Sliema Wanderers FC 1-3 KP Polonia Warszawa
A last-gasp goal from Sliema Wanderers FC could not take the gloss off KP Polonia Warszawa's impressive UEFA Cup qualifying round victory in Ta' Qali.
Eduardo Do Nascimento scored in the final minute for the Maltese hosts, but Polonia look strong favourites to advance to the competition's first round, as they take a two-goal lead back to the Polish capital for the return leg on 29 August. After a rather unspectacular first half, which saw the Polonia dictating most of the midfield play with their hardworking skipper Igor Golaszewski very much in control, the Poles took command of the game in the second period.
Conceição sees red
Maltese hopes were hardly helped when new Brazilian recruit Renato Garcia Conceição was sent off after 62 minutes. By that stage the visitors had opened the scoring through Mateusz Bartczak, who slotted home after Marcin Kus's cross from the right. Buoyed by their numerical advantage, Polonia doubled their lead through Polish international midfield player Arkadiusz Bak after 71 minutes with Sebastian Keska providing the assist.
Nigerian Stanley Udenkwor made it 3-0 four minutes from full time to seemingly put the Polish side on the verge of qualification. However, the Brazilian international Eduardo, a second-half substitute, restored some hope for the home side with a fine strike from outside of the box at the death.
Sliema coach Edward Aquilina was philosophical after the defeat, saying: “I think we had a very good first half; all we needed was just the goal we were looking for, but after Conceição’s second-half sending off, the team did not perform up to standards, and the Poles clearly took control of the situation."