After a hard battle Legia Warsaw defeated the Estonian side Flora Tallinn 2:1 in the first leg of the second round of the UEFA Champions’ League qualifiers held in Warsaw on Wednesday.
Before the match, everyone in the Legia milieu expected a much easier game than against Bodo/Glimt from Norway, and, in the beginning, their forecasts seemed to be right. Legia took an early lead when Bartosz Kapustka dribbled past three opponents to score an opener in the 3rd minute. However, as he celebrated the goal, he sustained an injury and was replaced by Bartosz Slisz a couple of minutes later.
Since then, Legia created only one goal opportunity, letting their rivals take the initiative. Flora was more solid in ball recovery and had a couple of good chances to equalise, mostly owing to a wave of mistakes by the hosts’ defender Hołownia. The home crowd showed their disappointment by booing their team as they could not regain control over the match.
Legia did not improve their play at the beginning of the second half either, which backfired in the 54th minute when the former player of the Warsaw team Henrik Ojamaa passed to Sappinen, who equalised. Flora continuously pushed Legia into deep defence shortly after the goal, as the Polish champions looked completely different than in the clash with the Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in the previous qualifying round.
In the course of the second half, Legia kept the ball more often and tried to break the defence of the visitors, and they finally succeeded in doing so in the 90th minute of the game when a substitute Rafael Lopes put the hosts in the lead.
Regardless of the score, Flora showed great determination and signalled they might be the stronger obstacle to overcome than the Norwegians. Legia need to improve their play in the second leg in Tallinn, to be held on July 27, to qualify for the next round of the Champions League qualifiers.