Glentoran FC 0-2 TS Wisla Kraków
Polish Cup winners Wisla deservedly defeated their Northern Irish counterparts Glentoran in their UEFA Cup qualifying round first-leg tie tonight.
The visitors broke the deadlock with a 73rd-minute penalty from attacker Maciej Zurawski and added a second in the 88th minute when substitute Daniel Dubicki side-footed in from close range. Yet before the spot-kick was awarded it had seemed that home goalkeeper Elliott Morris would deny Wisla on his own. The summer signing from English FA Premiership side West Bromwich Albion FC made five wonderful saves before he was finally beaten.
Indeed, despite his disappointment, Glentoran manager Roy Coyle said: "Well, we're disappointed he didn't save the penalty, the night he was having. We thought he'd have kicked it out or back-heeled it out or something. He was a hero tonight, some of his saves were incredible. To be quite honest, I don't know how he got to some of the shots."
Coyle added: "Overall I'm proud of our lads we were beaten by a very good side and towards the end our legs started to go with the pace of the game. Our lads should feel proud, they stuck with it to the best of their ability."
After a slow start to the game, the Polish visitors seemed certain to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark when a brilliant ball over the top from Zurawski took out the home defence and sent the lively left-winger Kamil Kusowski in one on one with the goalkeeper but his low shot was superbly saved by Morris.
The game then really came to life in the last ten minutes of the first period. First Glentoran midfield player Darren Lockhart fired a 25-metre effort just wide in the 38th minute, then three minutes later the same player was denied when right-back Marcin Baszczynski dived to head the ball behind. Then Wisla had two great chances to score in the final three minutes of the half, with Kusowski hitting the post before poor defending gifted Kalu Uche a chance but his instant shot only struck the retreating goalkeeper's legs.
Morris's solo show continued in the second half, pushing a goal-bound shot from Kalu Uche around his right-hand post, then was fortunate when Zurawski sent two headers well wide from good positions. Later, he denied Zurawski and Marcin Kuzba with two more stunning saves before he was finally beaten.
Glentoran centre-back Gary Smyth was adjudged to have hauled down Zurawski and the striker picked himself up to comfortably score from the spot. Two minutes from the end of normal time right-back Marcin Baszczynsky slipped the ball low across from the right and substitute Dubicki side-footed into the net.
Glentoran still could have grabbed a consolation but substitute Andrew Smith's well-struck shot was turned round by Angelo Hugues, who also denied Colin Nixon in added time. Next up is the return leg at the Wisla stadium in two weeks' time.