Cup holders Raków Częstochowa lengthened Legia Warsaw’s already-slim hopes of European football next season. Mateusz Wdowiak’s fifth-minute goal put the Czerwono-Niebiescy into a second successive Puchar Polski final at the expense of the outgoing league champions.
Having spent much of the season in the relegation zone, the Puchar was seen as the most likely way for Legia to secure a return to European football. The defeat leaves the league as their only option, and the Wojskowi currently sit 8 points off of fourth position with seven games remaining.
Defeat in Częstochowa ensured Legia a fourth successive failure to reach the final, in a competition which they hold the record number of victories. It is the club’s longest spell without a final berth since the early noughties.
Meanwhile, the evening’s goalscorer, Wdowiak, will now be available for a third final in a row. He was an unused substitute in Raków’s 2-1 victory over Arka Gdynia last year, and also scored the extra-time winner for Cracovia against Lechia Gdańsk in the 2019 edition.
Raków will come up against Lech Poznań in next month’s showpiece event. The Kolejorz will be looking to lift their first Puchar since 2009, after defeating fourth-tier Olimpia Grudziądz in Tuesday’s first semi-final.
III Liga Olimpia had been this year’s giant-killers, having progressed past Ekstraklasa sides Wisła Kraków in the quarter finals, and Lech’s cross-city rivals Warta in the earlier rounds. They had also knocked out Lech’s second team in the second round.
They were, however, no match for the Ekstraklasa title chasers. Lech ran out 3-0 winners in Grudziądz, thanks to a first-half goal from Fortuna Dusseldorf loanees Dawid Kownacki and a second-half brace from Scotland’s ex-Wolves, Leeds and Blackburn defender Barry Douglas.
The final between Raków Częstochowa and Lech Poznań will be the first since 2019 to be held at Warsaw’s Stadion Narodowy, and will take place on Monday 2 May. The match will kick off at 16:00 CET (15:00 BST).