No one expected the match between NMC Górnik Zabrze and Orlen Wisła Płock to be this thrilling. After a fierce struggle, NMC managed to catch up with their rival who had been three goals ahead, and even get in the lead. But later the sensational win slipped away, as Wisła dominated again in the final minutes.
In the first minutes of the game, Wisła ruled the court. The “Oilmen” quickly took the lead, taking advantage of Zabrze’s missed passes. NMC scored their first goal in the 5th minute, thanks to a seven-meter throw perfectly executed by Bartłomiej Tomczak. However, Tomczak failed to do this again, and his next seven-meter throw was expertly stopped by the Płock goalkeeper, Marcin Wichary – ironically, born and raised in Zabrze. Górnik would have fallen even more behind if it were not for Mateusz Kornecki. In the first period, he was stunningly effective, with 43.5% of all shots stopped – conceding 13, but saving 10. Several minutes before half time, the home team made considerable changes in their lineup. Adam Niedośpiał, who had not played attack for years, circulated between the left wing, center back, and pivot positions, while Michał Adamuszek was delegated to defensive functions. The new-old NMC player, Alexander Tatarintsev, also appeared on the court, and made quite an entrance. Right before half time, he put away three goals in a row, while Iso Sluijters set the score at 13-13.
The second period began well for Zabrze. They took the lead, scoring two goals (again by Tatarintsev and Sluijters). But it was not enough to beat the experienced Wisła players. The hardest one to stop was Tiago Rocha, the pivot who caught even sloppy passes and drove them home skillfully. His record in the second period was an astounding seven goals. Zabrze kept up the good game until the 45th minute, later increasingly giving in to Płock. When it seemed victory was out of reach for Górnik, Iso Sluijters delivered another perfect seven-meter throw. His next attempt was, however, stopped by the newly arriving Adam Morawski, who parried two consecutive seven-meter throws, one by Sluijters, and another by Maciej Tokaj. These two attempts could have given the home team a chance to equalize, as later, several throws by the Zabrze wingers and backs, and even an impressive long shot by the goalkeeper Mateusz Kornecki, went right in. With three minutes to go, the score was 26-27, but as it turned out, Górnik had neither the time, nor the stamina to secure a win. Płock was victorious, with the score 29-26. “I am proud of my teammates for holding out until the end, and winning this extremely difficult game. We showed character and proved that we can win even the toughest games,” said the young Wisła goalkeeper, Adam Morawski, with content.
The NMC backcourt Rafał Gliński also showed some degree of satisfaction: “The worst thing about this match is that Płock leave with three points. And frankly, I think that we could have beaten them. With slightly better form we could have given our fans a nice surprise. But it is what it is, Płock snatched the points,” he ended on a less optimistic note, but quickly added: “There are things we can be happy about, without a doubt. This was a good debut for Alex Tatarintsev, who really helped us out. Despite our opponents’ 29 goals, our defense was not bad at all, too.”
With three more points, Orlen Wisła Płock secured their lead in the Orange group. Zabrze remain 4th, right behind Gwardia Opole.
NMC Górnik Zabrze – Orlen Wisła Płock 26:29 (13:13)
NMC Górnik: Kicki, Kornecki 1 – Niedośpiał 2, Daćko 2, Tomczak 3, Kryński 1, Gromyko 1, Sluijters 6, Buszkow 1, Tatarincew 7, Gliński 1, Tokaj, Ścigaj 1, Adamuszek. Trener: Ryszard Skutnik.
Penalties: 10 minut (Tomczak, Sluijters, Gliński, Adamuszek 2)
Wisła: Morawski, Wichary, Corrales – Kwiatkowski, Daszek, Duarte 2, Wiśniewski 2, Ghionea 2, Rocha 8, Gębala 3, Tarabochia 2, Pusic, Mihić 5, De Toledo 2, Żytnikow 3. Trener: Piotr Przybecki.
Penalties: 12 minut (Wiśniewski, Duarte, Rocha, Gębala, Tarabochia, Pusića)