2-1: Senegal win vs eighth-ranked Poland

Doug Mendoza
June 23, 2018

Striker M'Baye Niang controlled the ball ahead of an advancing goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny before tapping into an empty net. It's going to be an uphill challenge for the African side, who are the clear underdogs up against the firepower of Poland, who averaged 2.8 goals scored per game in qualifying.

From there, in what was its first and until now only World Cup, Senegal went on a run to the quarterfinals. Colombia and Japan first meet in Saransk on Tuesday, with Poland and Senegal completing the first round of matches in Moscow. "OK, it's important to get off to a good start but the second and third matches are important as well, so hopefully Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria will step up".

"The second goal was kind of curious, we had the ball and I'm convinced that Jan Bednarek didn't see the player coming on", said Nawalka. Robert Lewandowski's side have been unbeaten against African sides in their last three games and would like to keep that record intact against Senegal.

Lewandowski admits he has a point to prove after a disappointing Euro 2016, when he scored only once as Poland exited at the quarter-finals stage.

Poland fans in red and white were about three-quarters of the crowd, and they chanted and clapped throughout.

Niang was treated for injury just before scoring his decisive goal. Despite winning the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich once again this season, it was a disappointing end to the season for Lewandowski who struggled against Real Madrid in the Champions League and lost in the German Cup against Hoffenheim.

But they ensured a frantic finale when Grzegorz Krychowiak headed home a free-kick at the far post.

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Ahmed Fathi poked the ball into his own net - the fifth own-goal of the tournament - to put Russian Federation ahead in the 47th minute.

Poland shifted to a three-man backline at the start of the second half, and Senegal's Salif Sane got a yellow in the 49th for tripping Lewandowski from behind as this forward was running onto a through pass.

But he has made a remarkable recovery and, although it remains unlikely he will play against the African side, Nawalka's assistant Bogdan Zajac says every scenario remains possible.

Then came an unusual goal. And what's in the net counts the most.

Krychowiak pulled a goal back in the 86th minute with a header from Kamil Grosicki's free-kick but Senegal held on.

This is Senegal's first World Cup since 2002 which is a memorable one for the Senegalese.

Few would have predicted the results in the group, which put both favorites at the bottom. But coach Aliou Cisse said beating the Poles didn't have the same history-making feel of the 1-0 victory in 2002 against the French, Senegal's former colonial masters.

Other reports by GizPress

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