Wisla Kraków provided the first surprise of the UEFA Cup third round following their comprehensive away defeat of FC Schalke 04. The Polish side defeated their German rivals 4-1 at the Aufschalke Arena to record a 5-2 aggregate success and claim a place in Friday's fourth-round draw.
Wisla, who defeated Italian outfit Parma AC in the last round of the competition, took the lead in the 40th minute when Maciej Zurawski fired in from 12 metres. But their lead was short-lived as Schalke hit back within two minutes following an angled shot by Polish international defender Tomasz Hajto.
But the Polish outfit, whose best performance in Europe to date was a quarter-final appearance against Malmö FF in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, hit back in the 51st minute when Nigerian midfield player Kalu Uche headed the ball in from a free-kick. Zurawski added a third goal five minutes before the end, and Kamil Kosowski completed the rout in added time.
The result, which provided Schalke with the worst defeat in their history in European competition, also spelt the end of their participation in knockout competition for this season. Recently, the Gelsenkirchen side were eliminated from the German Cup by FC Bayern München, a competition in which they were holders.
Neubarth accepts second best
Losing this game hurts," said Schalke coach Frank Neubarth. "There were some opportunities for our team to turn the game around, but in the end, Wisla deserved to win."
Preparation counts for Wisla
"We knew at the start that this would not be an easy task for us but we prepared ourselves in the last nine days specifically for this game in the Netherlands, and it paid off," said Wisla coach Henryk Kasperczak. "We watched Schalke closely recently, and so we saw that they were tired and it provided a great opportunity for us to advance, and we took it with both hands."