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2019: Dolny Śląsk seal second UEFA Regions’ Cup title

Poland’s Dolny Śląsk beat the hosts to win the 2007 final and repeated the trick in Bavaria 12 years on.

SPORTSFILE

In the first ten UEFA Regions’ Cups, only once had the hosts been beaten in the six finals they had collectively made: 2007, when Poland’s Dolny Śląsk overcame South-East Bulgaria in Sliven. Dolny Śląsk did it again in the 11th edition in Bavaria.

The home team had ensured Germany became the 11th different nation to provide a finalist, but in an extraordinary final of five penalties (four scored, and the other put away on the rebound), Dolny Śląsk won 3-2. They became only the second two-time champions after Italy’s Veneto in 1999 and 2013, both at home.

After two straight finals where Zagreb and the Irish representatives had faced off, winning one each, both fell in the intermediate round. Zagreb lost 4-1 in a group decider to Ligue de Nomandie; Irish hopes were ended by West Slovakia.

Dolny Śląsk were not the only former winners to qualify; so did Castilla y León, and both won their Group B openers, Spain’s representatives defeating Czech side Hradec Králové 3-0, and Poland’s hopefuls beating Russia’s South Region – Chayka 1-0. Two days later Hradec Králové overcame South Region – Chayka 1-0, meaning that if Castilla y León beat Dolny Śląsk they would be through, and indeed they led early on but in the fifth minute of added time Pawel Slonecki equalised.

Castilla y León, giving Spain representation for an unprecedented eighth edition, still had the upper hand in the final day but conceded with two minutes left to lose 2-1 to South Region – Chayka. At the time, Dolny Śląsk led Hradec Králové 2-1 and although the record seventh different Czech representatives levelled at the death, the Polish side were in the final.

Group A ended up in a final-day decider between Bavaria and 2017 hosts Istanbul. The Turkish side defeated West Slovakia 2-1 and Ligue de Normandie 2-1 whle Bavaria overcame the French side 1-0 and draw 1-1 with the Slovakian team.

A group-stage record of 2,463 in Landshut watched Bavaria go for the win they needed against Istanbul and they struck two minutes into added time through 19-year-old Henri Koudossou, the youngest player in the tournament. Ligue de Normandie beat West Slovakia 2-0 but Istanbul ended the group in second to share the bronze medals with Castilla y León.

Burghausen, on the Austrian border, welcomed the final. The previous ten deciders had only ever seen one penalty, in 2001, but five were given in the 2019 showpiece. Bavaria converted the first through Ugur Türk, but before half-time Mateusz Jaros levelled on the rebound after his spot-kick was saved.

Kornel Traczyk made it 2-1 with the third penalty just after the break and, with Bavaria captain Michael Kraus sent off, Jakub Bohdanowicz doubled Dolny Śląsk‘s advantage with ten minutes left. There was a fifth different penalty-taker, and goal, as Arif Ekin pulled Bavaria back to 3-2, becoming finals top scorer on three in the process, but the title was Dolny Śląsk‘s.