Polish champions Wisla Kraków came from a goal down to claim a fine first-leg victory over Panathinaikos FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie.
The result was a far cry from the opening four minutes when Emmanuel Olisadebe gave the marauding visitors the lead. Pawel Brozek soon equalised before second-half strikes from Kalu Uche and Tomasz Frankowski gave the Polish champions a two-goal advantage to take to Athens for the second instalment in two weeks' time.
That match could provide home debuts for Anthony Šeric, Flavio Conceição and Igor Bišcan, and the trio will hope it is more enjoyable than their away bows. Nevertheless, it was the Greek side that sprinted out of the blocks and the game was less than five minutes old when Poland striker Olisadebe broke the deadlock, tapping in after Theofanis Gekas's header had rebounded back off the crossbar.
These are unsettled times at Wisla, who have a new coach in Jerzy Engel and recently lost striker Maciej Zurawski to Celtic FC, but they have developed a resilience and soon equalised with a flowing end-to-end move. Olisadebe surrendered possession in the Wisla penalty area with the ball eventually falling for Radoslaw Sobolewski to thread it through to Brozek who slotted in. The match was still only 13 minutes old.
The game soon calmed down, though, with the visitors pressing and Wisla looking to strike on the counterattack. Gekas almost restored Panathinaikos's advantage in the 34th minute when his glancing header forced a finger-tip save from Radoslaw Majdan, but that proved a rare chance and after the interval the Polish side began to take control.
On 52 minutes Uche doubled the advantage when he swept the ball in following a jinking run from Frankowski. Gekas could have equalised with the game moving into the final quarter after connecting with a sublime left-wing cross from Nordin Wooter but after beating Majdan he watched his header drop agonisingly wide.
And two minutes later, Wisla made Panathinaikos pay for their profligacy when Marek Ziencuk reached the by-line and sent over a measured cross that Frankowski – a week shy of his 31st birthday - met to loop a header beyond Mario Galinovic’s flailing arms and leave Wisla well poised for the return leg.
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