30 kwi 2012

Brutal but very much deserved Ekstraklasa exit for Cracovia

It couldn't be more brutal for Cracovia - with two games to play, they were relegated to I. Liga, after losing to their Krakow rivals Wisła, finishing the game with eight men on the pitch and having Andraż Struna on the way to the hospital after suffering from concussion. But if Craxa fans hearts were not broken yet or enough, the Wisła's PA did everything he could to make it as harmful as possible, playing "It's time to say goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli.

The game was brutal itself as well. Thirteen yellow cards were shown by referee Robert Małek and he had to take his red one too, twice. Football was maybe full of passion and desire to win that night but class was only seen once - as Maor Melikson sealed the victory for Wisła with a fine free kick. That was also his first goal of the Ekstraklasa season.

There is something in popular saying that strong Wisła needs their Krakow rivals to play in the Ekstraklasa and make as much noise as possible. For the better of the whole city, Cracovia should be playing top-tier football in Poland, yet nobody will put them in the Ekstraklasa for nothing - though it had happened before that license committee saved them from being relegated.

Wisła really needs Cracovia to be their rivals and the games to be played - although in a very different, much healthier atmosphere at the stadium and in the whole city - but what is needed at first is to have them clean their mess in the I. Liga. It is a very hard mission though, not many clubs went down to be back in one year. Yet the scale of this mission is much, much higher simply because current people surrounding Cracovia and club's owner, prof Janusz Filipiak, are simply a misunderstanding.

As the whole squad. Even today, they wanted really, really badly to make up for their fans and even if to go down, then do it with a smile and with two wins in Krakow derby taken from this season. It did not happen and Wisła should not even have to be at their top to stop Cracovia. Visitors tried, tried very hard, fought well, got into every tackle, run and run more... but that was not enough. They were too poor in terms of quality to make their fight count into decent passes, chances and, finally, goals.

It is a very sad day to be a Cracovia fan, yet if there were people identifying themselves with the clubs that knew how badly it is run and what mistakes are being made, it was the large chunk of their support. They couldn't believe how poorly squad was collected, which names were signed and how they were set up by following managers. As one Cracovia fan said, "it is almost like we want to go down".

"Mission complete", that would be ironic response from Wisła fans, among the abuse given to their rivals. Sadly, the whole rivalry is taken by both sides only purely on hate basis and that was easily seen on the stands with firecrackers thrown among both sets of fans and exploding each few minutes. Maybe this one season - or more - of separation of Cracovia and Wisła will do more good to the situation between them? One who follows it closely will agree, that it may be just harder than making the rivalry looking decent on the pitch, even after today's no-show of struggle from both sides.

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