17 July 2018
By Bryan Smyth
Cork City travel to Warsaw needing to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit, if they are to progress from their Champions League first qualifying round tie against Legia.
Despite a disciplined first leg display at Turner’s Cross from John Caulfield’s side, the away side left Leeside with the advantage after Michael Kucharczyk’s stunning strike ten minutes before the final whistle.
The chances they created in that defeat will give City some cause for optimism, but they know they will be up against it in the Polish capital. Speaking to CorkCityFC.ie ahead of the tie, City boss John Caulfield said: “We know it is an uphill task. We are a goal down and we know the quality of Legia but, at the same time, we did create a number of chances in the first leg. We know they will dominate possession and we will have to defend really, really well. There is a belief within the team that, if we defend as well as we did the other night, we feel we can create opportunities.”
“We know we need to start the game properly and, if we can do that, we have worked on areas where we feel we can create chances. We need to stay in the game and that is what we are hoping to do.”
“We think they will make a couple of changes from the first leg. Carlitos is their big signing and he came on in the Polish Super Cup the other night, so we expect him to start. They also played Chris Philipps, who is a Luxembourg international, in the middle of the park, so we expect two or three changes. At this level though, they have that luxury because they have so many international players.”
“It is more about us making sure we can start the game well and defend properly. When we get the ball, it is crucial that we use it well, and hit them on the counter when the opportunity comes. No-one gives us a chance, but we believe within ourselves that, with a strong start to the game, anything is possible in football.”
“It’s a massive stadium and a much bigger pitch than Turner’s Cross, similar in size to the Aviva. I expect their game plan to be to try and stretch us and play through us. At the same time, I thought we gave a phenomenal performance the other night; we worked so hard, we limited them to long-range shots, but unfortunately one of them went in. The lads are brilliant, they’re looking forward to the game and the brilliant thing in sport is that there is always a day when the underdog does well. We know we are massive underdogs, we know we need to play as well as we can and, if we do that, you always have a chance.”
City go into the game with a number of injury concerns. Gearóid Morrissey and Conor McCarthy are both ruled out after suffering injuries in the first leg, while Colm Horgan will also miss the tie. Johnny Dunleavy completed his first ninety minutes since his return from long-term injury on Friday night, but this fixture comes too soon for him. Mark McNulty missed the first leg but will be assessed ahead of Tuesday’s tie.
Injury News: Gearóid Morrissey, Conor McCarthy, Colm Horgan, Mark McNulty
Last game: Cork City 0-1 Legia Warsaw
League Form (League, most recent game first): D L W W W