Football: Inter entertain only to show a deficit

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The Independent Online
Inter Cardiff 0

GKS Katowice 2

TWO late goals from a capable Katowice side condemned Inter Cardiff, one of three European competitors from Wales this season, to defeat last night in the first leg of the Uefa Cup preliminary round. The part-timers were not disgraced, however, and can travel to Poland in two weeks' time with their pride intact.

There was a low-key atmosphere at Penydarren Park, which Inter are sharing with Merthyr Tydfil, for the League of Wales club's European debut. In contrast, the Poles were playing their 25th match in Europe, but there was still plenty of experience in the home ranks. In goal was George Wood, 42 next month, once of Arsenal, Everton and Scotland; while organising the midfield was the 40-year-old Mickey Thomas, formerly of Wales and Manchester United.

Wood was called into action as early as the eighth minute, when he dived to clutch a well-struck 20- yard shot from Andrzej Sermak, who was to become the game's dominant figure. A busy midfielder with a sweet left foot and an eagerness to shoot, he waged what was almost a lone battle against Wood.

Sermak sent another fierce drive just over the bar at the end of a quiet first half, and then shot into the side netting, when he should have done better, at the start of the second period.

With seven minutes remaining, Sermak finally beat the gallant Wood. The midfielder turned, found space, and thumped a 25- yard shot across the veteran goalkeeper and into the corner of the net. In the last minute, on the break, Zdzislaw Strojek put Sermak through to add a slightly flattering second goal that surely makes the return leg a formality.

Although always second-best, Inter had their moments. They should have taken the lead 20 minutes from time when the tall Willie Batchelor strode out of defence, spread the ball out to marauding right-back Ross Knight and shot just wide from the ensuing low cross.

Inter Cardiff (1-4-3-2): Wood; Lewis; Knight, Batchelor, O'Brien, John; L Jones, Beattie, Thomas; Paul Evans (Williams, 69), Taylor (Burrows, 61).

GKS Katowice (1-2-4-3): Jojko; Swierczewski; Maciewski, Wegrzyn; Strojek, Widuch, Sermak, Borawski; Wolny, Janoska (Walczak, 44), Kucz (Nikodem, 86).

Referee: A Roca (Spain).