hitting it long as the Dragoons dropped deeper. Simon Calabrese entered into a foot race with the dangerous Kuczak and did well to put the ball behind for a corner.

From the following corner, the Dragoons struggled to get out of their box with Mudyn’s volley causing the ball to ping-pong amongst a forest of legs. The ball fell kindly for Norbert Mudyn who shot, however, an excellent intervention from Calabrese denied a good goal-scoring chance.

Visitors Grab A Third

The Dragoons failed to heed the warning signs and conceded a 3rd goal in the next action in the 68th minute. The Expats could not take control of the ball in the last third of their half and gifted possession back to Victoria. A cross from deep entered the box and Grzegorz Kmita took full advantage of poor defensive positioning to rise highest to plant a header past Obyrtacz and into the net for 5-3.

With so many changes, the Dragoons began to lose their shape and cohesion. Victoria looked to take advantage of an inability to clear the ball as a miscued kick landed at the feet of Kuczak. The visiting dangerman let fly with a shot from range that took a deflection off Drobny. However, Obyrtacz watched the ball all the way and got across his line well to push the shot away for a corner kick.

Obyrtacz looked to launch a counter-attack as he kicked long to pick out Chowaniec. However, the ball bobbled back off the attacker’s legs and Victoria advanced on the attack. The visitors worked the ball forward and a rash attempted slide tackle from Drobny presented Kmita with a shooting chance. On this occasion, the attacker blasted straight at Obyrtacz from range as the Expats began to live dangerously.

Krakow Dragoons FC warming up
Instruction — Hugo Cruz works with his team about clearing their lines pre match

Marvellous Marcin To The Rescue

With 9 minutes left to play, Obyrtacz rescued the Dragoons once again. With the game stretched, Victoria took advantage of the Dragoons needlessly giving away possession. The visitors countered down the left flank and a low cross landed at the feet of Kuczak. The attacker took a touch to control the ball, swivelled and hit a shot 6-yards, only for Obyrtacz to stick out a foot to save.

Fuhaš With The Sixth

Victoria threw bodies forward as the Dragoons struggled to keep the ball. With five minutes left to play, Forabosco attempted to find the run of Chowaniec in the channel, with a good tackle halting his run. Missi took the resulting throw, finding Forabosco who cut across the edge of the area. The Italian attempted to lift a pass back to Missi inside the box, with the ball hitting a defender and falling kindly to Fuhaš. The attacker took a touch with his knee, before blasting the ball high into the net from a tight angle for 6-3.

Krakow Dragoons FC players Szymon Urzędowski and Bartek Chowaniec having an amusing chat at the dugout
Splinters — Szymon Urzędowski and Bartek Chowaniec amuse themselves in the dugout before kick-off


It should have been seven less than a minute later. The Dragoons played neat football to get themselves up the field, with Missi spinning and trying a shot from range. The ball ricocheted off two Victoria players and fell kindly for Chowaniec, who used his body well to get in front of a defender. However, with the goal at his mercy, the Polish striker rushed his effort and blasted the ball over the bar.

With Victoria putting up the white flag early, the Dragoons smelt blood and continued to come forward deep into injury time. A handball on the left flank gave Forabosco a chance to put the ball into the Victoria box. The midfielder sent the ball into the box and Drobny did well to lose his marker to meet the ball with a firm header. However, the Polish defender failed to repeat last weekend’s heroics and could only send the ball over the bar.

Magnificent Seven

Still, the game continued, well over the 90-minute mark. Salah Missi received a throw-in and put the ball down the line for Chowaniec to chase. The speedy forward accelerated past an attempted tackle and drove towards the box. The Expats outnumbered the visitors as they came forward, but Chowaniec decided to be the lone ranger. The striker stepped past a second poor attempted tackle inside the box before calmly drilling the ball into the net to complete the scoring.

Immediately after, the referee blew the whilst to put Victoria out of their misery. A magnificent seven goals had seen the Dragoons improve their goal difference and move to within a point of the visitors with three games left.

Krakow Dragoons FC players posing for a pre-match photo
Brothers in Arms — Back Row l-r; Roman Bilovol, Rob Smits, Kuba Drobny, Marcin Obyrtacz and Martin Voženílek. Bottom l-r; Corneille Malonga, Flavio Nkola, Yuri Samyonov, Enrico Forabosco (C), Simon Calabrese and Francesco Leuci.

Plenty To Learn

It had been a Jekyll & Hyde performance by the Expats who played supremely well in the first half. Victoria’s lack of press led to the Expats rediscovering their mojo to transition the play forward. Some excellent passing and moving tore Victoria apart, with the chances taken with aplomb.

The Dragoons looked so comfortable in possession but failed to leave the starting blocks in the second half. Victoria stepped up and the Dragoons stopped their simple football and struggled with their decision-making.

Slowly, the visitors turned the screw and found spaces to punish the Expats. The number of changes in quick succession saw the Expats begin to lose their foothold. The communication levels went down and the Dragoons quickly lost their shape and cohesion.

Thankfully, Victoria began to run out of gas and the fresh legs helped the Expats in the final third of the pitch. There were plenty of good performances by the Dragoons, who still have work to do before the end of the season.

Krakow Dragoons FC players thanking the fans after match
Taking the Applause — The team clap the adoring fans who cheered the team from start to finish

Next Up

That work starts next Sunday as the team travels to Płomień Kościelec. Płomień is currently two points above the Expats with 32 points, winning ten, drawing twice and losing 11 times. They have scored one of the lowest totals with 44 goals, and have conceded 54 times  – three more than the Expats.

The only time the two sides have met came in an entertaining fixture last November which resulted in a 4-3 win for the Expats. Płomień took a 9th-minute lead, with the Dragoons missing a hatful of chances before Kuba Drobny levelled midway into the first half. Five minutes later, a catalogue of errors led to Kościelec grabbing a second goal to retake the lead.

Płomień almost nabbed a quick second, however, a change of wings paid dividends as Voženílek took advantage of a poor header to find a second equaliser for the Expats at the end of the first half.

An end-to-end second half saw Drobny giving his marching orders after denying a goal-scoring opportunity as the last man. Despite being down to 10 men, the Dragoons seemed to find their focus. They took the lead for the first time as Sassini controlled Missi’s pass to put the Dragoons ahead. The Algerian scored a lovely fourth goal late into the game as he slotted home after good work from Voženílek.

However, Płomień had the last say in a back-and-forth match, notching a 3rd goal from range in stoppage time.

Posted on Text: Dave Burch Photography: Dave Burch Visual Editing: Daniel Silva


99Marcin Obyrtacz (pol)
5Simon Calabrese (ita) 4
8Enrico Forabosco (fin/ita) 33', 51'
9Yuri Samyonov (isr) 29 26'
10Flavio Nkola (ang) 43 28'
13Kuba Drobny (pol)
14Roman Bilovol (arg) 97
16Francesco Leuci (ita) 89'
25Rob Smits (ned) 26 16'
30Martin Voženílek (cze) 44
36Corneille Malonga (cod)
4Sasha Arshakian (ukr) 5
26Jan Krzyżanowski (pol) 25 81'
29Vałdzis Fuhaš (blr) 9 85'
33Omar Atzori (ita)
43Salah Missi (alg) 10
44Bartek Chowaniec (pol) 30 90'
97Szymon Urzędowski (pol) 14


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