Wisla Kraków and FC Schalke 04 played out a 1-1 draw in their UEFA Cup third round first-leg match tonight in Poland tonight.
The German visitors started the game well with Jörg Böhme shooting just wide from long range in the very first minute. When Ebbe Sand also shot wide a few minutes later, it looked as though Schalke were in firm control.
However, the hosts responded and nearly took the lead in the 19th minute when Kamil Kosowski's cross found Marcin Kuzba in front of goal, only for his diving header to flash over the crossbar. Another piece of enterprise down the left from Kuzba soon created another chance, but Kalu Uche struck his shot wide from three metres out.
Wisla went ahead on 38 minutes when Miroslaw Szymkowiak curled a free-kick into the Schalke penalty area and Christian Poulsen's header flew into his own net past a shocked Frank Rost. Wisla continued to push forward and could have gone further ahead before the break but Maciej Zurawski and Kosowski both wasted good chances.
Schalke nearly found an equaliser early in the second half, but efforts from Gerald Asamoah hit the post and then flew wide. Dario Rodríguez and Sand also failed to find the target. However, it seemed only a matter of time before Schalke equalised and sure enough in the 81st minute they finally did. Wisla goalkeeper Angelo Hugues ran out of his goal to try and intercept Poulsen's long pass but he missed the ball leaving Mpenza through on an empty goal - a gift he did not spurn to leave Schalke favourites ahead of the return.
Schalke coach Frank Neubarth coach was satisfied with the way his team had performed, especially in the second half. "
Before the match I'd have been glad with a 1-1 draw," he said. "Now I know we could have done better. We had a great opportunity with Böhme in the first minute and we conceded an unlucky own goal. But in the second half we played much better and controlled the midfield and Wisla forwards."
Meanwhile, Wisla coach Henryk Kasperczak was left to rue his side's second-half performance. "It was a match of two halves," he said. "
All we could do we did in the first period and we had many chances to score. In the second half we had a much weaker midfield than in the first, so we failed to create opportunities. I'm unhappy with the result, but we still have a chance of going through."