'We were surprised': Controversial goal gifts Senegal WC first

Doug Mendoza
June 22, 2018

An own goal by Thiago Cionek in the 37th minute put Senegal 1-0 up before Mbaye Niang capitalised on a poor back pass to double his side's lead.

Meanwhile, as for the actual game, Senegal shocked Poland by securing all three points thanks to an own-goal and M'Baye Niang.

Niang had been on the sidelines getting treated for an injury and when the ref motioned him to return to the field, he sprinted directly towards the action with Poland's Jan Bednarik completely unaware.

Nawalka did have sympathy for his team over the second goal as Krychowiak looped a high-risk 50-yard back pass straight into the path of Niang, who was then presented with an open goal after keeper Wojciech Szczesny rushed outside his box but failed to reach the ball.

Niangi said the win was as a result of the collective effort of his team after they upset the odds to earn a 2-1 victory over Poland.

Yet opening-game losses in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups consigned Poland to group-stage exits. "We are proud to represent Africa", Cisse added.

The 2-1 victory was the first and only African win in the first round of matches, after Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia all lost their opening games. With Senegal yet to face Japan, realistically, only one of the two sides can now qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.

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Senegal took up a leading role in Group H with a resounding win over Poland. This made it very hard for Poland to find a way through the middle.

With Senegal otherwise quite structured in how they played and approached the game, it was vital both in creating gaps that his team-mates could exploit and putting Poland's defenders on the back foot.

The continent was facing the prospect of a worst-ever World Cup start before Senegal beat Poland on Tuesday.

However, for Cisse's side to come anywhere near what they achieved in 2002, they must turn their focus to Japan next, who stunned group favourites Colombia in Saransk earlier on Tuesday.

Idrissa Gueye's shot was deflected in by Thiago Cionek to give the Lions a deserved lead.

Robert Lewandowski has a glorious chance to restore parity for Poland in the 52nd minute, but he was denied by Senegal goalie Khadim N'Diaye who was superb in his department.

It was the same for Ghana in 2010 when the World Cup was held in Africa for the first time.

Other reports by GizPress

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