Artjoms Rudņevs took his tally to five UEFA Europa league goals for the season as KKS Lech Poznań secured a slender 1-0 advantage to take to SC Braga next Thursday.
Latvian international Rudņevs, scourge of Juventus during the group stage, caught the visiting back line cold 18 minutes from time, running onto Sergei Krivets' well-weighted through ball and slotting under goalkeeper Artur.
It was enough to earn victory in a match littered by mistakes as both teams struggled to adapt to the wintry conditions at the Miejski Stadium. The red ball on the snow-dusted pitch seldom ventured into the attacking third, either, in a first half short on chances. The clearest fell to Braga forward Lima, who directed a header narrowly over the bar after a cross from the left.
Without injured pair Tomasz Bandrowski and Kamil Drygas, Lech offered little in reply, a 24th-minute Marcin Kikut header their only attempt of substance. Rudņevs was marginal, but jumped to life midway through the second period as he caught the visitors' defence unaware and sprang their high offside trap before applying a clinical finish.
Braga were stung into action. Seemingly content with a goalless draw to take to warmer climes next week, 1-0 was a different proposition but they could not lift their disjointed performance enough to find it. Indeed, but for Artur they may have found themselves further in arrears as he kept out a late effort from the lively Semir Štilić. Advantage Lech, but this round of 32 tie is far from over.
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